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Coffee Table Height & Size Guide


There are several factors to consider when buying a coffee table. It often serves other functions. Sure, it’s a place to put your drinks or a snack. But it also might act as an ottoman. The kids may use it for playing games too. These other purposes will influence the right height and size of the piece.

Consider Its Primary Function

Think about what the main purpose of your coffee table. If it’s a feature, you can opt for something more ornate or eye-catching. That means you’ll want a clear space around it, so it gets seen. That can, in turn, affect the size and height of the piece.

For example, a glass top piece is an excellent choice for a table that will blend in with your room. Opt for something more ornate and visible to make it a focal point. The materials you choose will also affect the size that will work best.

Table Shapes

The classic shape of a coffee table is rectangular. But that’s not a hard and fast rule. It’s a size that works well with sofas which generally have the same form. After all, you want everyone to be able to use the table.

A table with a greater length versus width is an excellent choice for smaller rooms. A rectangle or oval-shaped piece optimises the space. If you have a larger seating arrangement, a square-shaped table is another option. The shape also comes into play when you consider the style of your room. 

Clearance Around the Coffee Table

It’s essential to consider the space around your coffee table. Everyone will need adequate leg room. It shouldn’t be a chore to get up from the sofa. Plan on about 30 to 45cm around it. Then, people can reach it easily without feeling cramped.

Don’t forget this hidden space when it comes to planning out the layout of your living room. Adequate room will make it feel more comfortable. You should have a minimum of 60cm at the end of the table that points towards the main living area. A metre of space is ideal.


coffee table measurements

A common size for a rectangular coffee table is about 120cm by 60cm. A general rule of thumb is to figure on a piece that is about two-thirds the size of your sofa. You should centre it in front of the furniture. That’ll leave enough room on both ends.

Think about how you’ll use your coffee table on a daily basis. If it doubles as an ottoman, choose a larger table for adequate space.

Height Matters

coffee table height

Height also comes into play. The typical height for a coffee table is about 40 to 45cm. You’ll want it to be about the same height as your sofa cushions. If they are oversized, plan on a coffee table that is 2 or 3cm lower. A taller one will work too.

If your table has a lip on it, you’ll need to consider it as well. A lip will add to the height of the table. Ideally, you want to place your food and drinks down on the table. You shouldn’t have to lift your glass over it to avoid spills.

Don’t forget the space underneath your table. You can place magazine and other knick-knacks under it. It’ll also bring interest to the room. It needn’t be wasted space. When considering height, measure the space between the floor and the bottom of the table.

Don’t Forget the Kids

kid friendly coffee table

Rectangular tables capture that classic look. But they may pose a hazard for the kids. A round or oval piece may offer a better choice with no sharp edges. Also, consider how the kiddies use the table. The smoother sides are an excellent option if they use it for lessons or colouring.

Keep these other uses in mind when looking at the construction. Coffee tables with support closer to the centre may shift accidentally with a lot of pressure on the ends, for example.

Match Your Style

Your decor will also influence the choice of your coffee table. Classic traditional pieces are often heavier and larger. Ornate trim may cut down on the usable surface area. Modern or contemporary furniture may pose similar challenges.

Some tables may have feet that splay out from the base of the table. Others may have features that jut out from the main surface. Eclectic pieces may have unique shapes outside of the standard sizes. Any of these will cut into the clearance around it. That’s especially true if you mix standard and non-standard size furniture.

Mind the room underneath the table too. Closed spaces will encroach on the legroom of people seated on the sofa. You may need to add some extra space around the coffee table to leave enough room.

Other Uses

Coffee tables often include other features that add to their value. A place to set your drink is only the starting point. Some may have extra shelves underneath the main base. Other may include drawers for extra storage. Keep these things in mind when placing your table. You may need more room to open a drawer fully.


A coffee table is a relative term. Other things can serve the same function just as well. Think of an old steamer trunk or similar piece. They can give your room a welcome, cosy feel. Bear in mind that some items may have different dimensions. They may interfere with the table’s intended purpose. There’s a simple way to find out if it’s a good choice for your space.

Try It Out

The best way to choose the right coffee table height and size is to see it in action. Use some removable painter’s tape to measure out the space in front of your sofa. Make sure your room can accommodate the extra room you’ll need around the piece. 

Don’t forget to measure the height too. That’s especially important if you have a non-standard size sofa. It’s better to try it out first before spending the money on the wrong coffee table for the space.