8 Cool Alternatives to Your Living Room Coffee Table


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Whether you’re short on space or just looking for ways to spice up the traditional living room layout, switching out a classic coffee table for a different piece of furniture is an unexpected way to upgrade your room. Playing with the shape and size of one of the living room’s focal points can give your setup a whole new look—and often at a lower price point. So throw a fluffy pouf on the floor, find a sleek bench to center your furniture around, or even try swapping in a smaller side table where you’d normally put a large coffee table. Check out the eight examples of coffee table alternatives below to get inspired to switch up your own living room layout.

Drum tables can soften a room with their lack of sharp edges, effectively opening up the flow in a smaller footprint. This Philadelphia renter chose a drum table for her living room to display plants and other decor on. Positioning it off to the side of the settee—instead of centered directly in front of it—allowed her to add in an extra side chair for guests. 

If small and soft is your M.O., try a plush pouf as seen in this LA renter’s home. A pouf or floor cushion is an easy way to add interest to an open space without taking up tons of room or spending lots of money. Bonus: You can move it around or change it out with different colors or styles pretty much any time you like, no heavy lifting or spending required. 

Not interested in one large table? Try two small ones! You can go with a set of nesting tables or two mismatched ones, as seen in this Berlin apartment. Either way, several small tables give you more design flexibility and are great if you’re short on space. Break the set up when guests come over, switch one out when you get bored. You’ll still have plenty of tabletop surface area for drinks, magazines, and such.

Ottomans are a great, cozy alternative to a hard wooden table. This London studio owner found a cushy, oversized ottoman to place in the middle of her small living room to double as a footrest, storage container, and table. It helps fill the small space without overcrowding it, and the soft texture and circular shape contribute to an overall laid-back, cushy vibe. 

Want to really play around with shapes and textures? Find something completely outside the box like the clear cubed bench in this UK home. Not only is acrylic a visually light material, but it’s also practical. You can artfully stack magazines or books under a table like this and always see what you are looking for, too. 

The wood bench in this California bungalow is long and narrow, resulting in a simple, small surface that ties the room together without feeling imposing. As with many of the other coffee table alternatives, because it’s small and light, it’s easy to move around or repurpose in the room in another way if you tire of using it as your “coffee table.” 

A side table can definitely work in place of a coffee table. But if you’re worried about it being underwhelming, find one that really draws the eye in like the shiny copper version in this Charlotte home. It’s striking enough to hold its own, but it’s still pretty compact, so it doesn’t make the room feel crowded. Even better, the actual Target metallic side table seen here costs less than $80!

Tight spaces call for creative solutions—turning a footrest into a coffee table in a small houseboat living room, for example. A footrest is soft and plush, so it makes a room feel cozy. But its flat top makes it the perfect spot for a tray to hold coffee cups and other knick-knacks as needed. So you are really getting the best of both worlds here.

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