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Ottoman vs. Coffee Table: Which Is Better?

From traditional and modern styles to rustic and grunge vibes, there's no shortage of options when it comes to home decor. Of course, no matter what look you're trying to achieve, it's going to require furniture. One of the age-old debates regarding living room pieces is the coffee table versus ottoman debacle. What's the difference between these products? And which one is better suited for your home? To help you decide, here's a closer look at both furniture items.

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

Both ottomans and coffee tables serve as functional decorations that integrate seamlessly into the middle of your living room. While you can't go wrong with either choice, knowing the differences between them can help you make the right decision for your home.


You can immediately identify an ottoman by its soft, upholstered exterior. Available in square, circular and rectangular shapes, these items are both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable. Some key advantages of ottomans include:

  • Modern style
  • Versatility
  • Multi-functionality

Ottomans offer a twist on traditional furniture and are generally found in more modernized homes. As an added bonus, they can be customized to meet your precise design desires. Not only do they come in a variety of fun colors and patterns, but they also let you store items. And, thanks to the soft surface, they offer the perfect spot to sit down or put your feet on after a long day.

On the downside, ottomans cannot serve as a table. While they're great for resting, the surface is unable to support items like food or drinks — and if something spills, it can be difficult to get the stain out.

Coffee Tables

No classic home is complete without a coffee table. For years, this staple furniture item has been used to hold meals, board games, computers and anything else you might find in a typical household. The main advantages of coffee tables include:

  • Traditional style
  • High functionality
  • Simple maintenance

Most coffee tables are made of wood or glass, a style that can fit into virtually any home. It offers the functionality of a typical table while also being easy to clean and maintain. On the downside, coffee tables can be fairly simplistic — if you're looking to show off your creativity, you don't have a ton of options. And while they're great for holding items, they're not very comfortable if you need extra seating.

Can I Use An Ottoman Instead of a Coffee Table (Or Vice Versa)?

Choosing between an ottoman and a coffee table would be easier if they offered the same functionality. Unfortunately, this isn't the case — an ottoman can't serve as a traditional table, just like a coffee table can't be used as a comfortable seating option. Each piece has its own unique advantages, and it's up to you to decide which one you prefer.

Can I Put An Ottoman and Coffee Table in the Same Room?

If you really can't decide between an ottoman and a coffee table, consider getting both. As long as you have enough space in your room, there's no reason why you can't enjoy the combined convenience of a table and the comfort of an ottoman.

Which One Do I Pick?

There's no right answer when it comes to choosing between an ottoman and a coffee table. At the end of the day, it depends entirely on your own unique needs. Whether you want a traditional coffee table, a modernized ottoman or a combination of both, you can rest assured that either of these furniture pieces will improve your living room.

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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.