coffee table ideas

No Coffee Table, No Problem – 7 Things You Can Use Instead

coffee table ideas

If you give a living room a sofa, it’ll want a coffee table to go with it. Or at least that’s what those traditional interior design rules say. And it’s true that coffee tables are generally the focal point of your living room. But as these creative coffee table ideas prove, they don’t have to be!

Whether you’re struggling to design a small space, or if you want your living room to be a bit more kid-proof, here are 7 coffee table alternatives that will work in any space.

coffee table ideas – ottomanAlternative #1 – A Plush Ottoman

Ottomans are an awesome coffee table alternative because they can act as a table but are kid-proof! Plus they double as extra seating options so your kids and guests have space to sit!

coffee table ideas - 2 poufsAlternative #2 – A Pair of Poufs

Poufs are another kid-friendly favorite for living room areas. Two poufs can make a perfect replacement for a coffee table and are just right for smaller spaces and for people who like to entertain. They can double as a foot rest, side table, extra seat and more!

coffee table ideas - benchAlternative #3 – Bench

Not a fan of using a large table as your centerpiece? One of our favorite coffee table ideas is to use a bench instead. An attractive wooden or plush bench can add surface space, seating, and even extra storage. Talk about a triple-threat!

coffee table ideas - cluster of side tablesAlternative #4 – Cluster of Side Tables

A coffee table doesn’t always have to be one large table. You can add a cluster of side tables that you can easily move when you are entertaining in order to give your guests an easy place to set their drinks.

coffee table ideas Alternative #5 – Side Tables With Varying Heights

Two small side tables can also be a good alternative for smaller spaces that don’t have room for one large table. Make your space feel less cramped by opting for one short and one taller table. This is one of our favorite coffee table ideas for people who want to make their space feel more dynamic.

coffee table ideas - storage ottomanAlternative #6 – Storage Ottoman

A storage ottoman acts as a seat that can open up in order to store things underneath a lid. It’s great for storing blankets, books, magazines or other things you want to keep handy.

coffee table ideas - c-side tableAlternative #7 – C-Side Table

If you have no room at all you can try a C-side table in order to maximize space in a small room. These are small and easy to move and snuggle up close to your sofa so they don’t take up much floor space. You can also use them as an impromptu desk when you don’t want to leave the sofa to work.

These are just a few suggestions for you to use other pieces of furniture in lieu of a coffee table! What are your favorite coffee table ideas?


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The Dos and Don’ts of Picking a Coffee Table for your Living Room

Dear Modsy,

I recently purchased a new sectional sofa for my living room, and I love it! It’s great having all that room to sprawl – only problem is now my old coffee table is killing the mood. I thought they would look great together, but the table looks so small and short compared to my new sofa.

I need a new coffee table, but I’m not sure how to choose from the thousands of sizes and shapes. What should I look for when shopping for a coffee table? How can I make sure it will work with my sectional sofa before I commit?

Crying Over Spilled Coffee Tables

Dear Spilled Coffee Tables,

Congratulations on the new addition to your home! We think you will find that sofas, just like snowflakes and humans, come in all shapes and sizes. One coffee table often won’t work for every sofa, and that’s ok.

Style and budget aside, there are lots of factors to consider when picking a coffee table to go with your sofa. The key things to look at are the shape, height, and width.

So rather than trying to imagine what the heck 49½”W x 28¾”D x 18½”H will look like in your living room, we have a solution that’s better than busting out the blue tape and turning your living room into a coffee table crime scene.

Using a little 3D Modsy magic, we took 8 coffee tables out for a test drive with your new sofa to show you the “dos and don’ts” of pairing this living room duo.

Happy Styling,


The Coffee Table Don’ts

1. Don’t go too large

Pick a coffee table

What makes sectional sofas extra tricky is finding a coffee table that fits nicely into that little nook of space in front, between the chaise and seats. This coffee table, as lovely as it is, is way out of proportion with our sofa, and we lose our ability to easily move around the space. Next please!

2. Don’t go too small

Pick a coffee table

The opposite end of the spectrum, a coffee table that’s too small leaves much to be desired for your living room look. While this option fits nicely into the space in front, it still feels out of proportion to our sofa and misses an opportunity to make the most out of that precious real estate. Where will everyone put their drinks?

3. Don’t go too tall

Pick a coffee table

The height of your coffee table is also super important to consider, especially if you want to avoid constantly banging your knees. A good – and simple – rule is look for coffee tables about 1 to 2 inches lower than the height of your sofa seat. A quick glance at this pairing, and we can easily see the coffee table is too tall for our sofa. Next option!

4. Don’t go too wide

Pick a coffee table

Another sectional-specific problem is finding a coffee table with the right width. Ideally, you don’t want your coffee table to be wider than your sofa, so look for options with a width less than the distance between the chaise and armrest of your sofa. Not like this one here, which juts out past the arm of our sofa.


The Coffee Table Dos

1. Do break up the angles

Pick a coffee table

A round coffee table is a great way to break up all the straight lines of a sectional sofa, and bring an organic element to your space. Just be sure you find one with the right height and a width that isn’t more than chaise to armrest!

2. Do sneak in hidden storage

Pick a coffee table

Aside from being the perfect height and width, this modern coffee table has a secret – hidden storage! The white lid pops off to reveal a gloriously inconspicuous place to stash your living room clutter.

3. Do open up small spaces

Pick a coffee table

And apart from its unexpectedly cool shape (hexagon wild!), this coffee table’s open and airy base makes it a great option for small spaces. If you’re in a pinch for living room real estate, skip the extra visual clutter by choosing pieces with elevated and open bases.

4. Do incorporate extra seating

Pick a coffee table

Ok, this one is not really a coffee table per se, but there’s no rule that says you can’t use an ottoman or a pouf like a coffee table if you want! A great option for low sofas, plop a tray on top and you’ve got yourself a coffee table. Or use it as extra seating when you have guests over.

Bonus: it’s also great for kids because it’s literally a giant pillow in the middle of your living room instead of a box of glass. No corners, no owies? Yes please!

Want to find the best coffee table for your sofa?
We can help!