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Coffee Table Vs. Ottoman: Which is Better for Your Living Room?

Coffee Table Vs. Ottoman: Which is Better for Your Living Room?
Some call it the decorator's nightmare. How do you choose between an ottoman and a coffee table, when both are so functional and have immense aesthetic value? Here's our effort to make the task a little simpler.
Puja Lalwani
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2018
Tough Choice
When used as a coffee table, an ottoman can be as efficient. So the only factors to consider when choosing one over the other are your lifestyle and the functionality both offer.
They're beautiful and they impart a cozy charm like no other piece of furniture. Ottomans have been used in place of coffee tables for a long time now; yet, there are some who doubt its efficiency when compared to a coffee table.

There is no doubt that using either has its own set of pros and cons, but nothing is so grave that if you chose one over the other, you would have made the wrongest life decision. Both can work for you if you know how to bring out the most in them. Here, we give you a guide on choosing one over the other for your living room, based purely on their functionality and your lifestyle.
With Ottomans ...
You have a spot to comfortably put your feet up.
You are less prone to injury because the edges are soft.
You can have extra seating whenever necessary.
You can create a cozy environment for your room.
With Coffee Tables ...
Coffee tables
You have more options for quirky shapes.
You have an easy-to-clean furniture item.
You can create a formal environment with it.
You can use one in smaller spaces.
So, Which One Will it Be?
If you have toddlers ... Opt for an Ottoman
All of us know how we can easily knock into a coffee table, regardless of our age. So, ottomans are definitely safer for toddlers and kids. They can play safely around them with lesser chances of injury.
If you entertain a lot ... Opt for a Coffee Table
Yes, you can easily set a tray on an ottoman, and place your drinks and food on it. But first placing a tray and then placing things on it can constrict the available space that is needed for a lot of things when you are entertaining. And it may not seem like you are losing a lot of space, but you actually are. Plus, coffee tables handle spills better, no matter how moisture- or stain-resistant your ottoman fabric is.
If your living room is used more informally than formally ...Opt for an Ottoman
Maybe this is a personal choice but I feel that ottomans, because of the way they look and their construction, are more informal and suit a casual seating arrangement better. For instance, if you want to kick off your shoes and watch a movie, you can enjoy it with an ottoman to put your feet on, and chill out. Refreshments can be placed on a tray on the ottoman.
For a more formal look, a coffee table is always a better choice because it provides definition to a living space, and, based on its shape, can impart a sleeker appearance to the living area.
If you have 'too much couch' ... Opt for a Coffee Table
Huge sofas, cushions on them, and then a tufted ottoman. Doesn't it seem like a bit too much? A coffee table can easily break that monotony and heavy appearance with its shape, material, and construction.
If you have a small space ... Opt for a Coffee Table
Now, I can already hear you arguing that even an ottoman will fit into a small space; but think about it. An ottoman, by virtue of its mere construction, is a bulky item. Even if it is not completely upholstered and has just a cushion on top, it is puffed and definitely looks bulkier. Plus, remember that point about losing out on space because you have to set a tray on it? Well, imagine a small ottoman, then you vying for space for four glasses. A coffee table will get rid of all these problems. Moreover, if you have a glass coffee table, it will look lighter in the small space and make the space appear slightly larger.
How About the Best of Both Worlds?
Coffee table and ottoman setup in living room
If you have the space, keeping both an ottoman and a coffee table can work in your favor. For instance, if you have a huge seating area and two sets of sofas, you could use a coffee table for one set and an ottoman for another. Having both will provide you with the benefits of both, and make your living room the perfect space to hang out in.
Coffee tables and ottomans, both serve very similar functions. Both can offer storage, both can become a central spot for d├ęcor, both can create a central focal point with their shape and color respectively. So as mentioned earlier, when choosing an ottoman vs. a coffee table or vice versa, consider your lifestyle and the functionality both offer, and your decision will be made much simpler.
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