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Using an Ottoman as a Coffee Table

Ottomans offer an alternative to the traditional coffee table. Instead of a hard table, you'll have a plush piece of furniture in the center of the room. If your furniture set comes with an ottoman, you'll have a matching table that serves as the centerpiece for your seating. An ottoman could also complement your furniture or offer a stark contrast to your seating. Dust off your ottoman, and learn how to repurpose this once-outdated piece of furniture.

Why Use an Ottoman as a Coffee Table?

Since an ottoman acts as a smaller piece of furniture that resembles a seat with no arms or back, you could use your ottoman as extra seating, but many people use their ottomans as footrests. Like the rest of your furniture, ottomans come in a wide range of colors, sizes and textures; square ottomans are common, but they can also be round or rectangular – perfect for placing in front of a sofa! If you don't need a footrest, you could replace your coffee table or end table with an ottoman.

How Do You Replace Your Table With an Ottoman?

Ottomans are usually smaller than full-size coffee tables. If you replace your table, you might have to rearrange your seating area to make it closer to the ottoman. At the same time, your ottoman could provide more space, if your seating area is too cramped. Measure the area first to ensure that you'll have the right amount of space.
Once you've done that, find an ottoman that matches the rest of your furniture. Your couch might be part of a collection that includes an ottoman. If not, bring home fabric swatches to see how they match up to the rest of your seating. You could choose a similar color or design or go with a strong contrast to liven up your seating area.
After you've brought home your ottoman or hauled it out of the closet, you can use it just like a regular table. Add vases or stacks of books, bring out trays of food or cover the ottoman with a spare blanket. You could even put your feet up, if you're not worried about the furniture getting dirty.

What About Storage Ottomans?

A storage ottoman adds an extra layer of convenience to your seating area. If you have a storage ottoman, simply lift the lid to store books, magazines, blankets, trays, glasses and trinkets. When you close the lid, the ottoman has a seamless appearance like a regular piece of furniture. Storage ottomans are great for those days when you have last-minute guests and need to get everything out of sight.

How Do You Choose the Right Ottoman?

Many ottomans have plush surfaces that make it impossible to hold trays or decorations. You could decorate this ottoman with blankets or pillows, but it's not suitable for books, vases or glasses of wine.
Other ottomans have hard, flat surfaces that support anything that you place on the top. These ottomans are typically marketed as replacements for coffee tables. Test out the surface before you place anything that might spill on your ottoman.

What Are the Best Objects to Display on an Ottoman?

Books and magazines look great on ottomans. They're also more likely to stay in place, even if you have a plush ottoman. If your ottoman is a little unsteady, place a tray on top to give your decorations a flat surface. Wicker baskets add a rustic look to your furniture and provide a flat surface area. You can also display wooden signs, pillows, plants in vases, stuffed animals, clay pots and sculptures. With these tips in mind, you can replace the plain coffee table in your living room with a unique fabric ottoman.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.