Do you think buying an ottoman or coffee table is a simple matter of aesthetics and budget?
Take it from us; it’s more than that!
There are many things to consider when shopping for a new piece for your home. It would be best if you thought about height, length, shape, color, and placement, so many essential details that can make or break your overall aesthetic.
After all, you don’t want to be stuck with an ottoman or coffee table that doesn’t fit your home decor. If you want to avoid this, you’ve come to the right place!
We will help you pick the right size ottoman or coffee table for your house.
What Size Coffee Table or Ottoman Should You Buy?
Here are three things that will help you calculate the right size of an ottoman or coffee table for your home:
One of the main functions of an ottoman is to support your feet when you wish to rest them. The heights of your ottoman and your furniture seat must match.
This means there is a suitable height difference to aim for. An ottoman should be at least one inch shorter than the height of the surrounding seats. This height will give your legs the needed support and will not lead to back or hip pain.
A similar concept applies to coffee tables. Before buying one, decide on the room’s layout and measure the heights of your existing furniture. Your coffee table should be tall enough to comfortably accommodate several people sitting around it while snacking or eating.
Your ottoman or coffee table should be half or two-thirds of the length of your couch. No matter where you sit, you should be able to reach the ottoman or coffee table. And there is enough space left over to move around.
The distance between the coffee table or ottoman and the seats in the room should be 12 to 18 inches. If you are placing the coffee table or ottoman between the seating area and a TV or fireplace, the distance from these furnishings should be 24 to 30 inches.
Ottomans for the Bedroom
If you’re placing an ottoman at the end of your bed for additional seating, it can be the same width as the bed and 2 to 3 inches lower in height.
Decorating a Room With a Coffee Table and an Ottoman
The coffee table should be the more prominent piece if you want to furnish a room with a coffee table and an ottoman.
How Do You Measure Your Furniture to Find the Right Size of an Ottoman or Coffee Table?
Measure your seat height from the floor to the top of the cushion. Then deduct 1 to 2 inches from this number, and you have the ideal height of your coffee table or ottoman.
Then, measure the length of your furniture. Measure the longest area covered by the seats in the room. If you have multiple chairs arranged in a row, measure the distance from one end of the first chair to the end of the last chair.
Two-thirds of the total length of your seating area should be the maximum length of your ottoman or coffee table.
Other Things to Consider When Buying a Coffee Table or Ottoman
Does It Fulfil Its Purpose?
Why do you want to add a coffee table or ottoman to the room?
A coffee table is best when you need a hard surface to place board games, drinks, food, or books.
An ottoman is best when you want extra seating or hidden storage. It can also become a makeshift coffee table, footrest, or statement piece.
Does It Fit In the Space?
Your coffee table or ottoman should balance the available space in the room and the furniture in it.
Think about it. A small room with an oversized ottoman makes for a lopsided aesthetic. In contrast, a big room with a small coffee table looks awkward.
Our tip? Measure your open floor space and plan your furniture from there. Decide how much space you want to dedicate for seats, and leftover space can be used for an ottoman or coffee table.
If you’re tight on space and need more storage, then an ottoman with storage under the seat is the best option.
Does It Complement the Furniture?
Before you add anything to any room, consider what you already have. Your additions should fit in with the rest of the furniture in your living room, bedroom, sitting room, or wherever you want to place your new coffee table or ottoman.
A key feature to consider is the weight of the objects in the room. Not how heavy they are, but how they feel and draw the eye.
Legs largely influence this decorative weight. Furniture with skinny legs goes better with furniture with short and chunkier legs. A couch with no visible legs goes perfectly with tall and skinny-legged furniture.
What Shapes Go Together?
You may not want to think about geometry, but it is a crucial interior design element. Every furniture in a room has a distinct shape, and your new ottoman or coffee table must go with everything else. If you don’t want these shapes to clash and look like a poor attempt at mixing and matching, you must put some thought into it.
Here are some common ottoman shapes and furniture they pair well with:
Are you eyeing a gorgeous square ottoman or sofa footrest at the furniture store?
We suggest pairing it with a sectional with equal length on both sides or a U-shaped sofa. You can also pair it with a modular sofa that you can arrange to your liking.
If your sectional has more of an L-shape, then going with a rectangular ottoman to fill in the length would be an excellent design choice. It can also go well with a traditional cognac leather sofa.
A rectangular ottoman is also a great fit if you’ve got a loveseat to pair it with. You could even match the loveseat with an ottoman of the same length.
Do you have a curved sectional or one with a round corner or a wedge? A round ottoman will fit in seamlessly!
