If you’ve clicked on this article there’s a good chance you’re thinking about updating your coffee table or maybe you’re lucky enough to be completely refurnishing your house! It’s one of those pieces of furniture that slips by – you’re not going to spend as long thinking about it as your mattress for example, but yet you’ll probably see and use every day.
It can really bring together a room, and if you’re anything like us, socializing is just as likely to happen around the coffee table as it is around the dining table. Think about those afternoon cups of tea with your friends, watching movies with your nieces and nephews, or sharing a slice of cake with your neighbor, who’s quickly stopping by.
So, we know a coffee table is a key piece of furniture in your living room. As with all furniture, there are a number of key decisions to make before purchasing. Do you need your coffee table to have lots of storage? A chunky wooden design, or more minimalist vibes? Do you want to make a statement or is durability more important? Will it fit the space you have available?
These are all key questions to ask, however, we think you should add one more to your list – how high should your coffee table be?
What’s the Standard Coffee Table Height?
Generally, most coffee tables are going to be around 16-18 inches (40-45 cm for the metric folk). If you are standing up, you’ll generally find they come in around your knee. If you’ve got a higher couch, remember that you’re going to want a coffee table that’s an inch or two higher than the standard size.
How High Should A Coffee Table Be?
The general rule of thumb is that a coffee table should be around 1-2 inches lower than your existing couches. But it’s good to keep in mind when you’re considering your next coffee table purchase. Make sure you’re measuring from the ground to the top of your cushions, and most importantly, don’t forget to take a note of the information!
Put it somewhere on your phone so you won’t forget, next to all the other relevant measurements. If you have a couch that is about 18-20 inches high at the cushion, then most coffee tables are going to fit your needs. If you have a coffee table at the moment take note of its height, and also whether it suits you! Do you find it’s too high or too low or is it at the perfect height already?
If you’re lucky enough to be starting from scratch, then keep these tips in mind but in reverse, should you come across your perfect coffee table before you find that perfect couch!
Can a coffee table be higher than the couch?
The obvious answer is then yes it can, but the more complete answer is that it can but we don’t really recommend it. If it’s higher than the couch there’s no denying that it’s going to be at an uncomfortable height. If you want to put your feet on the coffee table whilst watching TV (don’t pretend you don’t, we won’t tell), that’s off the cards. If you want to eat in front of the TV (we all do it sometimes) then it’s still going to be at an uncomfortable height as well. Not to mention that it’s probably just going to look a bit strange – the coffee table and the couch(es) are going to appear mismatched, even if they match in style and design.
How long should a coffee table be?
You want something that’s smaller than your couch. If it’s too long it’s going to stop the easy flow of the room, and people are probably going to walk into it, as it won’t fit the visual expectation of how long a coffee table should be. If it’s too short it’s going to be difficult to reach from all the seats of the couch and so it’s not going to be as useful.
As with the height of the coffee table, you want the length of your coffee table to be both visually appealing and in line with the size and style of the other furniture.
My coffee table is too low! Help!
You may have inadvertently chosen a couch that was too big for your coffee table, but perfect for you! Never fear, you can make up the height in other ways.
If it’s just the look of the coffee table that’s bothering you, then we would recommend getting some books or magazines or something to add a bit of visual distraction to your coffee table. These types of little distractions can do wonders for your room, as they distract the eye so no one will notice the fact that your coffee table is a bit too short for your couch. If you’ve got no one to impress, a (stable!) stack of books can also easily make up the missing height to hold your coffee – with a coaster of course!
If it’s functionality that is the problem, then one solution is to top your coffee table off with a thick piece of whatever material is appropriate, whether that be wood or glass. This can also double as a statement piece, depending on how you do it! Realistically the difference between a perfectly matched coffee table and one that’s too short is only an inch or two, so this is perfectly and easily doable!
A good coffee table can really bring together the look of the room. A living room without a coffee table just looks empty, not to mention that they can hold your books, remotes, drinks and food platters for when your friends and family come over. As a coffee table can be both a functional and statement piece, it makes sense to spend a bit of time finding a good one that fits your room and your needs. We would encourage you to try to seek some form of harmony in your living room setup. You want your pieces to match in as many ways as possible, design, color, material, form and size, including, of course, the height of your coffee table!