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9 Practical Coffee Table Alternatives

Stylish stump side table with a small potted indoor plant beside the living room sofa with throw pillows and blanket.

Many people think that a coffee table is a necessary piece of furniture for the living room. It’s where we put down our drinks, rest our feet on, or where we take our dinner while marathon-watching on Netflix. While it serves these purposes, a traditional coffee table can be too low for a comfortable dinner or too hard as a footrest.

If you want to spice things up in your home decor and save valuable space, you can replace the traditional coffee table with a more practical alternative. Better use a more functional or casual piece of furniture and break away from the uniform look of a typical living space.

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1. Pair of Side Tables

A recliner chair and ottoman covered in white slipcover with a throw pillow beside a pair of painted side tables and a bucket of flowers.


Because there are two tables, you can easily push them together or pull them apart depending on where you need the storage space.

Many side tables come with drawers or doors so that you can store items inside this piece of furniture, making cleaning up in a hurry incredibly fast and easy.

It’s easy to find side tables in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.

Side tables are generally fairly inexpensive, making them a great option if you are on a budget.

You can move them to the sides of the sofa if you need extra space.

If you buy a coffee table at a later time, you can usually find a use for side tables in other places of your home.


Even when pushed all of the ways together, there may be a seam where the two pieces meet, and this can make your drink or plates wobbly.

They may not appear as permanent as a coffee table would.

Not everyone likes the look of so many legs in their living room.

2. Trunk

A vintage trunk with an open book and a saucer with a teacup serves as a coffee table.


A trunk provides ample storage, making it a great place to put pillows, blankets, toys, or books.

Trunks are incredibly sturdy and will anchor your room by providing a solid piece of furniture that will draw the eye of everyone who comes to visit you.

Vintage trunks add a lot of interest and appeal to your space.

If you are worried about privacy you can usually install a lock on your trunk to ensure that nobody is able to open it.


Trunks tend to be very heavy, which means that you may have trouble moving them to a new location if you need the floor space.

Some trunks don’t have flat lids, and these rounded trunks won’t provide you with a sturdy surface for your drinks or snacks.

Trunks won’t fit with the décor of every room and can stand out or look out of place if you are not careful in your room design and trunk choice.

3. Tufted Ottoman

Elegant living room with box wainscoting, a tufted sofa between a pair of lamp shades and a tufted ottoman flanked by stylish armchairs.


The fabric will soften the overall appearance of this piece of furniture, ensuring that it doesn’t create harsh lines in your home.

Tufted ottomans can double as additional seating, which is great if you love to entertain and want to make sure that everyone has a place to sit.

It’s easy to choose between smaller and larger ottomans, depending on how much space you have to fill and what size surface you need.

Many ottomans have casters, making them easy to move out of the way.

Small details, such as nailhead trim, will really set your ottoman apart from other furniture in the home.


You have to make sure that you use a tray when putting anything on the tufted ottoman that could spill, otherwise you may have a huge mess to clean up.

Tufted ottomans generally do not have additional storage space, which means that you will need to find another piece of furniture to store items out of the way.

Not everyone loves the idea of having a giant ottoman in the middle of their living room.

4. Tray Table

Potted and hanging indoor plants decorate this all-white interior with a tray table.


These small tables can easily be moved out of the way when they’re not in use.

When you choose a tray table with a rim, you don’t have to worry about items falling off and getting lost.

They traditionally have a finished surface so you don’t need to worry about water rings on the tray table.

Tray tables can easily be moved to another room in your home if you need to store an item there, and due to their size, they can be moved by most members of your family.


They don’t have a very large surface area, which makes it difficult to store larger items.

Because of their smaller size, if you accidentally knock a tray table it is very easy for them to fall over.

5. Garden Stools

Red garden stool

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You can buy garden stools in a variety of colors and sizes to complement your décor.

Garden stools offer a nice flat surface for your items to rest on, and they are designed to stand up to wild weather, so you don’t need to worry about water damage from a glass.

Hot food or drinks can be placed on a garden stool without the heat damaging the surface of the stool.

Due to their small size, you can move them around easily, even to another room or onto your porch or deck if you need additional seating or storage.


Some garden stools have decorative cutouts on the top, which means that your items stored on the stools are likely to fall through.

With the wrong décor, garden stools will look very out place.

Stools with a lot of decorative cutouts on the sides will need to be dusted on a regular basis so that they don’t look dirty.

6. Nesting Tables

A vase of flowers and other trinkets stand on the nesting tables beside the leather sofa with throw blanket and pillows.


These tables will slide under each other when not in use so that they don’t take up a lot of space.

The varying sizes ensure that you can always choose a table that will meet your needs.

Nesting tables are easy to move out of the way, as they are designed to be light enough to be lifted and arranged on a regular basis.


Because they vary in size, they may not provide you with the cohesive look that you want in your living room, which can be frustrating for some homeowners.

Generally, nesting tables do not have any additional storage because of the way that they are designed to sit over the top of each other. This may be great in a minimal house, but not in one where the owners have a lot of items that they are worried about hiding or storing.

7. Storage Bench

Leather tufted storage bench


There’s ample storage that is neatly hidden away under the lid of the bench, which makes cleanup a breeze and ensures that you always know where your extra pillows, blankets, or magazines are.

Generally, storage benches are quite comfortable, which is great if you want to make sure that you can use your bench for additional seating when necessary.

Storage benches come in a variety of styles and sizes.


If you choose a storage bench that has upholstery on the top, then you will need to use a tray when serving food or drinks so that they do not tip over on the soft surface and spill.

Storage benches get very heavy when they are full and can be incredibly difficult to move.

Due to their larger size, it’s difficult to push a storage bench out of the way if you need the floor space for an activity.

8. Drink Cart

Two-tiered drink cart with different types of refreshments on top and an ice box and glasses on the lower tier.

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Drink carts are generally on casters, making them very easy to move out of the way, and their handles make them easy to control so you don’t have to worry about running into anything.

They are incredibly stylish and unexpected in a living room, which is sure to draw attention from everyone who comes to your home.

This piece of furniture is designed to hold drinks, so you never need to worry about the surface being damaged by a spill.

No matter what type of décor you have in your home, a drink cart will add a touch of glamour and interest to your space.


It can be very difficult to find a drink cart that is lower to the ground, and this means that it may be too high to see over or around easily.

If you choose a drink cart that has a glass for the surfaces, then you need to make sure to clean them on a regular basis to keep them looking clean and bright.

9. Suitcases

Urban-chic living room with exposed brick wall and and a matching leather sofa and suitcase coffee table.


Suitcases are unexpected, making them a fun option if you love interesting décor choices.

Because you can stack as many or as few suitcases as you want, you’ll be able to create storage space in your living room that will perfectly meet your needs.

You can easily store items inside your suitcases and access them quickly when you need them.

Unlike other storage items in your home, suitcases are designed to be carried when they are full, which means that you can easily move them out of the way if you need to clear the space.


Depending on the shape of the suitcases that you use, you may have difficulty creating a stack that is durable and won’t fall over when knocked.

You still need to protect the surface of your suitcases from water or heat if serving drinks.

It’s important to choose suitcases that will fit with the décor of your home so that they don’t look out of place.

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