“How much space should be between the sofa and coffee table?”
It seems like a silly question, right? But it’s one that seems to pop up a lot.
When spacing out your living room furniture, the natural thing to do is to just plop the coffee table down in the centre of your seating arrangement. Aesthetically, that’s usually where it looks best. But too far from the sofa and you’ll be struggling to reach it from the comfort of your seat, and too close to the sofa and you may end up with bruised knees!
Living room photos on Houzz and other showroom-style design sharing websites will commonly place the coffee table a minimum of two feet away from the sofa. But, as easy on the eyes this placement is, it’s just not people-friendly. You should position it for convenience above all else.
For most… this will be between 14 and 20 inches.
If between the sofa and the coffee table isn’t used for general passage, and won’t get much foot traffic, 14 inches should leave adequate leg room to seat most people without bumping their knees on the coffee table when they sit down. A distance of 20 inches will still provide a convenient surface for drinks and bits (albeit this is better suited to those with long arms!), whilst offering enough space to walk between the sofa and coffee table should you need to. With a distance of 20 inches, even the tallest, lankiest of folk should be comfortable sat on the sofa and not made to feel as if they’re flying on a budget airline. But for shorter people who very rarely entertain tall guests, this will be far too much.
The best way to measure how far a coffee table should be from the couch is to simply test it out yourself.
- Sit down on the very edge of your seat, the closest from the edge that you can comfortably sit without falling off.
- Now stand up.
- If you bump into the table, you’ll need to push it out a bit more.
- Now try holding a cup of coffee or a cup of tea and sit all the way back in your seat.
- Try reaching forward to put your cup down on the coffee table.
- Can you do this comfortably, even if you have to shuffle a little forward in your seat?
- Maybe people will have to walk in between the sofa and the coffee table to get to their seat.
- Ask someone to get to their seat, while you sit back in yours.
- If they’re stepping on your toes, or bumping their legs on the table, push the table back even further.
For extra comfort when reaching for the coffee table, you want there to be a height difference within 6 inches of each other between the surface of the coffee table and the seat of the sofa, so that guests won’t be awkwardly reaching up or down when putting their drink down.