Ottoman vs Coffee Table: How to Choose Correctly

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ottoman vs coffee table

Ah, yes, the eternal struggle of the ottoman vs coffee table. The living room has a special place in the hearts of family members as they spend time with each other in this particular space of the house. Besides, you serve your guests in this space as well.

So, it is no surprise that people will pay more attention to decorating this area than any other room. Some prefer coziness, while some prefer formal settings. So, the debate over the ottoman vs coffee table will surely come up in the discussion when you want to buy furniture for your living room.

If you can't decide between a coffee table and an ottoman, we've got the lowdown on both of these amazing pieces of living room furniture to help you decide. So let's dive into the article.

What is a Coffee Table?

we all love eating and drinking while watching tv; therefore, we ask whether coffee table or ottoman to use

The coffee table is a conventional piece of furniture that stays in the living room. These low-height types of tables serve several functions and are frequently placed in front of the center sofa set.

It is an adaptable piece that serves the purpose of storage for books and periodicals, or you can keep snacks and drinks. Coffee table books are meant to be more visual, meaning you'd look at the pictures more than you'd read long text.

A coffee table is not suitable for dining. However, if you can adorn it with a modest seating arrangement, you may also serve meals. In that scenario, you can modify the height by sitting on a cushion on the floor if needed.


When you need a table to fit your style and nail the decor, the first thing that you should understand is the material. Wood is the most common material that a coffee table is made of. When it comes to the coffee table vs ottoman debate, both may have some wood but the ottoman will have a soft top surface, making it difficult to set drinks on without a tray of some sort.

Besides, the use of glass, metal, and acrylic is widely seen in the making of modern designs. The material can be solid wood, all glass, all metal, or a mix of glass and metal. There are a lot of kinds up there, and you can even use an old trunk as a coffee table. It's just all about how you imagine your coffee table to be.


Depending on the use of the coffee table, you can color it as you want. A traditional wooden coffee table will usually have shades of brown and black. There are some wooden tables that we see in white as well.

Metal coffee tables come with a marble or glass top. The color of the metal and the marble top have so many different variations. And acrylic coffee tables come completely transparent and don't require any painting. You'll need to know how to remove scratches from your glass table eventually, though.


The size of a coffee table is also vital for making a living area look unified. The size of the table varies depending on the size of the sofa. Knowing how much space in front of the sofa is available is required to determine the appropriate size of the coffee table. In the decision of ottoman vs coffee table, the ottoman loses here in many cases.

Besides, the distance between the coffee table and the seating arrangement should be between 12 and 18 inches for comfort and efficient usage.. If the room is too small, the twelve-inch works fine. And for a larger space, the recommended distance is eighteen inches.

What is an Ottoman?

it might be a good choice to use ottomans as coffee tables

Ottoman is an upholstered piece of furniture with a pillowy surface that doesn't have any arm or back. Some ottomans are hollow from the inside, which you can use as storage. Some people will think of these as a coffee table with a footrest, but this is inaccurate.

The top is covered with a lid that may have hinges attached to one corner of the ottoman. Some ottomans have an open lid as well. As an upholstered item, some confused it with a footrest. But the shape and size are different from the footrest.

It can be used as a part of the seating arrangement, or if you put a tray in the middle, it can serve as one of the best coffee table alternatives. As the ottoman or coffee table question goes, the ottoman really works best with a tray to place on top when used as a table.


The structure of an ottoman is constructed with wood, and the whole body is upholstered with soft fabric, which is what creates the trouble of using ottomans as coffee tables.. The fabric can be linen, silk, or even leather. When making an ottoman, the first thing that gets the most priority is the strong structure and comfortable seating.


As the outer layer is covered with the same types of upholstery fabric as the couch, the color will be the same as the sofa. To make the ottoman sync with the living space, either a similar color pattern or a complete contrast is recommended.


As a low seater, the ottoman comes in different sizes and shapes. It can be cubical, rectangular, or oval. The height of the ottoman should match the sofa and have matching furniture leg styles. And as a centerpiece, the standard size of an ottoman is 26 inches to 40 inches (in width).

But for a small space, a mini ottoman can be a great substitute. The size of the mini ottoman is under 18 inches. For a bigger living space, an ottoman over 40 inches in width is ideal. You can adjust the length according to the requirement.

What is the Difference Between a Coffee Table & an Ottoman?

there are some differences between coffee table vs ottoman

Though there are differences between the ottoman vs cofee table, they both have many similarities as well, espeically in terms of their purposes. Yet the anomalies are many.

A coffee table can store books and magazines on the top, whereas a hollow ottoman can hold a bunch of heavy stuff inside. You can store toys, blankets, or even small cushions depending on the size of the ottoman.

As the ottoman is upholstered, it offers more comfort and coziness. And on the other hand, the coffee table adds structure to the ambiance and offers a more formal setting.

Besides, ottomans have much more to offer than just serving drinks and snacks. It can serve as a seating element as well. Just make sure you use a tray to create a flatter, more stable surface or you'll end up having to clean coffee out of your carpet.

Because of the fabric of the ottoman, it may get dirty more often, and accidental spills can cost you a lot. But with the coffee table, there is no issue with cleaning because of the hard surface. You can easily wipe off the dirt from it.

Using an Ottoman Instead of a Coffee Table

you can use ottoman instead of a coffee table

For individuals who value comfort and storage, using an ottoman instead of a coffee table is an option. However, keep in mind that it will not perform all the functions of a coffee table vs ottoman.

You can choose an ottoman over the coffee table when you don't have enough storage at home and need extra seating for a large gathering. But before buying any of them, you should know their functions along with your requirements.

Is it OK to Have an Ottoman & a Coffee Table in the Same Space?

you can use ottoman & coffee table in the same space and stop having a hard time thinking whether to use ottoman or coffee table

If you need both products and can accumulate them in your living space, then why not have those both in the living room? It's a great way to make your living room cozy. But before you make the final decision, make sure that placing them together will not look like a mess in your space.

Having an ottoman and a coffee table together in a living space is ideal if there are no issues with space. Follow a certain layout of the living room and place them in a way so that they can both serve their purposes without struggling.

How to Pick the Right One?

if you are struggling to decide on ottoman vs coffee table, try to pick the one that you feel comfortable with

It's difficult to select between two distinct components that are also functional. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the coffee table or ottoman. Every house reflects the beholder's individuality. So you can play around with the objects in your living space and make them look however you want.

That's why you should choose the one that makes your home stand out while also providing your requirements. Whether you prefer modern or traditional, as long as you are comfortable, the layout will also appeal to others. But if you have the space and want both, there's no harm!

Ottoman vs Coffee Table: The Choice is Yours

If you are into DIY, you can turn your coffee table into an ottoman at home. So, there is no winner or loser in this battle. Depending on your preferences and requirements, you can choose your personal favorite and add it to your living space.

There is a fine line between priorities and needs. While struggling with the ottoman vs coffee table battle, turn the need into your preference. Now that you know the similarities and differences between these two items, you can decide without any hesitation.

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