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Coffee tables are not one-size-fits-all, and sizing them depends on the size of your living room and the setup of your living room furniture. There are three basic rules of thumb: One, choose a table that's approximately the same height as your sofa cushions or slightly shorter; two, it should measure no more than two-thirds the sofa's total length; and three, keep two feet of clearance around each side.
After spending a little quality time with the tape measure, you will have a range of sizes that will work. But beyond the formula approach, don't ignore your own designing impulses. If you are tall or if you plan to spend more time standing than sitting around your coffee table, you might want to tack on a few inches. On the other hand, if you are interested in creating a down-to-earth feel, think about lower settings. Begin with the rules of thumb in mind but remember that form and function are fast friends when you want to create an ideal living area.
Consider proportion: You don’t want a piece that dwarfs its surroundings or vice versa. If you’re thinking of a classic oblong table, go with one that’s half the couch’s length or shorter (usually 44 to 48 inches) and about 22 to 30 inches wide. The oversize square is trendy these days, but whether you choose that or a rectangle, make sure there are two to three feet between the piece and surrounding furniture, so people can move around easily. In tight quarters, a round table (with a maximum diameter of 36 inches) may be your best bet, since a circle is less difficult to navigate (no sharp corners) and works nicely with both love seats and L-shaped sectionals. Whatever shape you select, look for a table about the same height as your sofa’s seat (typically 18 to 20 inches) to create a strong horizontal line that will help unify the room.