The Purpose of a Sofa Table Explained

Sofa Table Explained

Sofa tables are designed to be larger than coffee tables and typically smaller than dining tables. They typically are about the size of the back of your sofa and are made to be just a few inches shorter. So, what is the purpose of a sofa table and what sets one apart from other types of tables? 

The purpose of a sofa table is to add to the decor of the room and provide storage space for items such as magazines or books. A sofa table is typically set against or behind the sofa. Sofa tables can declutter a room by acting as a storage space. 

Sofa tables are decorative furniture pieces that you can use to store a number of household items with. Finding a good sofa table can make all the difference when it comes to revitalizing your living space with a fresh, decorative piece of furniture. Read on to find out more about the purpose of sofa tables, the best places to put them, and how to find the right sofa table for your home. 

Why Do You Need a Sofa Table?

The reasons to get a sofa table are just as varied as the reasons to get a sofa. When you have a table, it fits neatly with your couch and works better with decor than a console or coffee table. They are also useful. If you do not want to always use the overhead, a sofa table works well to hold your lamp. 

You will want to make sure to get a sofa table that will work well with the other decor in the room. It will be essential in tying the decorations together and it works as utility as well. You will want to use the table but always keep it cleaned off after. 

Where Do You Place a Sofa Table?

Sofa Table Behind Sofa
Sofa Table Behind Sofa

As opposed to console tables that are placed up against the wall, a sofa table is placed behind or beside (and up against) a sofa. They are mainly for decoration but also for utility. The size varies but to find one for your room, make sure it is just a few inches (3-4 inches tops) shorter than the length of your sofa, and about the height of the armrest. 

If you place the table behind the sofa, make sure it is close to the length of the sofa but only comes up to the back, not the cushions. Be sure to keep it dusted and decluttered because its primary purpose is to provide decoration. 

The Difference Between a Sofa, Console and a Coffee Table

A coffee table is smaller than both a sofa table and console table. Coffee tables are primarily for sitting in the middle of the room between furniture and their use is primarily for holding drinks and other things while entertaining people. 

A console table is larger than a coffee table and normally up against a wall to help tie in the decor in the room. A sofa table typically is used for decorative lamps and other things held behind the couch or beside. 

Coffee TableConsole TableSofa Table
Length: 36-48 inchesLength: 24-48 inchesLength: varies
Width: 18-24 inchesWidth: 12-15 inchesWidth: Varies
Height- 16-18 inchesHeight: 20-36 inchesHeight: Varies
Perfect to set coffee and platesPerfect for stereo equipment and smaller electronicsPerfect for decorative lamps and other decor
Goes in the middle of a room in front of the sofaSlides against the wall Goes behind or beside the couch, touching

As you can see, there are different varieties of sizes and types of tables. You can have all three or just pick one or two to go in the room. If you choose just one, it should be a sofa table. They can be used for coffee as well as decorative lamps. They are longer and taller than coffee tables and slide easily up against the couch. Just make sure the table is slightly smaller than the couch itself. 

How to Buy the Perfect Sofa Table

When you are buying a decorative sofa table, figure out if you are putting it beside or behind your couch. If you are putting it behind the couch, measure between the floor and the top of the couch itself, not the cushion. You do not want it as tall as the cushion, just the sofa. If you are placing a sofa table next to a couch, then measure the couch from the arm down to the floor. 

For length, make sure there are a few inches of space, so make sure there is a small amount of space (a few inches) between the end of the couch and table. Also, make sure the table is deep enough for the reason you want the table. 

After finding the tables that are the length you want, you need to determine the look. They make wood, steel and other types of material. When you determine what material, look at color. Do you want to paint it yourself? You can buy any color and repaint it to look the way you want. 

You can also find old tables at yard sales or vintage shops to sand down and repaint. 

If you are really good with tools, take the measurements you need, find the materials and make the table yourself. If you make it yourself, you will know you have a 100% original piece. 

What Are Some Ways to Decorate a Sofa Table?

When you first move and have a clean slate, or you are redoing your normal decor, you may find yourself looking at the tables in the home store. When you do decide to buy a new sofa table, you may want to use it for decoration but do not know what to put on it. Here are some ideas for decorative, fun and utilitarian items to decorate. 

  • Find some fun, bright decorative lamps. They can help add color, style and use to your room and table 
  • Stack some books and magazines in a fun and attractive manner. They do not even have to be books or magazines you read, just make sure to stack them in an attractive manner 
  • Clean, full dish sets
  • Remotes, if you do not have other tables, the remotes can easily be put neatly on the sofa table
  • A nice table runner or table cloth
  • Flower vase 
  • Table toppers

The ideas can be limitless. You do need to determine if you want it for utility or style. If you want it for utility, you can stack your stuff on the table neatly so it will not make the whole room look messy. 

Things to Avoid Putting on Your Sofa Table

You want to avoid making a huge, disorganized mess of chaos. Tables tend to end up easily getting overloaded by clutter, so if you are prone to cluttering up spaces, try to stay mindful of the mess everyday living can cause. 

  • Used and dirty dishes
  • Clothes- clean and folded or dirty
  • Mail
  • Random papers that you will “file later”
  • Messy and disorganized random items
  • Toys
  • Make up
  • Anything that belongs in another room

Just as the possibilities are endless with filling the table, they are also endless with the amount of junk to keep off the table. You do not want the table to become yet another cluttered area that will give you a headache when it is time to clean. 


When you are looking to add some style and decor to your room, a sofa table is the way to go. You can add the table for either looks or utility. They are used to fill empty space in the room around the furniture and are not made to be cluttered down. They can be put beside or behind the couch and can easily be bought with other types of tables. 

You should take care and consideration when it comes to choosing a sofa table. You want to make sure it is not too small or too big. Make sure it fits in with the theme of the room and try to keep it from getting cluttered up under papers and dirty dishes. 

Sofa tables are important for filling up open space and enhancing the style of the rooms you place them in. 


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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