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Coffee Table Guide: How to Pick & Decorate 2019

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Everything You Need To Know About Coffee Tables

Picking a coffee table is going to depend on the size of your couch. Usually, coffee tables are chosen after a couch. You might have one in place or will be purchasing it first. This will determine the right coffee table dimensions. Reading this guide will give you all the info you need for getting the right coffee table.

First, let’s cover some coffee table basics.

Coffee Table Dimensions

If you’re on the lookout for a new coffee table I’m sure you have a few questions in your mind. Usually the style and shape are the first things considered. You want your room to fit your personality and look right.

The height and size of your coffee table is going to be as important as the style and shape. Too big or small and it  won’t look right. There are some key elements to help you pick the right size. Height, length, and placement.

Recommended Read: Unique Coffee Table Ideas Everyone’s Talking About

How to Measure a Coffee Table

To get the right coffee table dimensions it’s going to be important to take a few measurements first. You’re going to need the length of your couch or sectional (longest side). Also, you will need the height of your couch (from bottom to top of cushion you sit on). This will help picking the right dimensions.

Make sure you’re using a sturdy and quality measuring tape when measuring your coffee table and room.

Another important factor is the size of your room. Don’t forget that smaller rooms will fit better with smaller furniture and coffee tables. But, bigger rooms will do well with bigger coffee tables and furniture.

You also need to leave room for accent pieces or take into consideration the ones you already have. A large coffee table that’s too big will clutter up a room. These coffee table tips will help you pick the right one.

Use some good floor tape if you want to see how your table will fit before purchasing it online.


The average or standard length should be about two thirds the length of your sofa. This is generally considered the most cohesive look. You can experiment with  smaller or bigger sizes. If you’re sofa is low and trendy a larger coffee table and still look great. Stick to two thirds for a traditional look.


When it comes to height the most common is to have it the same height as the top of your couch cushion or a couple inches lower (never higher!). Too high or low will look odd. Try to stick to this rule for the coffee table. It also makes it the most comfortable to use. If you want a modern look stick to low furniture and low coffee tables. This is the correct height for a coffee table.


The average space between the coffee table and furniture is about 12-18 inches. This gives enough space for people to walk and move around. Too close and it’s not practical. Also. too far and it’s not within reaching distance. An easy check is to make sure you can reach it when you’re on the couch. If you can’t it’s too far.

Once the coffee table is set 12-18 inches from your couch it should be further away from other furniture. The general rule of thumb is 24-30 inches from other furniture. Closer and it can look cluttered.

We get so caught up in how gorgeous one piece of furniture is we forget how it will interact with other furniture. You’ll have it delivered and it doesn’t seem right. You can avoid this by following these tips!

Recommended Read: Best Farmhouse Coffee Tables For a Rustic Look

Average Table Industry Standard Size Guide

These are the industry standard for coffee table dimensions

Dimensions Standard SizesTips
Coffee Table Height15 – 19 inchesKeep it the same height or 1-2 inches lower than the couch seat cushion height.
Coffee Table Length36 – 48 inchesTry to stick to two thirds the length of the couch or sectional (longest side of sectional)
Coffee Table Width18 – 24 inchesLeave at least 12 and up to 18 inches to space to walking. For smaller rooms and couches on the lower side is better. For huge rooms up to 18 inches

You are going to see these coffee table sizes most commonly but exceptions exist.

What Coffee Table Shape?


Vintage Farmhouse Coffee Table with Storage from Amazon

The most common coffee table shape is rectangular. You’ll see it almost everywhere. If you want the safest option a rectangular coffee table is for you. It’ll have the most surface area and is practical.


Round Industrial Coffee Table With Metal Legs from Amazon

If you have kids or your living room is active, consider a round coffee table. The smoother edges are safer for kids. This makes oval or round coffee tables the best for child safety. Also, if you often have guests over it’s easy to gather and move around a round coffee table.  It’ll contrast pleasantly with other furniture that tends to be rectangular.


Hand Rubbed Weathered White Coffee Table from Amazon

Square coffee tables are another option. They’re good for smaller rooms to save space. They also work for unifying a large room with too many rectangular shapes.

Multiple and Tiered

Tiered Coffee Table Set in Smooth Wood with Black Finish from Amazon

Lastly, we have tiered coffee tables or coffee table sets. They can come in a set of up to three and can be different or similar heights. These are not the most practical but are very interesting to look at. They’re an option if you want a unique living room space with a high end feel.

How to decorate

Now that you know what the standard coffee table dimensions are and which one fits your space we need to move on to styling it. It’s all in the details!

Use Some Stacked Books


Books don’t only look great. They are also great conversation starts. Another great tip about books, you can easily change them out. They come in so many different shapes and sizes you can match them to the season.

Flowers and Live Plants


Flowers and live plants always bring a room to life. You can make a monochromatic room look more interesting. They’ll bring a holistic touch. They’re also easy to change depending on the season. Faux plants work if you’re not the best at upkeep.

Add a Tray


If you have many small pieces on your coffee table a tray will keep it organized. They’re great for stacking different decor elements. Your coffee table will stay cohesive.

Use Some Stacked Candles


Stacked candles are a coffee table staple. They’re often placed in sets of different sizes to add dimensions. If you have pets or kids make sure to use flameless candles for safety!

Combine Techniques


You can use one of these techniques of mix and match them. Try some candles with live plants. They can all work together if placed strategically.

Recommended Read: Unique Coffee Table Ideas Everyone’s Talking About

Recommended Read: Best Farmhouse Coffee Tables For a Rustic Look

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