Should You Get a Coffee Table or an Ottoman? - Home & Texture
Decorate Coffee Tables vs. Ottomans

Should You Get a Coffee Table or an Ottoman?

These are the pros and cons of both.

January 20, 2024 at 8:08 AM PST
Decorate Coffee Tables vs. Ottomans

Should You Get a Coffee Table or an Ottoman?

These are the pros and cons of both.

January 20, 2024 at 8:08 AM PST

Having a sofa in your living room is as essential as you can get. Then, you’re faced with a choice—do you add a coffee table or an ottoman? If you have the space for both, then you have your answer. But, if you only have room for one, how do you decide? Weigh the pros and cons of each.

Photo credit: Collov Home Design

Coffee Tables: The Classic Choice

Coffee tables are home staples, and it’s easy to see why.

Space Efficiency

When it comes to small living spaces, every square inch counts. Coffee tables come in many sizes, making it easier to find one that fits snugly in your limited space. Make sure to choose a compact design to maximize the room available for other furnishings.


These tables offer a flat, stable surface that is ideal for placing beverages, snacks, or even decorative items. They provide a convenient spot to keep your essentials within arm’s reach. Whether it’s your morning coffee, a book you’re reading, or a vase of fresh flowers, a coffee table keeps everything easily accessible.

Aesthetic Appeal

Because the sky’s the limit with the styles and materials of coffee tables, you won’t have trouble finding one to fit with your current decor. One with a sleek glass top adds shine and is also easy to clean. A rustic wood finish can warm up and ground a room.

Storage Options

Many modern coffee tables come with built-in storage compartments, such as shelves or drawers. This added storage space can be a lifesaver for small living areas. You can keep magazines, remote controls, or other items neatly tucked away, reducing clutter in your space.


Coffee tables can also double as dining tables or desks. Some designs even have a pull-out addition to sit comfortably as you work or eat.

The Cons of Coffee Tables

While coffee tables offer numerous benefits, they do have their drawbacks.

Limited Comfort

Traditional coffee tables may not be the most comfortable choice for kicking back and putting your feet up. They are designed primarily for functionality, and sitting on them for extended periods may not be as comfortable or ideal as lounging on an ottoman.

Occupies Floor Space

Even compact coffee tables take up some floor space, which might not be ideal for ultra-tight quarters. If space is at an absolute premium, you may need to consider an ottoman.

Beige seating area with ottoman
Photo Credit: Can Acer

Ottomans: The Multifunctional Alternative

Ottomans have gained popularity as a versatile alternative to coffee tables. Here’s why they might be the right pick for your small living space.

Dual Purpose

Ottomans can serve as both a small coffee table, additional seating, and a comfortable footrest. This dual functionality can be great in small living rooms. You can place a tray on top to create a stable surface for your drinks and snacks, and when you want to put your feet up and relax, they offer the perfect spot.


Many ottomans come with built-in storage, providing a discreet solution for stashing away items like remote controls, magazines, or blankets. This feature can help you keep your small living space organized and clutter-free.


If you have little ones, ottomans with soft edges are less of a hazard. No sharp corners mean fewer worries about those who are accident-prone, too.


These pieces are usually lightweight and easy to move around, so you can reconfigure your living space effortlessly. Whether you need extra seating for guests or want to create a cozy reading nook, ottomans can adapt to your changing needs.

The Drawbacks of Ottomans

While ottomans offer versatility, they may not be the perfect choice for everyone.

Limited Surface

Ottomans typically have a smaller surface area compared to coffee tables, which could be a drawback if you need ample space for drinks and snacks during gatherings or movie nights.


Depending on the material and construction, ottomans might be less durable than sturdy coffee tables. If you expect heavy use and want a long-lasting piece of furniture, you’ll need to carefully consider the quality of the ottoman you choose.


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