Jan 12, 2024

Coffee Table or Ottoman: A Guide to Choosing the Right One for Your Home

Home Homebodies


Your living room is where all the fun happens – it's a hangout spot, a place for games with friends, and where family time unfolds. In this cozy hub, two pieces of furniture really make their mark: the coffee table and the ottoman. A coffee table serves as your handy spot for setting down drinks, piling up books, or keeping the TV remote within easy reach while you unwind. The ottoman, on the other hand, is your living room's handy tool. It's not only for propping up your feet; it can be a seat for guests or even a dinner spot for those casual movie nights. Choosing between the two can make a big difference in how your room functions. This guide will help you figure out whether a coffee table or an ottoman fits your space best, so you can kick back in style and comfort.

Why Are Coffee Tables So Popular?

Coffee tables are really handy and popular because they're right there when you need to set something down, like a cup or the TV remote. They come in many different styles that can match how your living room looks. You can pick from shapes like rectangles that go great with most couches, circles that give you more room to move around, or even fun shapes like ovals. They're made from all sorts of stuff—glass ones let you show off your rugs, but wood or metal ones are tough and can handle everyday knocks. If you want your place to feel cozy, try one with old-looking wood, or if you like things looking sharp and clean, maybe go for a glass or marble one. Just make sure to measure your space so you get one that fits well with your couch—not too big, not too small, just right.

Let's take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages to see what works best for you:


  • Flat top for your snacks, drinks, and showing off some decorations.
  • Keeps things neat by holding books and remotes.
  • Some have hidden spots to stash stuff away.
  • Sizes that work whether your room is cozy or huge.
  • Styles for every look, from rustic farmhouses to slick city apartments.


  • Big tables could cramp a small room.
  • Glass tops show every single fingerprint and smudge.
  • Sharp corners might be a danger to toddlers or pets.
  • Glass can get scratched or break if you’re not careful.

What Makes Ottomans So Practical?

Ottomans are like a magic box for your living room – they're comfy spots to rest your feet that can also turn into tables or extra seats in a pinch. They're lightweight and simple to move, so you can rearrange them for any situation, whether it's to put your feet up or give someone a seat. Safe for kids because they're all soft edges, these ottomans can jazz up your room with their cozy materials, like plush velvet. Some even have smart attachments that let them become a cozy lounge chair, giving you a bunch of furniture uses from one item. They sit at just the right height to match your couch, making them perfect footrests, but the larger ones are handy as temporary tables during parties. 

However, while ottomans have plenty to offer, there are some trade-offs to consider:


  • They can give your guests a place to sit, especially if your room is on the cozier side.
  • Soft and comfy to put your feet up and unwind.
  • Super easy to move around for a quick change-up in your seating plan.
  • Multipurpose – can be a table, stool, bench, or storage box.
  • With some add-ons, they can turn into a part of a couch or a comfy chair.
  • Takes up less room than a big coffee table.
  • Safer for kids since there are no sharp edges.


  • Their tops aren't as flat and wide as coffee tables, which might not work as well if you use your table a lot.
  • Not much space for showing off decorative pieces.
  • They don't offer as much hidden storage space inside compared to some coffee tables.
  • There's not a ton of room on top to hold lots of drinks or dishes at once.

Deciding Between a Coffee Table and an Ottoman

When you're trying to figure out whether a coffee table or an ottoman is right for your space, think about the following:

  • Room Size: Check out how much space you have. Ottomans are perfect if you're short on room since they can be both a seat and a mini-table. Coffee tables are better when you’ve got more space to fill.
  • How Often You Host: Do you have friends over a lot? Coffee tables are great for setting down snacks and drinks. But if you need more cozy spots for guests to sit, an ottoman might be better.
  • Daily Use: What do you like to do most in your living room? If you need a sturdy spot for everyday items, coffee tables are good because they’re built to last. If it's more about kicking back and relaxing, an ottoman could be your go-to.
  • Storage: Need a place to hide things away? Some ottomans open up to let you tuck away blankets or games. But, some coffee tables also come with handy shelves or drawers.
  • Style Match: Pick something that looks good with the rest of your stuff. If your place has a classic feel, maybe go for a leather ottoman. For a modern vibe, a metal or glass coffee table could look awesome.
  • Material Matters: Think about what will last longer and how much care it needs. Leather, wood, and metal are sturdy but might cost more. Glass looks cool but you'll be cleaning it a lot.
  • Flexibility: Ottomans can change from a footrest to a seat to a table, while coffee tables are always there as a solid surface. Decide if you want something that can do different things or if you’d prefer a stable spot.

To make the best choice, measure your space, think about what you’ll store, and consider how you hang out and entertain in your living room. With these tips in mind, you'll be able to pick the right piece for your home.

Coffee Table or Ottoman? Make Your Choice

When it comes down to choosing between a coffee table and an ottoman, it's all about what works for your space and how you live. Coffee tables are the go-to for a steady spot to put your everyday stuff, while ottomans are the multitaskers that can switch from a comfy footrest to extra seating or a spot to drop a tray. 

Think about how much room you've got, how often you have people over, what you need to store away, the look you're going for, and how flexible you want your furniture to be. Ottomans are great for tighter spots and making the most of small areas, whereas coffee tables are ideal when you have more to hold or more folks to entertain.

Take a moment to consider what’s most important to you, get out the tape measure, and reflect on your daily living room habits. A bit of planning will help you nail down the right choice, setting up your living area to be both chic and practical — a place where you'll love spending time.

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