End Table Height: Guide to Picking the Right Height

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When shopping for an end table, you want to ensure you are choosing a piece that stands at the proper height. This way, not only are you making sure the table fits in your space, but you are also maintaining the overall balance of your living room.

Before we begin, lets first discuss what is an end table? End tables or sometimes called side tables, are small tables that you usually place next to a couch, sofa, or chair in your living room. In most cases you’ll place a lamp, books, picture frames or a decorative item on top. You can also use it to place drinks or snacks when you have guests over.

You can start shopping for an end table by checking out the following end table height, width and depth guide.

What is The Average End Table Height?

The standard height of an end table is 20 to 28 inches, but the actual height you choose is going to depend on your other furniture. For example, you want to choose an end table that is within 2 inches of your couch’s arm height. If you cannot find a height that works for your living room, choose an end table that is shorter than your couch.

Another way to choose an end table at the right height is to base it on your lampshade. If you are placing a lamp on your end table, the bottom of the lampshade should not be higher than eye level when you are sitting down.

When you start shopping for a side table, you’ll see that they usually fall into these three categories:

  • Small end table: under 18 inches
  • Standard end table: between 18-24 inches
  • Tall end table: over 28 inches

Tip! Some furniture companies have realized that homeowners want to have the option to adjust the height of their end table. As a result, they’ve designed side tables that you can manually adjust their height, by making it taller or lower by up to 10 inches. This allows you adjust the height for different occasions (ex: snacks, coffee serving, etc.). Check out our guide on the best adjustable height coffee tables for some great ideas.

End Tables and A Couch

end table next to couch

You already know that an end table should be within 2 inches of your couch’s arm height. For example, you want to pair a couch with a 22-inch tall arm with an end table that measures 20 to 24 inches tall. However, the general rule is to choose an end table that is equal to or just below the arms of your couch.

However, if you own a loveseat or sofa that is armless, then you’ll want to use the height of the seat cushion as a reference. In this case, you can measure the height of the seat cushion of your sofa, and pick a side table that is slightly higher than the seat cushions.

Once you select the proper height, you can always place matching end tables on each side of your couch to create a symmetrical design.

What is The Average End Table Width?

You also need to keep the width in mind when shopping for an end table. After all, you do not want to purchase a piece that is too wide or bulky for your living room. The standard width of an end table is 16 to 22 inches, with a few inches between the end table and your couch. While you want to avoid an end table that is too wide for your space, you also want to ensure there is enough space on the surface for items such as a lamp, small houseplant or small stack of books.

What is The Average End Table Depth?

You should always take the depth of your into consideration when choosing an end table. The measurements of your end table’s depth are going to vary per piece, as the depth should be equal to the depth of the couch or chair next to it.

If you cannot find an end table with equal depth, go smaller to avoid exceeding the depth of your couch. Keeping the depth of your end table in mind is a great way to avoid throwing off the balance of your living room.

Tip! If you’re looking to buy a round side table, the depth is the diameter. On the other hand, if you’re buying a square side table, the depth is the distance between the two sides.

Nesting Tables

nesting table height

Image Credit: Ballard Designs

Nesting tables can become quite popular in resent years, especially when it comes to small spaces. With a nesting table you’re getting a set of 2 or 3 tables with matching design. However, each table is slightly smaller than the other. This allows you to stack them under each other, when they are not being used. If you have guests over for example, and you need several tables in order to place drinks and snacks on top, using the nesting tables is a great option.

If you keep the above height guide in mind, you can easily choose an end table that fits in your living room and looks great with your couch and other pieces.