An important part of a living room is a quality coffee table. These pieces are the decorative centerpiece of the room, in addition to being an important functional piece. However, pairing the perfect coffee table with your sectional sofa might be a chore if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
The rule of thumb is that the table shouldn’t be longer than two-thirds of the length of the sectional, so the best size table depends on the size of the sectional. Here are the correlating sizes and shapes:
- Right angle: square or round
- L-shaped: rectangular
- U-shaped: square, rectangular, or round
We’ve compiled information from the experts into this handy guide and are excited to help you make a great decision. Please keep reading for more suggestions on how to pick your coffee table and what type will work best with your sectional. We’ll explain why each type works and show you examples of each. Here we go!
How do you choose a coffee table for a sectional?
Though your coffee table needs to fit in with your sectional, it also needs to fit in the rest of the room. This includes style and shape in addition to size. There are countless combinations of these factors, so you’re sure to find one to fit your needs. Before we discuss the best table for each type of sectional, here are a few things to think about in general.
When choosing a coffee table, consider the rest of the room in terms of style and color. The coffee table should complement all the furniture, flooring, walls, and other decor. One way to think about it is to decide what aesthetic you’d like to define your living room. Use any elements that are already decided — in this case, a sectional sofa — and then add the rest of the pieces.
See how the coffee table in this living room draws themes from the wicker chair, floor, lamp, and end table?
This coffee table is the same style as the end table and is open-bottomed, just like the couch.
Another way to think about the coffee table is in terms of formal or informal. Formal pieces are defined by elegance, sharp angles, unusual materials, and more emphasis on appearance than functionality. For instance, the table pictured below says “elegance” instead of “comfort.”
This table, on the other hand, is an example of an informal piece. It’s simple, rounded, and without ornament.
Neither one — formal or informal — is necessarily better or worse than the other. But make sure not to mix them too drastically. If you’re aiming for a farmhouse or boho style of room, that first table won’t fit in. If you’re going for a refined, sophisticated look, that first table might work perfectly.
Think a normal coffee table won’t work for you? Then read this article: 15 Coffee Table Alternatives You Should Check Out.
Coffee tables come in geometric shapes: rectangular, square, circular, or oval. The best shape depends on what type of sectional you have. However, the term “shape” refers to more than just the geometric shape of the top of the table.
Shape also has to do with the types of legs on the table, whether or not it has a second shelf, and other unique features. To decide what shape you’d like, think about how your coffee table will be used. Will you play board games or snack with friends? Then consider buying a table that you can put your legs under, like the one below.
Or, would you prefer some extra storage space in your coffee table? Check out the tables below that feature shelves, drawers, or cabinets for your convenience.
No matter what type of sectional you have, the goal is that the coffee table feels proportionate to the couch and the rest of the room. This is relatively easy if the sectional is the only seating in the room, but becomes more difficult if the coffee table will be used by multiple seats. But the bottom line is that if the coffee table doesn’t fit with the sectional, it won’t fit in the room at all.
Square Or Right Angle
A square or right angle sectional has two sections of equal size that come together to form a right angle. It’s designed to fit into a corner. Your best bet with this type of sectional is a square or round coffee table like the ones below. These shapes will maximize the space efficiency of the sectional without throwing off the balance as a rectangular table would.
Aldwin Coffee Table
Co-Z Round Coffee Table
An L-shaped sectional is one that has two sections that are not the same length, or one that has a chaise lounge as the second arm like the image below.
With this style, focus on a rectangle that aligns with the longest arm of the sofa. That will make sure that everyone on the couch can reach the table without throwing off the balance of the room. Remember that the length of the table shouldn’t extend more than two-thirds of the length of the sofa.
A U-shaped sectional has three sections that form a horseshoe shape. Sometimes, the third arm is formed by a chaise lounge like the image below.
If the middle part of your sectional is long enough to fit a rectangular table with plenty of legroom, go for it! Many sectionals are not big enough to accommodate this, so a square or round table will work, too. A U-shaped sectional already feels closed-off, so smaller is better in terms of a coffee table for this setup.
How many inches should be between the couch and coffee table?
There should be about 14-18 inches between the couch and the coffee table. That distance allows plenty of legroom, but make it so you can reach the table from your seat. Again, these dimensions depend on whether or not other seats will use the table. If this is the case, you can get away with moving the table farther away from the couch so that it’s centered amongst the seating. So, measure the space between the parts of the sectional, then subtract the space for walking room.
The second important element is the length of the table. The table shouldn’t extend more than two-thirds of the length of either end of the sectional. For instance, if one of the sectional arms is 96 inches long, the table should only span two-thirds of that distance, or 64 inches. If the table is too long in either direction, it throws off the balance of the room and eats into walking space.
One way to envision the way the coffee table fits in the room is to set up a mock “coffee table.” Do you have your eye on a specific table? Figure out its dimensions. Then, put painter’s or masking tape on the floor where you want the table to go in the same shape and size as the table.
For the next couple of days, operate as if the tape is the table. Do you have to change your walking route drastically? Do you find yourself stepping on the “corner” of the table? Does it feel like it fits in the living room, or should you look for a different table?
Should your coffee table be lower than your couch?
Your coffee table should be the same height or slightly lower than your couch. Think in terms of picking a table that is the same height as the cushions on your couch or 1-2 inches lower. This is not a hard-and-fast rule but err on the side of too short. Too tall makes the couch feel short and squatty and makes the coffee table too dominant.
Now that you know what to look for in a coffee table, check out this article for advice on how to decorate it: What To Put On A Coffee Table!
The best type of coffee table for your sectional depends on the type of sectional and the rest of the room’s decor. Decide what type of aesthetic you’d like to achieve in the room, then find a coffee table that draws it all together. If your sectional is a right angle, look for a square or circular table; rectangular for an L-shaped couch, and rectangular or square for a U-shaped sectional.
Hopefully this article has helped you make an educated decision about what type of coffee table goes best with your sectional!