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10 Coffee Table Ideas For A Reclining Sofa

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Reclining sofas are great for relaxing at the end of a long day or on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But what can interfere with that laid back feeling is the necessity to get up every time you want a cup of tea or to reach for your glasses.  


A conventional coffee table placed in front of your recliner just isn’t going to work.  You will need to leave a good 20 inches in front of the sofa for when the leg rests come up, which also means it’s not that useful when it isn’t in reclined mode.


So what to do?  Don’t stress – we have had a look at some alternative ways to keep that G&T close at hand, meaning that you can press that button, recline and enjoy.

How To Place A Coffee Table With A Reclining Sofa

Placing a coffee table with a reclining sofa takes a bit of thinking about if you want to ensure it is still functional, but looks good. For example, this table below has been placed at an angle allowing for the reclining area to be easily accessible.


Whilst it is close enough to lean forward to grab a drink or the remote control, you’re not likely going to want to get up every time you need to retrieve something. Ideally, you want a table to the side of the sofa for easy reaching that sits about 1-2 inches lower than the arm of the chair.

Rather than using a round table with this L-shaped reclining sofa, as shown in the image above, we would recommend placing a taller table by the armchair for easy access to the tabletop whilst in the reclined position.


Using a round coffee table, as this image depicts, may be easy for people who aren’t using the reclining seats but it makes the table even more inaccessible for those who are, as it doesn’t slot into the space easily.

1. Coffee Table On Wheels

If you still like the idea of having a coffee table in the centre of the room, perhaps for guests that won’t be using the recline function, why not try one that is on wheels?


Take a look at this walnut finished MDF table on castors.  A versatile table that can be moved to any convenient position for where you wish to sit.  If only one section is reclined, it can slide in right next to you so that glass of fizz is only an arm reach away.



2. Lift-Table Coffee Table

A large, rectangular-shaped coffee table works well with an L-shaped reclining sofa, as shown above. Once again, however, it’s not within easy reach once you’re laying back. Consider a coffee table that has a lift top function.


We love the Amethy Coffee Table from Wayfair, $147.99. Not only does it have a liftable tabletop that will make objects easier to grab when you are reclined but it comes with the added bonus of hidden storage, too!



3. Three-Seater Recliner (Middle Space Square Coffee Table)

 If you have a three seater recliner, you may find you often have the 2 outer seats reclined.  Making the space in between perfect for a small square coffee table like this simple design from Overstock.  Made with a  solid wood top, the shelf below allows for extra space for magazines or chocolates leaving the top free for cups or glasses.



4. Best Overall Coffee Table for Reclining Sofa

A portable and versatile clip-on table is perfect for your recliner sofa.  It can be placed anywhere along either of the arms so you can reach your snack without having to get up.  


This stylish wood table, not only looks good, it features a non-slip surface so you won’t have any difficult red wine spillages to deal with either.



5. Built-in Table

Depending what you want to use your coffee table for, one option is to have your “coffee table” built in.  This 3 seater reclining sofa from Overstock has 2 separate sections where you can place your coffee mugs close at hand.  There is also lidded storage for housing your remote controls, keys and phone chargers.  A neat solution all-round.



6. Ottoman tray

Make your sofa into a coffee table by using an ottoman tray placed on the un-reclined seat.  With plenty of room to hold your bits and bobs you can have all the benefits of a coffee table without the need for bulky furniture.  It looks great and you can change your theme easily and cost effectively.



Side Tables For Recliners

7. Standard side table

This neat, space saving, solid oak table designed by John Weaver is perfect for sitting next to your reclining sofa.  Its simple clean lines will look great in any home decor and is a versatile table that can also be used in front of your sofa as well.



8. Over-arm side table

This super-stylish over arm table from MADE will sit neatly next to your reclining sofa in both upright and reclined modes.  You can use it over the arm if you want to eat your takeaway in front of your favourite show or dare we say – work from home.  Made from powder coated iron, it is built to last.



9. Over Arm Table With Wheels

Constructed from metal and wood, this robust table comes on wheels making it easy to maneuver where you wish, perfect for use with a reclining sofa. Have it alongside when reclined or in front when upright, its industrial design looks great with modern decor as well as more traditional.



10. Coffee Table for Reclining Sectional

coffee table in front of sofa
square coffee table

If you have a reclining sectional sofa, you may still wish to have a coffee table in front of the sofa, as this can be accessed by people not using the reclining seats. 


A square coffee table works well with sectional sofas as it utilises the space better.


To make the reclining section more functional, why not add a sideboard to the side of your sofa? Although this may break the rule of coffee tables needing to be 1-2 inches lower, as this technically isn’t a coffee table, it’s a rule you can disregard somewhat. 


A sideboard offers great storage potential, and with a coaster in situ on the top, you’ll have plenty of space to keep a drink and pop your book down in the evenings. 


You could also use a console table if you feel that sideboard is too large and overwhelming for the space you have. We like this one from Overstock, $176.99, made from a durable wood and metal combo, it also comes in a wide range of colours to suit all décor styles. The height and surface area on top are perfect for those looking to place items to one side whilst kicking back on the sofa.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you use a coffee table with a reclining sofa?

Yes, but for it to be of practical use it needs to be close at hand yet not get in the way of the reclining mechanism.  Side tables, portable tables, built in tables and trays are all good designs that work well when your sofa is reclined or upright.

How Far Should A Coffee Table Be From A Reclining Sofa?

If placed in front of a reclining sofa, your coffee table should be at least 20 inches away to allow for the foot rest when reclined.  Coffee tables look best if 1 to 2 inches lower than the height of your sofa seat.

Where Should A Recliner Sofa Be Placed?

A recliner needs a lot of room, so they are not always easy to place in a smaller room.  Unlike a reclining chair which is best placed in front of where two walls meet, a sofa should be fairly central and have a focal point-such as a fireplace or TV.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Recliner Sofa?

Compared to a standard sofa there are some disadvantages of having a reclining one.

  • You need enough space to allow them to recline.
  • They can be heavy.
  • The choice of design is limited
  • The mechanism may go wrong
  • The remote control can often slip through the gap

Are Recliner Sofas Outdated?

Recliner sofas have a bad reputation but they are still very popular.  

Our love of binge watching Netflix has demanded more comfort from our traditional couch.  Modern designs are getting better and lots of homes are now housing the smart sectional which has the best of both worlds.

Before You Go

If this has given you some ideas about how you can still use a coffee table with your reclining sofa you might want to lie back and think about how to choose and style the perfect one for your home decor scheme.  Happy hunting.

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