Can A Coffee Table Be Too Small?

Coffee Table Be Too Small

A coffee table is one of the main focal points of any living room, so getting the right table for your space is essential. When considering a small coffee table, it’s reasonable to wonder whether it could be too small. 

A coffee table can be too small, and when it is, it can throw off the balance and functionality of your space. In general, the coffee table should be at least half the width of your sofa and high enough to easily place things down or pick them up while sitting on the sofa. 

If you want to know more about how to find the right coffee table for your space, along with other helpful tips that you can use, then keep on reading! 

A Coffee Table Can Be Too Small

A coffee table that is not appropriate for your space can ruin any living room. Being that a coffee table is the centerpiece of the room makes it one of the most important pieces of furniture in your living room. 

As a general guideline, your coffee table should be at least half as wide as your sofa, and it should not be very low to the ground. Get a table that’s about as high as your couch cushions. Make sure you take into account whether your couch cushions sink in when you sit down.

Problems with Tiny Coffee Tables

When the coffee table is too small, it will be noticeable. You will have trouble putting your glasses on the table when you sit on the couch, and you’ll no doubt struggle when trying to pick anything up from it. You may even develop back pain after using a coffee table that isn’t large enough. 

Also, from a visual standpoint, large furniture with a tiny table in the middle looks off. A properly decorated room will be balanced, meaning that none of the furniture items will appear too small. If your table is miniature-sized compared to the rest of your furniture, the room will feel a bit out of balance. 

So, it’s important to make sure that your coffee table is the right size for your living room. 

Signs Your Coffee Table is Too Small

If you have already purchased your coffee table and are wondering if it is too small, then this section will be helpful to you. Below, we will examine the signs that your coffee table is too small. 

Your Back is Hurting

Your back will be the first to let you know that your coffee table is too small. When your table is too small, you will find yourself reaching and straining to use it. So, if the lower back pain kicks in when you sit down to use your table, chances are it’s too small and needs to be switched out. 

The Room Feels Empty

A room without a large enough coffee table feels empty. When you walk into the room, it may feel like something is missing. If you see more floor than anything when you sit down in your living room, it could be that your coffee table is dollhouse-sized 

There is Not Enough Room for Your Things

If your coffee table is too small, you’ll find yourself rearranging things often. This could be because you just don’t have enough space for your things. Since your coffee table should fit your needs (however you plan to use it), it should be large enough for you to use it how you prefer. 

Ultimately, if you feel like your coffee table is too small, it probably is. At that point, you should take action to make your space more comfortable and functional. 

How to Choose the Right Sized Coffee Table for Your Space

When choosing the right coffee table for your space, there are many things you should consider. The following section will cover all of the considerations so that you can find your ideal coffee table. 

The Height of Your Couches 

The height of your couch cushions would directly influence your coffee table size. The average height of a couch in the United States is about 17 to 18 inches (from floor to the top of the cushion). This is a good guideline for how high your coffee table should be.

If you purchase a coffee table that is too low to the ground, you will know it. You will have to hunch over to use the table, and the design of the room will feel unbalanced. 

The Width of Your Main Couch

The width of your prominent couch gives you yet another guideline for choosing a coffee table that isn’t too small. If you have an extra-wide 96′ couch, a 20-inch wide coffee table would not only look odd, but it wouldn’t provide much in the way of functionality. 

When you’re entertaining guests, and everyone is seated, if your coffee table is only a fourth of the width of your couch, only a couple of your guests will have access to the table. This is precisely why the guideline mentioned earlier is so important. If you are using your coffee table at all, it should be large enough to get some use out of it. 

Conversely, if you live in a small apartment or studio and your couch is small, you can get away with a small coffee table. In cases like this, you may not need to worry at all about whether your table is too small- the concern then is to make sure the couch is small enough to fit within your space. 

The Number of Sofas You Have

If you have one sofa, you may be able to get away with a small coffee table since your coffee table would need to only serve people sitting on that one couch. 

However, if you have more than one couch, you should opt for a larger table that is able to serve both of your sofas. There is nothing more annoying than eating on your lap. 

Your Personal Preference

First and foremost, you should choose a coffee table that makes you feel happy. So, if you feel like getting a tiny coffee table will make you happy, do it. After all, your living space in your living space! 

If you are into quirky designs that challenge popular ideals, visualize your space with various coffee table sizes and choose the one that you like, no matter the size. 

How You Plan to Use the Table

Coffee tables are not only for coffee, and you may have multiple uses in mind for yours. You may have a plant that you can’t want to place on the table, or you may have another idea for a cool display. If you plan on displaying items on your coffee table, you will do well to get a larger coffee table.

On the other hand, for people who don’t plan to load up their tables with knick-knacks and display pieces, a small coffee table may be perfect and could be a space saver.

