Which is Better: Ottoman or Coffee Table?

Weigh the pros and cons of each of these living room staples.

Updated on June 12, 2017 12:06 pm

Camille Besinga


So you’re furnishing your living room. Have you decided which central item you will place in front of your sofas? The default has always been the coffee table. What’s not to love about it? It provides a landing pad for such items as drinks or books, as a surface for decorative items, and, during parties, as space to rest plates of munchies on.

But the coffee table did meet its match with the ottoman. So called as it traces its origins from Turkey, during the height of the Ottoman Empire in the late 18th century. In contrast to the coffee table, which is made of any hard material—wood, stone, plastic, acrylic, or other kinds of synthetics—the ottoman is often “stuffed over,” meaning completely upholstered and no wood or hard material shows through. It is also known as a footstool, a hassock, or a padded bench.

Which one should you use in your living room? It really depends on your preferences, and what function you want your living room to serve. We list down the pros and cons to using an ottoman and a coffee table below to help you decide for yourself.

The Coffee Table


• Provides a stable surface for décor, entertaining items (like drinks)

• Have more design options

• Very easy to clean, unlike upholstered furniture

• Completes the look of formal spaces


• Harder materials, corners, or angles increases chance of injury

• Prone to nicks and scratches, and may require more gentle care and maintenance

• Heavier piece of furniture, which means it cannot be moved around as easily

• Not normally used as extra seating (but depending on the type of coffee table used)

Check out these inspiring spaces that make beautiful use of coffee tables in the living room.




You can also scan through our new Cromly shop, plus here’s what’s currently in the Cromly catalogue:

Watson Large Trunk By Timothy Oulton

Nautical coffee table with drawers by Nook and Cranny

Low table with driftwood legs by Le Meubles

Vintage nested coffee tables by Mountain Teak

Elysee coffee tables by Cellini

The Ottoman


• Has soft edges due to upholstery (perfect for families with kids)

• Is multifunctional—can be a footstool, a table, storage, or an extra chair

• Great for small or casual spaces

• Adds a cozy, comforting feel to the living room


• May be harder to clean due to the fabric

• Might not be good for pets

• Not stable enough for entertaining items (unless used with a tray or flat surface on top)

• Depending on the design, might not be suitable for really formal spaces

Let these living rooms with ottomans inspire you to use the upholstered piece in your own home.




And again, some ottomans from Cromly’s own catalogue:

Cheese ottoman by Comfort Design

Moulin Noir Ottoman by Paris Home LLP

Bean Bag Table by Ambient Lounge

Sumo pouf by Danish Design

Brown leather pouf by Singapore Trading Post

Which one do you prefer and why? Share with us at hello@cromly.com.


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