Choosing the furniture you like that will function well together in a space can be daunting. Add to this the importance of getting the correct dimensions for your furniture, and you may feel rather overwhelmed. Thankfully several rules of thumb make this task easier.
A side table should be no more than 2″ higher than the top of the sofa’s armrest. The same applies in the opposite direction – the surface of a side table should sit no lower than 2″ below the top of the chair’s armrest. This ensures the side table remains usable as well as aesthetically pleasing.
Furniture of the correct dimensions will make an enormous difference to the success of an interior. There are general rules for homeowners and interior designers when finding furniture of the correct dimension for their homes. These rules are based on aesthetic proportioning as well as the usability of the furniture.
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Should A Side Table Be Higher Than The Sofa?
Generally speaking, a side table should not be higher than the sofa. It is considered unacceptable if a side table is any higher than two inches above the arm of the sofa or chair. The reasoning for this is twofold.
Firstly, using a side table with its main usable surface no higher than two inches above the armrest won’t be easy. This is because a person sitting on the seat must reach comfortably to place an item on – or remove an item from – the table.
A side table higher than two inches above the armrest will be difficult for an average person to use comfortably. Naturally, this is not desirable, as the table’s primary purpose is for you to place your items on it while seated comfortably and for these items to remain within reach.
The same rule applies to side table height in the opposite direction. A side table should not be more than two inches lower than the arm of the chair. As you can imagine, a side table with its surface too far below that of the chair’s arm will also be unusable for most people.
Aesthetically speaking, a side table more than two inches above the arm of the sofa will look disproportionate and out of place. The same will apply to a side table that sits far below the arm of the chair. As a general rule, your side table should certainly never be higher than the chair’s backrest.
If your side tables are at the correct height, you will ensure that the aesthetic of your entire space is well-balanced and proportionate. If the height of your side tables is incorrect, the entire space will look awkward and off-balance.
Aesthetics aside, side tables at the correct height will also be the most comfortable to use and function in the best possible way. They will allow you to place your drinks, books, or food at the correct height, making reaching from a seated position comfortable.
Related Article: How to Mix and Match Your End Tables
What Should You Do If The Sofa Has No Armrests?
Determining the correct height for your side tables can become more challenging if your sofa has no armrests. There are a few ways to go about this. The first possibility is to ensure your side tables are within two inches of the top height of the cushion.
This will be both practical and aesthetically pleasing. If the side table is significantly lower than the top height of the cushion, it will be extremely difficult to use.
Another alternative is finding a level halfway between the chair’s height and the cushion’s top. This will be a good height for the side table to function successfully.
Alternatively, sit on the couch or sofa and have somebody measure the distance from your elbow to the floor. This is a good height at which the top of your side table can be placed successfully.
Exceptions To The Rule Of Side Table Height
There are certain exceptions to the rule, as it were, regarding the height of a side table. For example, if your sofa is on a raised platform, the required height of your side table will differ significantly.
The same applies to cases where the couch is placed close to the ground or consists of a simple cushion at ground level. These cases will require special side tables with extremely different dimensions to those we are used to.
Guidelines For A Side Table’s Other Dimensions
Regarding the dimensions of a side table other than its height, it’s important to ensure that the table’s dimensions all work cohesively with the rest of the furniture in the room. Side tables are usually between 22″ and 30″ high.
To avoid looking disproportionate compared to the sofa and other furniture items, the total length of a side table should never be longer than the width of a single section of the seated part of the sofa.
When looking at the depth of a side table, it should never be more than the total depth of the sofa itself. This will ensure that the side table functions optimally and works in the space in proportions to the other furniture items.
To ensure optimal functionality and aesthetic balance, it’s important to ensure that your side tables are at the correct height of your sofa or chairs. This can make it difficult to find the correct side tables.
While the rule of thumb is for the side table to fall within a two-inch height difference from the arm of the couch, it’s always best to opt for lower rather than higher. A side table that sits higher than the arm of the chair will look odd and out of place.