What To Put Behind A Reclining Couch—8 Excellent Ideas To Optimize The Space!

Reclining couches are a great way to relax after a long day, but how do you make the most of your space when you have a reclining sofa? If you’re looking for ideas and advice on how to configure your furniture while working around a reclining couch, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done the research to put together this handy guide so you can find all the answers in one place. 

Here is a list of 8 things to consider putting behind a reclining sofa:

  • Ottoman
  • Bench
  • Coffee table
  • Sofa table with wheels
  • Poufs
  • Bean bag chairs
  • Stools
  • Shelving

These options may or may not work for you depending on your sofa, how far it reclines, and your lifestyle. Some of these pieces have more uses than others too. To learn more about using each option practically, keep reading.

Modern design of spacious loft office with bean bag chairs, wooden rack and table, What To Put Behind A Reclining Couch—8 Excellent Ideas To Optimize The Space!

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Things to Put behind a Reclining Sofa


One long ottoman or a series of several ottomans behind the couch can create an interesting look. Toss a throw blanket and a cute pillow on it to make it into a statement piece.

Another benefit of the ottoman option is that it can provide extra seating and storage and be used as a footstool. Make sure you find an ottoman short enough that it won’t interfere with the reclining motion of your couch.

Deco De Ville Ottoman Bench

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This bench ottoman is a great option to use behind a reclining couch. Click here to check it out on Amazon.


Farmhouse living room interior with wooden furniture

A short, backless bench could be the perfect solution for a behind-the-couch piece. This is another option that you could easily move to provide extra seating too.

Benches can also come in handy as a place to showcase decor; try filling it with tons of family photos or LED candles for a beautiful display.

Booram Farmhouse Bench

This bench is a great solution for country-style homes. Click here to see it on Amazon.

Coffee Table

A low coffee table is another workable option for use behind a reclining sofa. It can be used to display decor, or you can pull it out when extra table space is needed. This can be handy if you have company visiting, or if you need extra space for your kids to do crafts.

Rolanstar Coffee Table

The drawers and bins on this coffee table add practical storage space. Click here to check it out on Amazon.

Sofa or Console Table with Wheels

A sofa table or console table with wheels involves a little more than some other options here. Since it is tall, you will need to move it out of the way every time you want to recline the sofa.

This could become an issue if you have limited space or tend to be forgetful. But it provides the traditional look with the ability to move the piece easily. 

FirsTime & Co. Console Table

This console table has wheels that make it easy to move out of the way when you want to recline the couch. Click here to see it on Amazon.

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Three or four coordinated poufs lined up behind the sofa is a cute look that can also serve other purposes, like seating and use as a footstool. For a fun look, try mixing square and spherical poufs and neutral and bright colors. These make great decorative additions to a living room and can be used to add small pops of color to the space.

Christopher Knight Home Pouf

This pouf is colorful and cute; it’s large enough to use as a seat and small enough to fit under the back of a reclined couch. Click here to see it on Amazon.

Bean Bag Chairs

interior with yellow beanbag

Bean bag chairs can be a great way to add more seating to a space. Their squishy nature means they won’t mind being at the back of a reclining couch, smushed up against it. If you have kids or teenagers, their friends will surely appreciate the hip seating arrangements, and your own friends might appreciate this nostalgic piece.

David 8-ft Bean Bag 

This long bean bag sofa could be the answer you’re looking for in a behind-the-couch solution. Click here to see it on Amazon.


Short stools are another way to maximize the space behind a reclining couch. Line up several stools and use them as a display area or extra seating to pull out when you have guests. They’ll also work as footstools, stepstools, and seats for children in a pinch. 

rendering of a traditional style living room. Luxurious interiors of a living room.

Porthos Home Stool

This stool stands about 8-1/2 inches high, providing plenty of clearance for a reclining couch. Click here to check it out on Amazon.


A short bookcase could be the solution to your behind-the-couch woes.  It can add some extra storage space for books, video games, CD’s and DVDs, or for displaying knick-knacks and photos. Just make sure you find a shelf short enough to fit under your couch when it’s fully reclined. 

FIVEGIVEN Small Bookcase

At just under 20-inches high, this bookcase should fit behind most reclining sofas without impeding their movement. Click here to see it on Amazon.

How Much Space do You Need Between the Wall and a Reclining Couch?

For most reclining couches and sofas, 1-foot of clearance is needed behind the piece for it to fully recline. This is why most people with reclining sofas choose to place the piece in the center of the room, rather than having it set 1-foot away from the wall, which can ruin the flow of your space, especially if it’s a small room.

How do You Protect Your Reclining Couch From the Wall?

Since reclining furniture needs at least a foot of space behind it to function properly, you may need to take some precautions to protect your wall and your sofa. If you decide to place your couch a foot away from a wall, you may want to use non-slip grips on the legs, so it doesn’t get pushed into the wall when people sit down.

Another way to protect your couch and the wall is to invest in a couch cover or keep a throw blanket draped over the back of the piece to prevent wear from rubbing. Furniture pads will keep your couch from bumping into the wall if you have slippery floors.

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Can You Use a Sofa Table Behind a Reclining Couch?

Yes, just position the sofa table a foot away from the back of the couch to allow reclining clearance. Once you have the couch and sofa table spaced appropriately, you can apply non-slip grippers to their legs to prevent them from sliding around.

The other option would be to use a sofa table with wheels that can be pushed aside when you want to recline the couch. 

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How Much Room do You Need to Walk Around a Couch?

The general rule for furniture placement is to allow at least 30-inches of walking space between each seating piece. Coffee tables should be kept within reach of the couch, at around 14-inches.

Side tables, sofa tables, and ottomans don’t have any specific rulesy. Just make sure there is enough space for traffic to flow seamlessly.

What is a Wall Hugger Reclining Sofa?

A wall hugger model recliner is specifically made to be placed against a wall. It reclines by moving its track forward rather than backward, preventing it from hitting the wall, and instead forcing it into the space in front.

This can be a huge advantage in small rooms. Wall huggers can even be placed in the center of a room and have furniture placed behind them, like traditional sofa tables, without the worry of bumping into the furniture behind it.

Time to Kick Back

Now that you know the basics of working with reclining couches, you’re ready to start rearranging furniture and looking into sofa tables and their alternatives. Some of these options almost seem more useful than a standard sofa table. With all the eye-catching options you’ve learned about, you’re sure to find the perfect solution for your home’s needs. Have fun redecorating!

For more information on how to properly situate furniture in your home, take a look at our post “Should Coffee Table Drawers Face The Sofa?”

To learn more about the standards for furniture spacing, check out our article “How Much Space Between Furniture For Walking?

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