Coffee Tables and End Tables: Placement _ The end table should be placed right up beside the arm of the chair. Not directly in contact, because any subsequent movement of then chair could easily shake the table and spill the contents of any container. Coffee tables should be placed 18" from the sofa, enough room to enable you to walk between the two items of furniture, but not so far as to place your cup out of each. Some have been known to use these tables as accent pieces, and place them away from the proximity of sofas and chairs. Quite frankly, there is little point in doing this because these tables have been designed for a specific purpose. If you want accent tables, there are many of them available to choose from online that look more of an accent piece than regular coffee and end tables.
Scaling your coffee table _ Scale is an important consideration these days, as larger living room furniture can dwarf older tables. When looking at coffee tables you want to look for one that won't look lost in the room, overshadowed by other furnishings. Conversely, you don't want one that takes over the room either. As you measure your room and furnishings, remember that the coffee table will be about 18" away from your sofa, love seats and chairs. It needs room to breathe and it needs room for you and your guests to move around it without it getting in the way. Most tables are 16" to 18" high, but some contemporary designs can be lower, so you want to factor that in if shopping for a modern style. Ideally, your table should be one to two inches lower than the height of the seat of your furniture. As far as length, it should be about two_thirds the length of your sofa. If you have an 8' sofa, for instance, your coffee table should be a little more than 5' in length. These are just general rules, however, as the exact scale is also determined by the size of the room and the location of the furniture.