Make Your Small Coffee Table Bigger

Reading about how your coffee table is too small can be discouraging if you don’t have the means to go and buy a bigger one right now. Luckily, there are ways to make your small coffee table bigger without spending cash on a totally new one. 

The procedure that you need to follow will depend on whether the problem concerns your coffee table’s width or height. 

Make Your Coffee Table Wider

The quickest fix for a coffee table that is not wide enough is to add another table on the side of it. This will increase the table’s area until you find a long-term solution in the form of a larger coffee table. If you are able to find a table that is similar in height and color to your existing coffee table, that would be ideal.

To make your makeshift table look more put together, you could put a mat over it to cover up the separation between the two tables.

Make Your Coffee Table Taller

To make an existing coffee table taller, there are several routes you can take. The sections below will explain three ways that you can raise your coffee table. 

Table Risers

The easiest way to raise your existing coffee table is to use table risers. You can find a set of 4 table risers at your local department store or online at Amazon. A few high-quality table riser options include: 

  • Home Intuition Furniture Risers 4 Pack: This set of 4 furniture risers will raise your table either 3, 5, or 8 inches. You can get this set in black or brown. This set costs much less than a new table. 
  • Slipstick Furniture Risers: This set of clear furniture risers will work with any home decor style since they won’t clash with any color scheme. They’ll work perfectly if you only need an inch or so of lift. They will lift your table either 1, 2, or 3 inches higher.

Raise the Top of Your Table

A more involved way to make your coffee table taller is to adjust the height of the top of the table. Here are the steps that you need to take: 

  • Buy a tabletop made of glass. Make sure that the glass top is the same size as your current tabletop. You can find a tabletop on Amazon or at your local furniture store. You may want to shop around a bit to find the right tabletop to match your desired living room aesthetic. You’ll often find that the cost of the glass is less than the cost of a new table. 
  • Determine how high you want the table to be (in inches) and subtract this number from the current height of the coffee table. Write this number down, as you will need it for the next step.
  • Pick up some wooden spacers with the same height as the number you wrote down in the previous step. You can find these just about everywhere- a Google search is a good starting place.
  • Place the spacers at the corners of the table and then place the glass tabletop over the spacers. 

Now you’ve got a taller table without spending hundreds on a new table. 

Lengthen the Legs of Your Table

If neither of the previous solutions speaks to you, you may want to lengthen the legs of your table with some construction. This method is the most difficult to complete by far, as it requires a lot of steps. Most consumers would rather hire a handyman than lengthen the legs of their table on their own. 

You would need to drill holes in the table, cut dowel pegs, and more. If you’re someone who is into light construction, then you can use the instructions found here to help you complete the table adjustment

This process is relatively quick for those who know what they’re doing, so if you decide to hire a handyman, make sure that they have done work like this before. Since handymen are usually paid by the hour, it would be advantageous to hire someone who can work quickly.

Can Your Coffee Table Be Higher Than Your Sofa?

It was mentioned earlier that your coffee table should be about as high as your sofa cushions. This is a general guideline, not a rule. 

A coffee table could certainly be higher than a sofa, but this would not work in the following situations: 

  • Your couch sinks in. Firm couches won’t sink down very much when you sit down on them, and this is great if your coffee table is a bit on the higher side. However, when the opposite is the case when you sit down on your soft couch, and it sinks in, your coffee table may be too high to be used effectively. 
  • You are tall. You may want a coffee table that comes up higher than your sofa cushions if you are a tall person. However, if you are of average height, your coffee table may be too high if it is higher than your sofa. 

A coffee table that is too high is just as bad as one that’s too low. It creates a tangible awkwardness that you’ll be in a hurry to get rid of. 

Can A Coffee Table Be Longer Than the Sofa?

If you are considering a coffee table that is longer than your sofa, it’s important to know that this is not recommended. Coffee tables are supposed to be placed in front of a couch, or between 2 or 3 couches. If your table is longer than your sofa, your space will look off-balance, based on traditional norms. 

In addition, if your table is longer than your sofa, this will make it difficult for you and your guests to get up from the couch. And, depending on your specific layout, you may need to purposely walk around the table when you get up from the couch. This could become an annoyance. 

Your coffee table should be shorter than your sofa in virtually every case. 

How Tall is the Average Coffee Table?

The average coffee table is anywhere from 12 to 20 inches tall, and the right table for you will usually fit within this range. If your couch is on the taller side, or if you are tall, your coffee table should be closer to 20 inches tall. 

On the other hand, if you’re buying a coffee table for a smaller space, a studio apartment, or any room with couches that sit low to the ground, your coffee table should be closer to 12 inches. 

When in doubt, you can go midway and purchase a table that is around 16 inches tall. The chances of this table height working well with average furniture are good. 

Using a Side Table as a Coffee Table

If you are considering using a side table as a coffee table, you can do that. However, how well this will work depends on your specific side table, as not every side table will do. The side table should be both high enough and wide enough to meet your needs. If you happen to have a side table that works, you can definitely use it. 

