Coffee Table vs. Ottoman: What’s The Difference?

Oct 23, 2021 | Design Ideas By Room, Home Design Decor

You want to buy a coffee table or an ottoman, but you’re not sure which one is better for your home.

A coffee table and an ottoman are both furniture items that can be used in the living room, bedroom or even as storage space. 

When deciding between buying a coffee table or an ottoman it all comes down to what kind of furniture piece best suits your needs. If you have lots of guests over then they’ll need somewhere to put their drinks (coffee tables), if you like having people around but don’t like them sitting on your couch then maybe consider getting an ottoman instead.

What Is A Coffee Table?

A coffee table is a piece of furniture and can be used as either a decorative or functional item in your living room. They come in all different shapes and sizes, but the most common shape for a coffee table is round, square or rectangular

Coffee tables can also vary when it comes to their height. Coffee tables may only go up to about 16 inches or could be able to reach up to 40 inches high

People often use these tables when they’re watching TV or when they want somewhere to set down their drinks during a party. This is because they need to avoid putting drinks on their sofas, chairs and love seats as this can cause the fabric and cushioning to become very wet. This will result in stains and damage to your sofa or chair

Coffee tables are also commonly used as a decorative piece of furniture in people’s living rooms. People may use these tables for placing vases with flowers on them as well as other items such as picture frames, candles, etc. When using coffee tables as a decoration piece it all comes down to what type of design or color you want to go with in your living room.

What Is An Ottoman?

An ottoman is another piece of small functional furniture that you can buy, but this one usually goes under a sofa or chair and isn’t very large. This means that it is sort of like an extension to your current furniture pieces

The ottoman is normally used for putting up your feet and then you can use the surface area on top as an additional place to rest things such as drinks or snacks, if you don’t want them on the floor. 

Ottomans do come in different shapes and sizes though so they can be made to perfectly fit around existing pieces of furniture. Some may even have storage space inside so you don’t lose all your extra bits and bobs when guests are over

Ottomans also provide a comfy addition to seating, similar to its other piece of furniture family members (couches).

Coffee Table Pros

  • Coffee tables are very versatile in their function when it comes to their use. You can have this item of furniture just to set your drinks on or even turn them into a tray that you serve dishes on when guests are over.
  • Coffee tables do provide additional storage, but it is usually limited unless you choose a large square-shaped table. They also come in all different shapes and sizes so you can get one that fits nicely with your living room décor.
  • Another pro of the coffee table is the fact they are easy to clean. Many models have an abundance of surface space, which makes cleaning up after meals super easy for all parties involved.

Coffee Table Cons

While coffee tables can be great, they can also cause a number of other problems that you’ll need to consider before making the purchase.

  • One drawback is that it takes up additional space and will take up floor area in your home, which could be used by different pieces of furniture like maybe even an ottoman.
  • Another issue with purchasing a coffee table is that they are very expensive for what they are. There are loads of options out there so if you have a tight budget then this might not be the best piece of furniture for you to buy.
  • You may want to consider an ottoman if you like to put your feet up. If you choose to go this route make sure the height of the table isn’t too high because it could lead to discomfort for those who are sitting on a chair or sofa near to it.

Ottoman Pros

An ottoman is usually considered better than a coffee table because it offers more at a lower price point. Here are some reasons why an ottoman may be the best choice for your furniture needs:

  • The ottoman has storage space, so there’s no need to worry about where you can store things anymore.
  • The surface area allows people to use it as an additional place for drinks and snacks without having to set them on the floor.
  • The ottoman is great for putting your feet up, which can be very helpful after an exhausting day or when you just want to kick back and relax.
  • An ottoman comes in all different shapes and sizes so it’s perfect for working with any existing pieces of furniture. They are also cheaper than coffee tables so if you’re on a budget this might be the best choice for you.

Ottoman Cons

These cons should not be viewed as deal-breakers when choosing between an ottoman vs. a coffee table but they are things that could affect your decision in buying one over another:

  • If you already have other pieces of furniture in your home then an ottoman will take up additional space, which could be used by something else.
  • The ottoman is not as versatile when it comes to its use or with the additional storage space (that’s kind of its function) when compared to a coffee table.
  • It takes up floor area in your home when you place it near your sofa, which can make moving around difficult.


Ottomans offer more value for money at lower prices per square foot than coffee tables, but they’re also not ideal for smaller spaces because they take up additional floor area. They also don’t provide versatility like the functionality of the coffee tables.

For this reason, coffee tables are better suited in homes that have large living areas where both pieces of furniture will really shine. Also, coffee tables are better if you have kids at home because they are harder to tip over and damage due to their weight.

Ottomans are better during the times you just want to put your feet up. If you are on a budget then consider an ottoman because it offers more value for money.

However, if you need additional storage space or versatility then coffee tables are definitely the way to go.


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