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What is the best coffee table height?

If there’s one thing that tends to be a bit of a debate among home improvement gurus, it’s the right height for a coffee table. Some people swear by having them be exceptionally low to the ground. Others want them to be only slightly lower than a typical dining table. Still more want them in between. 

Ask any interior designer, and they’ll tell you that finding the best coffee table heights can be a challenge—even for seasoned pros. Choosing the right height for your particular needs can help you make your living room just a little bit more inviting.

Is Coffee Table Height Important?

This answer is all dependent on how often you use the coffee table, what you use it for, as well as the type of fashion statement that you want to make. The truth is that most people don’t want to have a coffee table that’s awkwardly tall or awkwardly short.

 

Having a coffee table that’s too tall or too short can cause guests to feel a strain on their backs due to the need to bend down to reach their coffee. Of course, if your coffee table is almost never used, the height won’t matter too much. 

How Do You Choose The Right Coffee Table Height?

Believe it or not, there’s a little secret that comes with choosing the right coffee table height for your furniture setup. The key thing here is to look at your sofa. The ideal coffee table height will be equal to, or slightly lower than the sofa’s seat.

What Are The Best Coffee Table Heights For Typical Sofas?

Most sofas are around 18 to 20 inches tall at the seat. This means that the best coffee table height for most living rooms will be between 16 to 18 inches. Any lower will be a little uncomfortable, while higher tables might look visually jarring. 

 

Think about it this way—you want to be able to just reach over and put coffee down on the table. If your range of motion doesn’t jive with that, you need to readjust your coffee table height.  

What Are The Best Coffee Table Heights For People Who Use Floor Cushions?

Going the “Bohemian way?” Floor cushions and tatame mats are starting to become increasingly popular among people who want to add an eclectic and exotic twist to a typical living room. Unfortunately, they can throw most interior designers for a loop when it comes to coffee tables. 

 

The best thing to do is stick to the “cushion” rule. This means that you should look for a coffee table that’s significantly lower than it’d be for a sofa. A good height for a coffee table for a place with floor cushions would be 10 to 12 inches. 

Can A Coffee Table Be Too Tall Or Short?

If you love the idea of having a tall table, you’re not alone. A tall table is a great place to do work, enjoy your meals, and also maybe do a couple of crafts. However, coffee tables aren’t going to be this place. They’re meant to be low as a way to encourage talking and just give your guests a place to rest their drinks on.

 

The standard rule for coffee tables is that they shouldn’t be four inches taller than the tops of the cushions you’re pairing with them. The same four-inch rule also works when it comes to shortness. 

 

At heights that exceed the classic four-inch rule, coffee tables stop looking chic and start looking clunky. Besides, it’s awkward placing coffee on a table that’s higher or significantly lower than your sofa. 

What Should You Do If Your Ideal Coffee Table Height Is Taller (Or Shorter) Than The Standard?

Though rare, there are some folks who love the idea of having a taller or shorter coffee table as part of their home. It happens. When it does, there’s one solution that always seems to work out well for all parties involved: an adjustable height coffee table. 

 

The beautiful thing about having an adjustable height coffee table is that you can adjust it to have that classic elegant look when guests arrive. Once the guests leave, all you have to do is take some time to decrease (or increase) the table’s size and you’re good to go.

How Wide Should A Coffee Table Be?

While we’re on the topic of the best coffee table heights, it’s good to keep in mind that height isn’t the only thing that matters. It’s all about proportionality. This means that finding the right width and length is just as important. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Traditionally, the length should be ⅔ of what the surrounding sofas have. A narrower coffee table means that you don’t have too much empty space. This helps balance out the look of your coffee table and couch ensemble without the table stealing the show.
  • You should leave 14 to 18 inches around the perimeter of the coffee table. This gives your guests enough space to walk around without discomfort. If your guests tend to be more heavyset, try to aim closer to 18 inches.
  • If you are using a coffee table as a showstopper, you can go slightly larger with it. This can help add emphasis to the table and make a little extra space for some decorative baubles. 

The Bottom Line

For the vast majority of homeowners, a coffee table’s best height will be between 16 to 18 inches. Fans of tatami mats and floor cushions should go for a table that’s far lower, at around 10 to 12 inches. 

 

Of course, the real test of height isn’t going to be based on traditional interior design rules. It’s going to be a matter of personal preferences. So if you find a coffee table that you enjoy, don’t be afraid to invest in it. After all, you’re going to be the person who is going to get the most enjoyment out of that coffee table.

 

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