Rightsizing Coffee Tables

Scale really does matter when you're selecting a coffee table for the living room. The formula for success: The coffee table should be one-half to two-thirds the length of the sofa.
Too Small, Too Large

Too Small

This miniscule table not only looks out of proportion, it functions poorly as well. Those seated at either end of the sofa would have to do some serious stretching to grab a handful of popcorn or retrieve a book.

Also, because the table is so small, its surface is nearly covered with accessories. There's little room left for a coaster and cup, much less a spot to prop your feet. Tables spanning only one-third of the sofa length are too small and will throw the grouping off balance.

Too Large

Bigger isn't always better. This coffee table's well-chosen style can't compensate for its overscaled size. Nearly as long and as wide as the sofa, it competes rather than complements.

A table this long leaves little room for traffic flow and no space for stretching your legs out on the floor. Even the tabletop array looks lonely.

Continued on page 2:  Just Right