If your couch is as oversized as your guest list for dinner, you can populate the room with multiple ottomans. For a unified aesthetic, style the ottomans as a group instead of individual pieces. You can use them separately depending on how much seating space you need.
When pairing ottomans with the rest of your furniture, decide the look you are going for. Do you want to spice up a plain-looking room with an ottoman?
Choose contrasting colors If you have lots of round furniture in the room, balance them out with squares or rectangles. If your couch is all angles, go for an oval or circle coffee table. These design choices will help you maintain balance.
Shapes are also essential since they affect the clearance space. Placing a square or rectangle piece of furniture in the middle of the room is perfectly fine as long as the room is big.
But in a small room, you can maximize the space with round furniture that is easy to maneuver around.
How to Match the Material?
There are many material options to choose from: you can go for glass, metal, fabric, bamboo, rattan—it’s all decorator’s choice. However, we advise you to consider some critical factors before purchasing.
If you’ve got a whole house with small kids and pets running around, it’s best to avoid glass furniture and anything with pointy or sharp edges. You can redecorate when your kids are older, but for now, stick with a fabric ottoman or a coffee table with rounded edges.
If you have beautiful hardwood floors, it’s best not to choose wood furniture. Instead, use textures that complement the wood, such as fabric, leather, or metal.
Now, when it comes to interior decor, we love experiments. If you do, too, try out a leather ottoman and pair it with fabric upholstery. Textures like woven materials are also great if you’re going for a laid-back, natural look.
A heavy, luxurious velvet couch will go best with a lighter linen ottoman.
Remember, when thinking of material, go for functionality above all else!
Where Do You Place the Ottoman or Coffee Table?
Is the ottoman your central piece of furniture, or is it something that will only come out during house parties?
Does your coffee table work best when placed parallel to your couch? Does it take up too much space when placed in the middle of the room?
Carefully measure your available space and be smart about where you put your new furniture. Visualize how you will move around the room when you add a coffee table or ottoman — will the space become stifling? Will it add comfort? Will you be able to move around quickly?
What’s Your Aesthetic?
Coffee tables can open up a space, while ottomans can make a room feel more compact and warm—perfect for a relatively large and mostly empty room.
A coffee table might be the best option if you’re planning to entertain guests and host formal dinners. Its hard surface can make the room appear cleaner and more traditional.
In contrast, ottomans are best known for their casual look and homey aesthetic.
Ottoman vs Coffee Table: Which One Should You Choose?
If you only have space for one new piece of furniture, it can be challenging to settle a debate between an ottoman vs coffee table.
Consider these questions, and you will know the answer.
- Do you have young kids in the house who are likely to bump into a table?
- Do you want to add more seating to the room?
- Do you want more storage space? If yes, what do you want to store?
- Do you need a hard surface to place beverages, board games, and food?
- Do you like having a surface to put your feet up on while relaxing on the couch at the end of the day?
Your final choice should match your current circumstances, space requirements, and aesthetic preferences. Consider these pros and cons:
Ottoman: Pros and Cons
- Creates a casual look and feel
- Multiple footrest accommodations
- Concealed extra storage
- Additional seating
- Makeshift coffee table
- Heavier than coffee tables
- Difficult to balance drinks or board games
- Difficult to match with furniture
- Prone to wear and tear
- Difficult to clean
Coffee Table: Pros and Cons
- Hard surface space
- Easy to clean
- It will suit all aesthetics
- Easy to match with various types of furniture
- It provides a sense of formality
- Limited use
- Too hard to put your feet up on it
- Risk of bruising or scratching
- Limited storage options
If you have enough space to accommodate an ottoman and a coffee table, the more, the merrier! You can pair a small pouf ottoman with a large coffee table. You could also opt for an ottoman that will fit perfectly under the coffee table.
What Sofas or Sectionals Pair Well With an Ottoman?
Here are two pieces of furniture that pair best with an ottoman:
Modular sofas are incredibly flexible and fit together in many different ways. These angled pieces work wonderfully with square or rectangular ottomans in contrasting colors and designs.
L-shaped and U-shaped Sectionals
U-shaped sectionals will pair perfectly with round ottomans. Make sure to leave behind enough space to move around. Match the angles of your L-shaped sectional with a broad, rectangular ottoman for additional seating and storage.
Whether you buy an ottoman or a coffee table, you are in for a fun adventure of choosing the best one to add to your living room, bedroom, or sitting room. They are versatile pieces of furniture that can instantly change a room's look and feel.
Which one are you buying for your house? Let us know in the comments!