Coffee Table vs Ottoman – What to Get for Your Home

Picture it: you just moved into your new apartment and look at the living room with excitement thinking of the great decor you’ll do. Of all the important choices you have to make, you come down to deciding between a coffee table and an ottoman — a vital decision, but how do you choose the right one?

When it comes to coffee tables and ottomans, what it’s really all about is functionality and style. Both furniture pieces have their own unique characteristics and a clear set of advantages. But the final decision will depend on your personal lifestyle and design aesthetic.

Functionality and Use

A coffee table is, geometrically and functionally, a focal point in the living room. It’s a handy place to set down drinks, snacks, and other fun little living room accessories. A coffee table is useful especially if the surface is flat, providing stability to your items.

What’s more, a coffee table comes in a wide variety of designs and materials, making it adaptable to suit your living room aesthetic: modern, minimalist, industrial, bohemian, shabby-chic, you name it.

An ottoman has a more interesting, functional approach. Typically, an ottoman is a cushioned seat or top with no arms or back. But, it is versatile enough to be a footrest, extra seating, and with on-trend options, a soft surface to place a tray of items for a quintessential multi-functional living room piece.

Available in several silhouettes and sizes, ottomans are adaptable to any kind of living seating area. Ottomans can even be used as seating on their own. Some of them have storage capabilities inside, which makes them an awesome storage option, right?

Style and Aesthetics

Choose something that suits your space. Placing a coffee table in your living room will undoubtedly give your space a dominant mood. A wooden coffee table for traditional vibes, something round for adding curves to your sharp-angled urban sleek living room, and so on. You can choose from the myriad of options to match the aesthetic of the surrounding space.

However, by opting for a coffee table, you risk the chance of your space looking too clunky, linear, or superficial. Meanwhile, an ottoman can throw a bit of a curveball into an otherwise linear or rigid space quickly. It adds a touch of depth, color, and even texture.

Practical Considerations

Think about how you use your living room on a daily basis. Do you often have guests over and need a place to set down drinks or snacks? Do you host regular game nights?

Whatever the case may be, you probably need a place to set down your coffee—not to mention propping your feet up when it’s finally time to relax.


For carefree relaxation, an ottoman is the better choice for your living room. The soft fabric is perfect for resting tired feet and for adding some cozy comfort. Your favorite people (and pets) will enjoy leaning on it during game night. Plus, its rounded shape is ideal for when kids are around.

Space and Layout

The space in your living room will dictate your decision between a coffee table vs. an ottoman.

Considering coffee tables are sturdier, they tend to take up more space, and you need to consider the size of the furniture around it, as well as the area you need to walk around it. But if the room is big and you need to fill the space, a coffee table can be a great option.

On the other hand, an ottoman can be a great choice when space is at a premium. Because of its softer look and feel, you can pair it with items such as tables and rocking chairs without making the space feel stuffed. When you need to open up the space for activities that don’t need a footstool – such as yoga – push it against the wall.

Personal Preference

In the debate of coffee table vs. ottoman, the answer really comes down to preference. Do you love the sturdiness and clean look of the wood and glass table? Or do you long to put up your feet without a care in the world and enjoy the feel of the soft fabric? You do you. But what if you want both? That’s the latest trend in furniture.

Investing in a Coffee Table, Ottoman, or Both?

Your choice depends on what suits you, your living space, and your living style. Coffee tables are the epitome of a timeless. Yet, they are essential for functional living rooms, perfect for displaying things and entertaining guests.

Ottomans represent style with extra cushion; their multifunctionality is ideal for lounging and also as extra seating for your guests. Depending on what you feel suits you best, make your decision.


Sometimes people don’t want to choose and just go for both as they both offer their individual advantages. Brands, like Serena and Lily, offer a wide range of some of the best luxurious coffee tables and ottomans. This brand blends quality, incredible craftsmanship, and style to their furniture pieces making them the perfect place to start your search.