Ottoman VS Coffee Table – What Are The Differences?

Ottoman VS Coffee Table

An ottoman and a coffee table differ from each other; however, they both have similar functions. For instance, both pieces of furniture can be used as a table and a decoration. Because of these similarities, these pieces are sought by a lot of homeowners. Unfortunately, not all homeowners have the luxury to buy both products. As such, they only have to pick one that is better than the other. So, which is better, an ottoman or a coffee table?

Basic Terminologies

Coffee Table

Coffee Table

A coffee table is a versatile piece of furniture. Most coffee tables have a storage area where you can place your magazines, books, and remotes. Compared to a regular table, this piece of furniture is a bit smaller. Generally, you can’t eat on a coffee table unless you’re sitting on the floor.

Generally, coffee tables are made with wood; however, there are various styles available on the market. As such, you’ll be able to pick a design that will match the theme of your home.

A coffee table is a great addition to homes with enough space. Although you can buy them in various sizes, most coffee tables are still large. So, if you need a table with a storage area underneath for your books and magazine, then a coffee table is a great option.


  • Coffee tables are made with hard materials. For this reason, you can easily clean them. For example, if you spill something on it, you can simply wipe the liquid without damaging it.
  • As mentioned, coffee tables come in various sizes. As such, you can pick a size that will complement your living room instead of overwhelming the room.
  • A coffee table has a hard surface, allowing you to place food and drinks.
  • Most coffee tables are made with high-quality materials; thus, they can last for a long time.
  • If you want to break up an angular space, you can place a round or oval-shaped coffee table. It can make the edges of your room appear softer, which pleasing to the eyes.


  • Coffee tables are heavy. As such, pulling them across the floor may result in scratches.
  • Coffee tables have a storage area; however, most of them are not hidden. Anything you place on the storage space will be visible.
  • Some coffee tables have glass surfaces. This can be a disadvantage because glasses are prone to water rings, which may negatively affect their overall appearance. Aside from that, if there are any water rings, you need to sand down the glass and refinish it to restore its beauty.
  • Coffee tables have sharp edges that may cause bruising or small wounds if you accidentally bump the table.



An ottoman is an upholstered piece of furniture that is low to the ground. It has no back or arms, but you can still sit on it. Typically, this piece of furniture is part of a set with matching chairs.

For its functions, an ottoman is often used as a footrest. Additionally, if you place a sturdy tray on top of it, you can also use it as a table. This type of furniture also has a storage space inside of it wherein you can place books and toys that you don’t want your guests to see. Lastly, it can also be used as a chair.

An ottoman is a great option if you want a footstool that will match your chair. Aside from that, you can also opt for this piece of furniture if you want cohesion in your living room. Plus, you can use them in various ways, making them excellent furniture for small homes.


  • Ottomans are available in various styles; thus, you’ll be able to find a design that will match your room’s theme. Aside from that, you can also change the color of its fabric if it doesn’t match the design of your room.
  • Because an ottoman has a hidden storage space, you can easily hide the things you don’t want your guests to see.
  • Ottomans are soft, so you won’t have bruises or an injury if you accidentally run into them.
  • Ottomans can also be used as a chair, so you don’t have to worry about extra seatings if you have a lot of guests.
  • Ottomans can enhance the appearance of your room. For example, a leather ottoman can add a touch of elegance and luxury to any room.


  • The upholstery of an ottoman is prone to wear and tear, especially when used a lot. As such, it needs reupholstering from time to time.
  • If you spill some drinks on an ottoman, you won’t be able to clean it easily, especially the stains.
  • An ottoman can be hard to move, especially if its storage space has a lot of things.


As presented above, a coffee table and an ottoman have several functions. Both pieces of furniture have a storage space, and they are great accent pieces.

In terms of functionality, an ottoman has more functions than a coffee table. To be specific, it can also be used as a chair. Additionally, you can also use it as a table if you place a hard surface on top of it. Lastly, an ottoman can fit in any room. You can also place it in your den or bedroom if you don’t like it in your living room.

Overall, an ottoman can offer more functions. However, if you entertain guests frequently, a coffee table is an ideal choice because you can place foods and drink on the surface of a coffee table.


If you’re looking for a piece of furniture that can provide comfort, an ottoman is a perfect choice. As mentioned, this furniture is soft, and it allows you to comfortably rest your feet while you relax on your chair. You can also rest your feet on a coffee table; however, its sharp edges can be uncomfortable.

Aesthetic Value

An ottoman can make any room look cozy and comfortable. Aside from that, it can also add softness to your living room, especially if the room contains a lot of formal pieces or hard materials.

Because an ottoman delivers a comfortable vibe, it is a piece of great furniture for rooms meant for relaxation. However, some designs can enhance the overall appearance of your room. For example, velvet and leather ottomans can bring class and sophistication to your living room. Additionally, this furniture is upholstered. As such, you can change its fabric to match the overall theme of your room. You can even pick a fabric with patterns if you want to add a touch of personality to the room.

As for coffee tables, they are also aesthetically appealing. In fact, they can open up space and make the room look spacious. However, coffee tables are formal pieces, and they don’t provide a comfortable vibe. As such, they will fit well in a formal setting. Lastly, this type of furniture comes in various styles, so you can definitely pick a design that will complement your room.

Cleaning and Maintenance

In terms of maintenance, a coffee table is a clear winner. One reason is due to its sturdy nature, which makes it last for a long time. Plus, if you spill your drinks on top of a coffee table, you can easily wipe the liquid without damaging the table. Keep in mind that some coffee tables, specifically those with glass surfaces, can develop water rings. If this happens, you need to sand down the glass surface and refinish it to restore its beauty.

As for an ottoman, it will quickly show some signs of wear and tear because it is upholstered. For this reason, it requires regular reupholstering to maintain its beauty. Aside from that, ottomans are hard to clean. If you spill your drink on it, you may have a hard time removing the stain.

Final Verdict

As you can see, both pieces of furniture have their advantages and disadvantages. As such, there is no clear winner when it comes to the battle between a coffee table and an ottoman.

If you’re having a hard time picking which furniture to buy, you need to consider your lifestyle. For instance, if you entertain guests often, a piece of low-maintenance furniture with a large surface area, like a coffee table, is an ideal choice.

Aside from that, you also need to consider the room you’re going to place the furniture. If you use the room primarily for relaxation, an ottoman is the best option because it is cozy and comfortable.

Lastly, you should also consider the overall theme of your room. If your living room is a bit formal, you can opt for a piece of furniture made with hard materials, like a coffee table. Plus, this furniture can break up angular spaces, making your room look more appealing.