Coffee Table vs. Ottoman (What’s Better For Your House?)

Last Updated on February 13, 2022 by John Moretti

Moving into your new house or apartment is such an exciting venture! A brand-new canvas to decorate and to cater to your personal taste. As exciting as this is, it is also a pretty daunting task to figure out how to use your new space efficiently.

A standard piece of furniture is a coffee table in the living room. However, most people do not explore an ottoman as an alternative. These two have the same purpose, but both have pros and cons!

A coffee table is a small, low table usually placed in the living room as a stand for drinks, magazines, or other miscellaneous items. The table is typically rectangular or round. An ottoman serves the same purpose, but it can also be used as a footrest or as seating because it is upholstered.

These are the most apparent differences between the two, but they come in different designs, serving additional purposes. We are all looking for something different from our coffee table or ottoman; therefore, you should do your due diligence before making a purchase!

Coffee Table Vs. Ottoman

Characteristics Of A Coffee Table 

A coffee table is a classic piece of furniture that can be found in most households. The small table can be a simple one made of varnished wood, or you can find fancier ones with glass tops and steel legs. This type of table is not intended to pull up a chair and eat around it because they are only a few feet off the ground. 

Some of these tables are designed with a bottom “shelf” under the table. This will provide extra storage space for books, documents, and remote controls without crowding the tabletop.

Having a coffee table can be an excellent way to prevent random clutter on other pieces of furniture and to make the room homier. The table can be a space to store any magazines and newspapers from the week, decorative ornaments, potpourri, and most importantly, it is convenient for placing the coffee and other beverages when sitting in the living room. 

What are The Advantages of A Coffee Table?

Coffee Table
  • It is easy to clean stains from the surface. Since the table is made from hard material, you can just wipe away stains with a dry or damp cloth without causing any damage.
  • They come in a variety of sizes, meaning you can choose one that will fit well in your living room without taking up too much space.
  • A coffee table is ideal if you are worried about drinks and games being knocked over because they are very sturdy. This is a good idea if you have friends or children in the space with snacks or board games on the table.
  • A coffee table is a very formal addition to a room, and by choosing an oval table, you can make the edges of an angular space much softer.
  • Wooden tables can be painted or stained in different colors to match the aesthetic of the rest of the room. 

What are The Disadvantages of A Coffee Table?

Coffee Table Cons
  • Because they are so hard and sturdy, you will definitely get hurt if you accidentally run into it or stub your toe!
  • Coffee tables can leave marks and scratches on your floor from dragging and moving them. This could be a problem if you have tiles.
  • The storage provided by coffee tables is in plain sight. This means that your guests will still be able to see the magazines/documents that you have put away.
  • If you do not use a coaster with your beverage, it will leave a water ring behind. This is an ugly stain and expensive to fix because you have to sand the whole table to restore it to good condition.
  • You cannot prop your feet on this table if you also use it for serving food. That is unsanitary and could result in snacks and drinks being spilled.

Characteristics of An Ottoman 


An ottoman can usually be purchased as part of the couch package. It is essentially a low couch or upholstered stool with no back or arms. The ottoman is padded all over its surface with an elegant pattern that can easily fit into your living room. 

This piece of furniture is incredibly versatile and can be used as a footstool, coffee table, or an extra seat. It is ideal for a relaxed area and easy to move so that you can make the most of its multiple purposes. 

Most ottomans come with storage space under the lid. This space is large and can be used to store blankets or games – any items that would be handy for the living room.

The ottoman is comfortable and sturdy enough to be used as a coffee table by placing a tray on it. This is very handy because it means the “table” can be moved to wherever the person with the drink will be sitting. 

What Are The Advantages of An Ottoman?

  • Ottomans will easily fit into your living space without clashing with your aesthetic. This is because there are so many different styles available to choose from.
  • The concealed storage space is the biggest benefit of the ottoman. This means that you can store your miscellaneous goods without worrying that guests will see the mess. This compartment also means that you can easily reach for your stored blankets and games. 
  • Due to their comfortable padding, ottomans are much softer than coffee tables, and this means that you will not bruise yourself if you run into it. 
  • It is a bonus seat in your living room instead of running out to find an extra chair for a guest to sit on.
  • Ottomans come in different styles, and this means you can change the vibe of the room. They range from plush and comfortable to sturdy and practical, and even leather and classy. 

What are An Ottoman Disadvantages?

Ottoman cons
  • If you want to benefit the most from an ottoman, you have to invest in a large one. This is not ideal if you only have a small space to work with.
  • Depending on the type of upholstery used, it will age fairly quickly from constant use. It will be an additional cost to have it reupholstered. 
  • It is much harder to clean up spills on an ottoman, and you risk leaving stains behind.
  • The ottoman can become quite heavy to move if you fill the storage space to capacity.
  • A tray balanced on top of the ottoman is not very sturdy and can be knocked over very easily. 


Both these pieces of furniture would add some personality to a bland room and come with some practical benefits. Choosing between the two will be different for everyone based on what they need the furniture for and the aesthetic in the room.

Look at the space in your living room and think about what would enhance the space and benefit you the most in the long run.