Should Coffee Table Drawers Face The Sofa?

Setting up your living room might seem simple until you get to the details, like figuring out which way your coffee table drawers should face.

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

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Should they open towards the sofa or away? This decision often depends on how you plan to use them.

We’ve checked in with top designers to clear up this dilemma. Keep reading to discover why the functionality of these drawers is essential for their placement.

Coffee Table Drawer Functions


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A white coffee table with a small succulent plant on top

Some coffee tables feature decorative drawers with eye-catching details or hardware, while others might have faux drawers for decorative purposes.

If your coffee table’s drawers are decorative, you’ll 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 other ways to place a coffee table in your space. 

No Drawers 

A gray sectional sofa inside a living room with laminated flooring

If your coffee table doesn’t have drawers, you can place it wherever it fits best in your living room.

To compensate for the lack of storage, you can use decorative baskets, end tables, or trays to keep things organized.

Storage baskets

Click here to see these storage baskets on Amazon.


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 have 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 a direction that allows you to use the top surface properly. 

Unique Shapes 

An elderly couple inside their rustic living room

Uniquely shaped coffee tables often focus more on style than function and usually don’t have drawers. Position them in a way that looks best in your space.

However, consider the shape and orientation if you need your table to be practical, too, like using it as a work surface. For example, if one side is wider, face that side toward the couch for easier access.

Multiple Pieces 

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

You can find coffee table sets with multiple pieces to create a unique space.

Again, while the goal here is typically aesthetic, like the nesting look shown in the image above, you can also position the pieces for convenience.

You can spread them out so each seated person can easily access a table. For example, a larger table can go by the sofa, with a smaller one between chairs.

How Do You Place A Coffee Table? 

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

You can use your coffee table to anchor your living room, placing it in the center and arranging seats around it.

If your room is large or has an unusual shape, it might make more sense to set up your seating first and then position the coffee table where it’s easily reachable and still looks good.

Whether you’re going for a neat central look or adapting to the room’s quirks, remember to balance style and practicality in your setup.

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. But positioning it centrally in front of your sofa is recommended for symmetry and easy access.

Again, for multiple coffee tables, whether a matching set or individually chosen, arrange them together for a unified look or separately to serve different seating areas.

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 of 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 reaching the items on the coffee table uncomfortable.

A table that is too small will also look disproportionate to the couch. 


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 this article for more coffee table inspiration: How To Style A Round Coffee Table

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