If you have two side tables, you can put them together to make your makeshift coffee table wider and more functional. 

Where to Get a New Coffee Table

By this point in the article, you may have come to the realization that your coffee table is too small and you want to get another one. If that’s the case, then it’ll be helpful to you to know where to get a new coffee table for an affordable price. 

You can go to one of the following stores to find a new coffee table without breaking the bank: 

  • Home Depot
  • Target
  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • Your local furniture store

If you take a few minutes and browse the available options, you could find a new coffee table that is the right size for an affordable price. The best thing about going to a physical store is that you can see the table in-person. However, online shopping gives you many more options than you’d find in any one furniture store. 

When shopping online for your new coffee table, it’s critical that you look at the table’s specifications and measurements. This is the part that you should spend the most time on. If you misread the length, width, and height of your coffee table, you can end up with a table small enough to fit in a dollhouse. 

Find the Right Size Coffee Table for Your Space

In this section, you will find some of our top coffee tables picks from Amazon, along with pertinent information about their sizes. 

Small Coffee Tables

If you live in a small space with a couch that’s low to the ground, opt for a small coffee table like one of these: 

  • Household Essentials Coffee Table with Storage Shelf: This rectangular coffee table is 15.75 inches high and 39.4 inches wide and has a rugged faux slate design. It comes with a convenient storage shelf to store or display miscellaneous items. This table comes in both grey and dark walnut. The table works for small spaces because it is relatively low to the ground. 
  • Manhattan Comfort Utopia Low Triangle Coffee Table: For a less conventional look for your small space, you could snatch up this gorgeous triangular coffee table. It is 12 inches high and 33.5 inches wide and comes in off white or yellow. The table is extra low for those who have shorter couches.

Average-Sized Coffee Tables

For those who have an average-sized couch and living room layout, the following tables could be a good fit for you: 

  • Southern Enterprises Risa Cocktail Table, Metallic Gold/White: This elegant cocktail table is higher than many coffee tables, but it can still be considered an average-sized coffee table. It is 18.25 inches high and 33.75 inches wide. This stunning glass table would be a great fit for someone who has a couch of an average height. 
  • IWELL Mid-Century Boho Coffee Table: The chic coffee table would be a great addition to any living room. It is 17.55 inches high and 42.9 inches long. This coffee table will be a great fit for you if your couch’s height is average. It’ll even work if your coach is a bit on the longer side. This table is a bit more affordable than the previous one.

Large Size Coffee Tables

If you have a very large space, high couches, or many sofas, you need a large coffee table. The following tables are our top large table picks: 

  • Olee Sleep 46″ Cocktail Wood & Metal Legs Coffee Table: If you need to furnish a large living room, this table by Olee Sleep will give you the space you need. It’s 18 inches high and 46 inches long, which is great if you need the table to serve multiple couches or a longer couch.
  • HOMCOM 39″ Modern Lift Top Coffee Table: This wood grain coffee table appears to be a regular coffee table until you open its life top! Not only does the table have great storage capabilities, but it’s also great for anyone who is taller or has taller furniture.  

Now you have several options for every living room size and layout. The next section will help you with decorating your space even if you keep your small coffee table. 

Tips for Decorating a Room with a Small Coffee Table

Even if you know that your coffee table is too small, there are some things that you can do to make your small coffee table work. The following list will give you some helpful tips: 

  • Ensure balance. If your coffee table is small and you have no intention of purchasing another one, you can change up other parts of your living room to help with balance. For instance, you can incorporate side tables on the side of each of your couches, or you can bring in other pieces of furniture to fill in empty space. 
  • Mind your rug. If your coffee table is small, make sure that you haven’t paired it with an oversized rug. Your coffee table and rug should be proportionate. Choose a small-to-medium rug to draw attention away from the fact that your coffee table is small. 
  • Create a multi-piece table. Who says that you can’t have multiple coffee tables? If the one that you have is too small, you can add one right next to it or in front of another couch (if you have one).
  • Push your furniture closer to the table. Furniture does not have to be against a wall. If your tiny table is far away from your furniture, this can look awkward. Moving your furniture closer to your table can make your room decor feel a lot more cohesive. 
  • Choose a smaller couch. Addressing the scale of your furniture can make a lot of difference. To make your existing table look larger, you can consider pairing it with smaller furniture. For instance, a loveseat (which is smaller than most sofas) would look much better with a tiny coffee table than a traditional sofa would. 

You could even try a combination of these suggestions to make your small coffee table work! However, you should remember that as long as you are comfortable with your living room layout, that’s all that really matters. 

Final Thoughts

Now you know that coffee tables can indeed be too small, you’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you decide whether your coffee table is too small and more. We hope that this article serves as a valuable resource for your furniture concerns!


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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