Decorating behind a couch can add a layer of depth and interest to a room. But don’t limit yourself to just a standard sofa table! Here are ways to make use of some extra space with 10 beautiful ideas for what to put behind a couch.

Let’s talk about sofas! Or rather, the backs of sofas. They tend to be plain and uninteresting, which is why people often feel the need to add something behind them.

collage of four french living rooms showing ideas for what to put behind a sofa

A “floating” sofa is one that is pulled away from the wall. In those cases, the back of the sofa is exposed and well….they are often rather boring. Most often, people put a sofa table {or a console table depending on height}. This is a great option! But here are some other ideas.

1. Sofa Table

Admittedly, this seems like a no-brainer….I mean, it’s in the name! But let’s talk about some tips for choosing the right sofa table for your home.

french living room with vaulted ceiling with beams
via Interior Design Explained

What’s the difference between a sofa table and a console table? Really just the height. Console tables tend to have a standard height whereas sofa tables vary. When shopping online, though, the two are used interchangeably.

Height: When selecting a sofa table, look for one that is close to the same height as the back of your sofa but never taller.

Length: The length of your table should be no less than 1/2 of the length of your sofa to almost the same length. My personal favorite is for the sofa table to be about 3/4 the length of the sofa.

white french living room with large sofa table stacked with books and built ins by fireplace

Tip: If your sofa table is closer to 1/2 the sofa length, a great way to prevent the table from feeling like it’s too small or floating, is to flank it with chairs! Doing so visually extends the length of the table.

blue french sofa table in french living room with linen chair
via Tidbits&Twine

Other options include using large plants or baskets, again taking up more visual space.

2. Desk

A desk behind a couch is a great way to maximize space, especially with so many working from home right now. Writing desks are stylish and practical, offering space for decor but also a place to work.

For more ideas on writing desks, you can read this post: The Writing Desk – A Stylish Solution

living room with french desk behind sofa with large pink desk chair
Living room reveal via Rachel Parcell at The RP Blog

3. Buffet/Sideboard

If your living room is adjacent to your dining room, a sideboard would serve a dual purpose! But even if it doesn’t, this is a great piece of furniture that offers storage and a large visual presence.

contemporary living room with buffet behind sofa and built in shelving next to fireplace
via The Creativity Exchange

4. Bench

Benches are an ideal shape and depth for placing behind a sofa. You can use the bench for additional seating or perhaps, just for display.

I really love the look below because the wood really pops against the sofa’s white backdrop.

white living room with rustic wood bench behind white slipcovered sofa
PHOTO: Tessa Neustadt
//DESIGN: Alexander Design Build
wood bench with hairpin legs behind a sofa in modern living room
via Havenly

Tip: If you want to use the bench for seating, don’t leave it completely bare! Add a pillow or a throw or something to the top for interest.

open floorplan with upholstered bench behind sofa
via Emily Henderson

5. Seating Arrangement

If you have an open concept, you might want to consider adding a secondary seating arrangement behind your sofa. This would offer seating that can be used in place or even pulled up to the sofa for a large gather. Plus it ties two spaces together nicely!

small french table and chairs behind the sofa in a living room
Coast Living Room Makeover by The Decorologist

6. Bookcase

Open shelving to store books {or other knick-knacks} is a great way to decorate behind the sofa without looking quite as bulky as a cabinet. This is a great idea for lower sofas since many sofa tables and cabinets are too tall for low-back sofas.

low white bookcase behind a gray sofa in a contemporary living room
via DecorPad

7. Bar Cart

A bar cart is open and airy and similar to a sofa table, but with a specific purpose. If you entertain often, this is a practical solution for what to put behind a couch!

gold and glass bar cart behind a navy blue sofa in a traditional living room
Ballard Designs

8. Chest of Drawers

Looking for some extra storage? A cabinet or chest of drawers looks beautiful behind a sofa. Below, just as with a sofa table that is a bit too short for the length of the sofa, chairs are used to visually extend the size of the cabinet.

gray chest of drawers with blue and white check chairs on either side behind a sofa in a french living room
via Cedar Hill Farmhouse

9. Bar Table

A small table and chairs is great if you want a spot for watching TV while eating! One caveat: Be careful of the height. Sometimes, bar height tables are used and they loom over the back of the sofa. Just as with a sofa table, bar tables look best when they are lower than the back of the sofa, so choose a regular table height, which is between 28″-30″.

narrow dining bar table behind a sofa in an industrial living room
via Antidiler

10. Nothing

Putting nothing behind a couch is perfectly fine! In fact, in cases where space is limited or a room seems crowded, nothing is preferable. Or if your decorating style leans to minimalist, follow the less is more rule.

blue and white traditional living room with gold mirror above the fireplace
via House Beautiful

Of if the back of your sofa is beautiful all on it’s own, like Anita’s from Cedar Hill Farmhouse, feel free to skip decorating the back!

french living room with slipcovered sofa with ruffles and lace up back
via Cedar Hill Farmhouse

More Decorating Tips

I hope you found some new ideas and inspiration for decorating behind the couch!

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  1. Judy Martin says:

    Are there tables between couch and wall that both sides fit flush, one with the straight wall, and the opposite side, angled to couch back? I don’t like how the space towards the bottom looks not filled in. Basically the frame is angled on one side.

  2. I have a u shaped sectional with a chaise on one side in a room with a corner fireplace. I am wondering if I need a wall unit to fill in a big empty wall. The other wall is a wall of windows. both full sides of the sectional are exposed, one being backed to a hallway so can I put something behind both sides? Also, the windows butt up against the corner fireplace, can I put a long drape rod across the entire window span but have the drapes pushed all to one side?

  3. I put a cupboard behind my sofa that is higher than the sofa. What can I do to hide the ugliness of it.

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