Emily Henderson coffee table guide Atomic Ranch
Photo by Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson Design Emily’s former home, a Midcentury Modern marvel in California.

For being a rather small piece of furniture the coffee table is a workhorse. It hosts kicked up feet, dinners in front of the TV, stylish centerpieces and sometimes yesterday’s mail. Add it the requirements of looking good and appropriately balancing your sofa? Suddenly the hunt just got harder.

Thankfully, Emily Henderson is here to help. The interior designer has some excellent insider tips for ensuring that your coffee table and sofa combo is as stylish as it is functional. See below for her guidelines and a handy graphic!

From Emily: “First up, rules. While you can, of course, go with whatever shape and size you like, to have an ideal relationship between your coffee table and sofa, here are some general things to keep in mind: Your coffee table should be at least half the length of your sofa (but no more than roughly ⅔ the length) and should sit at about the same height as the seat, give or take 4 inches (i.e., if your sofa is 90-inches long and 20-inches tall, you should look for something, no matter the shape, that’s around 45 to 54 inches wide and 16 to 24 inches tall). However, if you have a sectional with a chaise, and your table is going within the open L-shape that sofa shape creates, that 1/2 to 2/3 guideline applies better to just the length of the horizontal seat, rather than the full length of the sofa. Here’s a quick graphic to show you what we mean, as well as a breakdown of ideal shapes by sofa configuration.”


Emily Henderson coffee table guide Atomic Ranch
Courtesy of Emily Henderson


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