Coffee tables became a thing in the 18th century during the Victorian era. During this era, the regular drink was tea, and coffee tables were the perfect place to place tea cups. Since then, coffee tables have become more of a necessity than the luxury they once were. You would not even see your living room complete without one.
However, choosing the perfect coffee table for your living room could be challenging. Which leads to the question, “How tall should a coffee table be?” It should be able to serve you without straining your back or arms.
How Tall Are Coffee Tables?
The typical coffee table height should be at least 16 inches and 18 inches at most. However, there is more to a good coffee table than just the dimensions. The height of a coffee table should match the height of your sofa cushions or be two inches shorter. This helps you to reach the items on the table without stretching too much.
If your coffee table is too tall, it will visually strain you. It makes it difficult for you to see across the table. Additionally, if it is too low, it makes it hard for you to reach your coffee cup easily. The height of a coffee table should also complement the existing furniture in your living room. Before choosing the right height for your coffee table, you should consider the TV console, side tables, and armchairs. This will help you avoid creating an awkward space inside your living room.
Before deciding the standard coffee table height for your living room, these two sitting arrangements can help.
Coffee Table Height to Couch
As mentioned earlier, the standard coffee table height is usually between 16 and 18 inches. However, this height is only ideal if your sofas are not taller than 20 inches. This comes from the rule that a coffee table’s standard height should be 2 inches lower than the sofa cushions.
This setup makes it easy for you to reach your coffee cup and other items on the table without straining. Such height is also helpful as it ensures that the items on the table do not obstruct your view across the coffee table. A coffee table slightly lower than your sofa cushions is also ideal for resting your feet on it. It does not create a steep upward or downward incline.
When deciding your coffee table’s standard height, it is critical to consider your sofas. If they are overstuffed, an 18-inch coffee table could be too low. This is where custom coffee table designs come into play. You can order a custom-made coffee table that perfectly matches the height of your sofa if it is a little higher than standard sofas.
Can You Have a Coffee Table Taller Than the Couch?
A coffee table’s standard height is 16 to 18 inches. However, it should not surprise you to see a coffee table with a height of 21 inches. There are special occasions that allow you to choose a coffee table taller than your sofa cushions. For instance, you can choose a taller coffee table if you have aggressive toddlers or pets, if you have a shorter couch, or if you need the table to have a storage compartment underneath.
How tall is a coffee table for a living room with 17-inch tall sofas? Seventeen inches is the average height of a couch. Generally, a coffee table 19 to 21 inches in height is ideal for low couches. When you have stubborn pets, you can get a table a few inches above your dogs and cats’ nose level. An elevated coffee table will keep your dog from climbing and messing it up.
A taller coffee table is also perfect for homeowners who prefer a storage compartment underneath. This ensures you do not have to walk across the room to get your magazines or novel. A tall coffee table can also double up as your dining table if you are starved of space.
So, how tall should a coffee table be in this regard? Most professional interior designers recommend that if you choose a coffee table taller than your couches, you should not exceed 4 inches. This helps you maintain the idea of a coffee table even when you decorate it with a showpiece.
Did You Buy a Short Coffee Table? This DIY Hack Will Help
Sometimes you may see a coffee table that catches your eye. Maybe it matches your living room decor. However, since you were not on a coffee table hunting adventure, you do not know whether it is of the correct height regarding your sofa cushions. If you get home and find it sits too low below your couches, you can use this DIY adjustment hack instead of returning it to the store.
You will need a piece of the tabletop. It may be glass or wood. Get the other dimensions of the table, and purchase material with the thickness you want to add to your coffee table height. Ensure its length and width match the coffee table perfectly. Now you can use a hot glue gun to secure this material on your coffee table. You can also use a double-sided tape to join.
If you cannot find the exact color of the tabletop, use an alternative material and paint it to match the original color of the tabletop. This will not only increase the height of your coffee table, but it will also enhance your living room decor.
So, how tall should a coffee table be? Mostly, this depends on the sitting arrangement in your living room and personal test in furniture. Sure, there are standard heights for coffee tables. However, the standard will only work if your other furniture is average height. Therefore, we recommend you devote a reasonable amount of time scouting your living room before bringing in the coffee table. You do not want to spend $1,000 on a premium coffee table only to find it looks like you stuffed a dining table between your sofas.