Can a Coffee Table Be Too High?

When looking for the perfect coffee table to fit your living or TV room, it can be difficult to figure out the right sizes and dimensions. Perhaps you’re out in a store and considering a particular coffee table, but without having it inside your house and beside your couches, how can you know if it’s too high?

Can a coffee table even be too high? If you’re not sure about this, we’ve created a short exploration to help explain to you what you need to keep in mind when considering if the dimensions of a coffee table. 

Can a Coffee Table be too high

So let’s answer the question as simply as we can – yes, a coffee table can be too high. One look on the market or in stores will show you a variety of different coffee tables, and whether one is too high or not depends entirely on the set-up of your living room – mostly the heights of your sofas and chairs.

Coffee tables are lower than sofas because of their original design. Coffee tables originate from the Victorian England where sitting and drawing rooms became popular places to entertain guests – often coffee tables were placed around these rooms as a place for beverages whilst conversation flowed.

As time has progressed, we find ourselves with different living rooms that center around TVs – something they never could have imagined in the Victorian era – and because of this coffee tables have since been designed to be small and placed next to couches, or in the center of the room where all pieces of furniture have access to it.

Coffee tables are sometimes the centerpiece of a room, so for this reason they must be shorter than the furniture around them. 

How Deep Should My Coffee Table be? 

The depth of your coffee table depends on the dimensions of your living room. We recommend leaving 30 to 40 inches between your coffee table and other pieces of furniture, but this depends on how big your living room is.

You can also leave less space between your coffee table and your couches/chairs, as you’ll want to be able to reach over to grab beverages on top of it.

As for how deep your coffee table should be, we recommend purchasing one that is no deeper than the space between your furniture. You don’t want some gigantic monstrosity in the center of your living room that will completely fill your room and make it difficult to move around.

Likewise, a tiny coffee table will be impossible to reach and might not have the required surface dimensions you need to place beverages, books, and anything else you might need to. 

The standard size for a coffee table is between 30-60 inches, so as long as you pick something within this range that fits the dimensions of your living room, you can’t go wrong!

That said, if your living room has unconventionally long sofas or big pieces of furniture which are different from a more conventional living room, then you may well need to find something deeper or longer, or in a different shape than normal.

There are a variety of different coffee tables you can find, from L-shaped pieces to long rectangles and oval shapes. The dimensions of these may vary and be more complicated, so make sure you measure them before making a purchase! 

How Tall Should My Coffee Table Legs Be?

How tall your coffee table legs should be is a little simpler to answer. Typically, coffee table legs tend to range from 14 inches to 18 inches. Generally, you want to make sure you’re getting something that is no taller than the seat of your couch, sofa, or chair.

The last thing you want with a coffee table is to have to reach up to pick your beverage – in that case, it’s not so much a coffee table anymore, rather an actual table. 

So here is the best advice you can follow – measure your sofa from its very base up to the cushion that you sit on. If the coffee table you’re looking at has legs that are much taller than this then they’re probably too tall. 

This does however depend on if you’re looking for something lower like a traditional coffee table. There are modern alternatives that end up being much taller, but generally, we would advise measuring off the height of your sofa or chair.

Is 14 inches Too Short for a Coffee Table?

Like with the previous questions, it depends on the furniture it is set beside. Most sofas sit between 17 and 20 inches from bottom to cushion, so a 14-inch tall coffee table should be alright with most of these. However, it depends on the furniture and how difficult the surface is to reach once you’re sat down and sunk in. 

If you want an accurate measurement, the best thing to do is to first get a measurement of the height of the coffee table you’re considering, mark it in on your couch with tape, then sit down on your sofa or chair and measure how far away you are from an estimate of its surface. If you’re finding that you have to reach or lean or even move to touch it, then you might be in trouble. 

14 inches is on the lower side of how tall average coffee tables are, which can range from 14 to 18 inches. It would probably be okay for most sofas, though it’s always worth checking first. 


So can a coffee table be too high? Yes! It certainly can, however, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that is massively too high for the furniture in your living room. 

Generally, coffee tables range from 14-18 inches high, but you’re safest to go for something from 14-16. 18 might be a little too tall for conventional furniture. The best rule and the main point of advice we’d like to leave you with is to make precise measurements before you make your purchase! Happy coffee table shopping – hopefully, you find one that is the perfect fit!