How tall should End Tables be? Higher Than the Couch?

End tables are practically a necessity. Not only do they offer a place to hold a lamp for reading or a tasty beverage, but they can also add a touch of style to your room. End tables can essentially make or break the look you're attempting to create. But how tall should an end table be? Should end tables be higher than the couch? We've done some searching and have the best answer for you.

The end tables on either side of your couch should be no higher than two inches above the arms. Any higher, and it would necessitate the person sitting on the couch to reach up high to use the end table. Furthermore, the end tables should be no shorter than two inches below the armrest.

Now that you know end tables shouldn't be too much higher than your couch, let's discuss some considerations you should consider when getting the perfect end tables to frame your couch. We'll answer some additional questions you might have as well. Keep reading!

Square armed sofas with an end table on the middle and gorgeous floral throw pillows, How tall should End Tables be? Higher Than the Couch?


What is the standard height of an end table?

End tables run anywhere from 22-30 inches in height. This gives a savvy shopper many options to create a cohesive height with the size of your couch. Don't shop based on looks alone. Know the range of heights you can work with, and filter your searches accordingly. Even with the most stylish end tables, your room could wind up looking sloppy if the end table height is ridiculously out of range of your sofa. Not only does it appear awkward, but a mismatched height could also render those end tables practically useless.

View this end table on Amazon.

What is the standard height of a couch?

The full height of a couch ranges anywhere from 30-36 inches. Remember when shopping for end tables, however, you want to know the arms' height from the floor to the top. The standard height for the arms of the couch ranges widely and depends on the overall height of the couch and the cushion height. The cushion height is between 15 and 18 inches from floor to top cushion, leaving the armrest height somewhere in between. 

You can find the height of your armrest by using a standard tape measure. Measure from the floor to the highest point of the armrest. Additionally, it doesn't hurt to take that same tape measure with you if shopping for armrests in-person to ensure the most accurate purchase possible.

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View this couch on Amazon.

What if my couch doesn't have armrests?

If you happen to own a sofa without armrests, sometimes deciding the correct height for end tables can be difficult. There are a few different ways you can estimate a proper end table height in this instance.

Measure the cushion height as well as the overall height of the sofa. Armrests generally fall a little less than halfway between the cushion height and overall height of the couch. If you can find the number in between, this is a good height for end tables.

Another method would be to sit on your sofa and make a note of the height just above your elbow on the sofa. The distance between this spot and the floor makes a perfect approximate size for an end table. 

View this couch on Amazon.

Do Both End Tables Need to Match?

The end tables you choose to frame your couch do not have to be exact matches. However, they should be of similar height and style. For example, you wouldn't want to match a lightly colored oak piece with a mahogany one or something styled as farmhouse decor paired with something gothic. As long as the look is cohesive and the height is the same, feel free to mix and match.

Amazon even has tables bundled by similar style and color:

View this bundle on Amazon.

Do End Tables Have to Match the Coffee Table?

As with mix and match end tables, your coffee table does not have to exactly match the end tables. Follow a similar color and style scheme, and you're sure to have the best, most cohesive look. Just remember, not only do your end tables need to be of a proper height in correlation to your couch, your coffee table should be as well. Don't get a coffee table more than 1-2 inches taller or shorter than the height of your couch cushions. 

Of course, there's not a problem at all if you want to match your coffee and end tables. In fact, some are sold in sets, such as in the example below.

View this coffee and end table set on Amazon.

Want to read more about matching your coffee table and end tables? Read our post about that. 

How wide should end tables be?

An end table's width is generally between 16-22 inches. When considering the end table's width, know what your intended purpose for this end table will be. Are you placing a lamp on it? Will a beloved knick-knack be a centerpiece? Ensure the tabletop has sufficient space for its intended purpose, as well as leaving space on either side to rest a drink, magazine, or book. 

Also, keep in mind how much space you have available for an end table. Remember, you'll need sufficient space between the end table and the couch, and you'll also want to have sufficient space to maneuver around the tables should the need arise, such as a fallen remote or for cleaning. 

If you're limited on space, some end tables can be quite small and narrow. These aren't large enough to place a lamp but do nicely for beverages and books.

View this small end table on Amazon.

Should end tables be taller than armchairs/recliners?

As with couches, end tables should not be significantly taller than the armchair or recliner it is to be servicing. An awkward height can make the table unusable. Especially consider the height and placement of an end table next to a recliner. These end tables should definitely aim to be an inch or two lower than the armrest, as recliners are made to do exactly as the name implies -- recline. If someone has their feet up and is in a somewhat reclined position, a too-tall end table will be even more awkward. 

What height should an end table lamp be?

The height of a lamp on an end table should directly correlate with the height of the end table itself. The end table's combined height and the lamp should fall somewhere between 58 to 64 inches in height. The bottom of the lampshade should be at eye level with the person sitting next to it. Much variance and it will be difficult to switch the lamp on and off. 

Should all the lamps in a room match each other? Read our post to find the answer!

In Closing

End tables should not be more than two inches taller than the armrests on your couch. Too much variance and your guests will be reaching for the ceiling to put down their cocktails, which can indeed be embarrassing. If possible, aim for the height of your end tables to be an inch or two below the armrests for maximum usability. Enjoy your end table search!

Does all this end table talk have you wondering about nightstands? Read our post, "Should Nightstands be Taller Than the Bed?"

Contemporary living room with blue accent wall, blue sofa, and a small end table with a plant on top, How tall should End Tables be? Higher Than the Couch?

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