Should Coffee Table Drawers Face The Sofa?

Planning the living room furniture layout seems like an easy task, but it can be quite complicated. You want to ensure that your furniture looks just right. When placing your coffee table, you might wonder whether the drawers should face toward the sofa or away from the sofa. We've gathered information from top designers to answer this question for you. 

Whether you face the coffee table drawers toward or away from the sofa depends on the function of the drawers. 

Why does function matter when placing your coffee table? We invite you to keep reading so we can explain this answer. 

White sofa with colorful throw pillows and a white coffee table, Should Coffee Table Drawers Face The Sofa?

Coffee Table Drawer Functions


Some coffee tables will come with decorative drawers. They may have interesting details or hardware. Other drawers may be false and only installed in the coffee table for decorative purposes.

A white coffee table with a small succulent plant on top

If your coffee table's drawers are decorative, you will want the drawers to face away from the sofa. That way, they will draw the eye of your visitors when they enter your living room. 


A cozy open space living room incorporated with leather sofas, coffee tables and wicker chairs

Of course, drawers are not only used for style. They are good places to store items you may use frequently but want to keep out of sight. If you find yourself using the drawers on your coffee table frequently, you should face them toward your sofa or the seating you use most frequently. 

Other Considerations 

It is possible that the plan you have for your living room won't fit neatly into the decision of drawers facing toward or away from the couch. Let's discuss some of the other ways you may utilize a coffee table in your space. 

No Drawers 

A gray sectional sofa inside a living room with laminated flooring

There are plenty of coffee tables that do not have drawers at all. Some of them have storage shelves, while others are designed to serve design purposes rather than functional purposes. If you have a coffee table without drawers, you are free to position them in your living room in a way that best makes sense.

Other storage solutions you can employ to make up for not having drawers are decorative baskets, end tables, or trays. Each of these options comes in a variety of styles that can match your living room aesthetic. 


A cozy interior of a rustic living room with beige painted walls, wooden flooring and a gray sectional sofa on the side

Some coffee tables come with a top that lifts up, revealing a storage space underneath for extra storage in your living room. Some of these coffee tables may also include drawers, and you can face them however you wish. However, some storage coffee tables have lids that lift toward you, so you will have to put the coffee table in the direction that allows you to use the top surface properly. 

Click here to see these storage baskets on Amazon. 

Unique Shapes 

An elderly couple inside their rustic living room

Uniquely shaped coffee tables serve more of a decor purpose than a functional purpose and are likely not to have drawers on them. In this case, you can face them in whatever way is most visually pleasing to you.

Function and convenience can come into play, however, depending on your needs and the shape of the furniture. For example, if you have a table with one wider side, you may want to face that side toward the couch if you use your coffee table as a work surface. 

Multiple Pieces 

A gorgeous white themed living room with wooden flooring, beige sectional sofa and matching white curtains

To create a unique space, you may be able to find sets of coffee tables that come with multiple pieces. Again, the goal here is typically aesthetic, but you can manipulate the pieces in a way that makes them more convenient to use as well.

The designers kept the coffee tables next to each in the image above to create a nesting look. You can arrange coffee table sets together to create a pleasing look or separate them so that everyone seated has a table to use. 

How Do You Place A Coffee Table? 

Shiny hardwood flooring inside a rustic themed living room incorporated with dark furnitures

Depending on the size and shape of your living room, you can use your coffee table as your room's focal point. Once you place your coffee table, you can arrange seating around it. If your living room is too large that placing your coffee table in the center of the room will not make sense, you can place your seating first and center your coffee table among your seating. 

In the oddly shaped living room in the image above, the coffee table is positioned in such a way that people sitting on either couch can reach the table. The table is not quite centered, but it still looks pleasing in the room and is functional. Deciding where to place your coffee table should take into consideration both aesthetic and function. 

How Far Should A Coffee Table Be From A Couch? 

Many designers and furniture retailers, including Wichita Furniture, suggest a coffee table be about 14 to 18 inches from the couch. This is close enough to reach the table but far enough away to not crowd your sitting space. 

Does A Coffee Table Need To Be Centered? 

Of course, you can place your coffee table in whatever position works for you. However, it is recommended to place the coffee table at the center point of your sofa. This creates a look of symmetry and order, and it makes the coffee table accessible to everyone sitting on the couch. 

Multiple Coffee Tables 

If you are using more than one coffee table, either because you have a set or because you purchased multiple, you have different options for placing them. If the tables came in a set, they are likely designed to be placed together. In this case, you could center them, but you need to do so in a way that makes sense.

You can also treat each coffee table as separately as a table for each seating area. The couch may be a good place to put a large, main coffee table, while a smaller coffee table can work between two living chairs. 

Should A Coffee Table Be Lower Than The Couch? 

A wooden coffee table in front of the sofa

A coffee table should be lower than the couch to make it more comfortable to reach items on the coffee table while seated. It is more natural to reach down to get something off the table than to reach up. In addition, if the coffee table is taller, there is a higher risk for a spill. 

Can A Coffee Table Be Too Low? 

A coffee table should be an inch or two lower than your couch. Any lower than this will make it uncomfortable to reach the items on the coffee table. A table that is too small will also look disproportionate to the couch. 

Alternatively, a coffee table can be too high. As we discussed, it may be awkward to reach up to take items off of the coffee table. Your table should be the same height as your seating at the tallest, though lower than the seating is certainly more preferable. 


Designing your living room should be a balance between style and function. Of course, you want your home to look beautiful and welcoming. Arguably, the living room is the most important room to accomplish this, as this is where your visitors are likely to be entertained. 

However, the function is equally important. There are many ways to incorporate style into your living, so you should not feel obligated to sacrifice function for style. 

Before you get to work designing your living room, take a look at these articles for more coffee table inspiration: 

Should A Coffee Table Be Centered?

How To Style A Round Coffee Table

11 Great Coffee Table Ideas For A Long Couch

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