Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Picture this! You finally got around to buying that coffee table you love, but now you're not sure how close it should go to your couch, or maybe you already have your coffee table, but you're still feeling unsure about the placement. Well, we've looked in depth just how much space you should have between a couch and a coffee table and have an answer for you!
The space should be between 14 to 18 inches. Position your coffee table no closer than 14 inches away from your couch but no further than 18 inches. This range should give you enough space for legroom but keep the table close enough for its intended use. Any further away, and you or your company might have difficulty reaching it easily.
Now you have a range to consider when placing your coffee table by your couch, but please keep reading as we discuss this further. We'll go over some important factors to consider when choosing your coffee table placement. Additionally, we'll answer some other questions regarding the space you should have around furniture in your living room!
How far should a coffee table be from the couch?
You might not have given much thought to how far away your coffee table should be. You might also have been surprised to find out that someone even took the time to calculate the best distance.
However, placing a coffee table in a living room isn't as simple as just centering it in the middle of your rug, despite what your OCD might tell you! The distance you decide to place your coffee table from the couch depends on a few things.
Height Of Your Family
One of the things you should consider is how tall the people are who will be using it the most. Since this is likely your family, think about how much legroom they might need to sit comfortably on the couch.
If your family is on the shorter side, you will probably want to place your coffee table on the closer end of the suggested range so they don't have to reach too far for their drink or the remote. If your family is on the taller side, you'll want to place it further away to accommodate their long legs.
Size Of The Room
Another thing to consider is your room size. If space in your room is already limited, you might have to decrease the space between your furniture to accommodate other pieces. If you have a large living room, you can space it further away.
However, keep in mind that anyone sitting on the sofa should be able to reach an item on the coffee table without getting up. If they have to get up or even strain to reach the coffee table, it is too far away.
How You Want The Room To Look
The only time distance doesn't really matter is when the coffee table isn't going to be used and is more of a decorative piece instead. If you don't plan to allow drinks in your living room and the table is just there to complete the look, you don't have to worry about whether anyone can reach it. In this case, you can place it as far away from the couch as you'd like.
How much room do you need around a coffee table?
For any side of the coffee table that faces seating, you should leave the suggested 14 to 18 inches of space. Aside from getting to the couch to have a seat, you likely won't be spending much time walking between the couch and the coffee table.
If your seating area is around a fireplace or a TV, this side of the coffee table should be at least 2 feet away from the wall to allow adequate space to pass without bumping into the coffee table.
Can my coffee table be higher than my couch?
Put simply, yes, your coffee table can be higher than your couch. Just like couches and most furniture items, coffee tables come in a variety of heights, so you need to keep this in mind when pairing the two.
Low Table For A Low Couch
Though the short answer is yes, it can be taller, you don't want too much of a distance between the height of your coffee table and the height of your couch. Otherwise, you risk making it look awkward and unusable. There are couches and coffee tables that both are very low to the ground, so if you know you will have a low couch, it is best to look for a low coffee table and vice versa.
The Answer Is 4
For those of you who would like a more mathematical answer, the ideal distance between the top of your coffee table and the seat of your couch is 4 inches in either direction. This means that the table can be 4 inches taller or 4 inches shorter than the seat of your couch. Any more than this, and you might have difficulty reaching for something on the table comfortably.
How much clearance do you need around a couch?
So now you know that you'll need at least 14 inches of space in front of your couch if you have a coffee table, but what about the other sides? Well, this all depends on the placement of your couch.
Against A Wall
If you have your couch against a wall, you will obviously not have any clearance to walk behind it. For the other sides, it depends on whether you furnish the ends with end tables, lighting, or even a house plant like in the photo example above. When your couch is against a wall, you just need enough space in the front to be able to sit down comfortably.
Floating On The Floor
To float a couch means to place it away from a wall. In most cases, you can freely move around the entire couch. When you float a couch, you need to keep about 3 feet of space around the couch to allow movement around the furniture.
Of course, if you have a sofa table, end tables, or lighting, these will often be against the couch, so include them in the size of the couch and make sure there are about 3 feet of space around them.
How much space between furniture for walking?
Before you start arranging your furniture, you need to think about some of the possible walkways through the room. Will foot traffic be primarily behind the sofa? Or will people pass by the TV?
It's important to keep a good distance between furniture in these areas. You don't want anyone having to squeeze past your furniture, especially if it might cause them to trip or knock something over!
A Couple Of Feet At Least
We touched on this briefly above, but a good rule of thumb is to keep at around 2.5 to 3 feet of space between furniture and the walls or doorway. This provides adequate space to allow people to move about without bumping into anything. For smaller living rooms, you might need to reduce this space to 2 feet.
Distances Between Furniture
So for a general guide, let's go over some other distance suggestions that might be useful. So you know your coffee table should be at least 14 inches away from the couch, but if you have one, your couch should be around 7 to 8 feet away from the TV.
Also, if you have two couches facing each other, they should be around 3.5 feet apart. This provides enough space for people to move around, see the TV, and talk at a comfortable distance.
Hopefully, these measurements will help give you a general idea of how to arrange your furniture. If you don't have enough space for people to walk around, you may need to consider removing a piece of furniture or two.
With luck, our article has helped answer your question about how far away your coffee table should be from your couch. You don't have to pull out the measuring tape, though, if you don't want to. Just leave enough space that the table can be easily reached by someone sitting on the couch while giving them enough room for their legs. Good luck and happy furnishing!
Need more inspiration or information about positioning furniture? Check out one of our other blog posts here: What Do You Put Between Sofa And Loveseat?
Or, if you still have some questions about your coffee table, check out one of these posts: