Should You Have An Ottoman Or Coffee Table With A Sectional?

Your sectional sofa is the bomb, but now you must decide, do you choose an ottoman or a coffee table to go with it? We've done some research to find reasons to choose one over the other.

There are many reasons why you might choose an ottoman or a coffee table to pair with a sectional:

  • Ottomans provide extra seating.
  • Ottomans often have storage.
  • Ottomans might match your sectional.
  • Coffee tables provide a solid surface.
  • Coffee tables may provide additional storage.
  • Coffee tables can provide a decorative contrast to a sectional.

Let's look at each of these points in a bit more detail. Then we'll discuss if you need to match your ottoman to your sofa and whether it can be used as a table. Also, do you really even need a coffee table? We'll answer this and recommend the best size for your coffee table. So please, keep reading.

Modern contemporary living rom with glossy wooden flooring, cream ottoman and cream sofas, Should You Have an Ottoman or Coffee Table With a Sectional

Should You Choose An Ottoman Or A Coffee Table For Your Sectional Sofa?

When you imagine a complete living room, you picture your gorgeous sofa and some sort of table. Though there are more choices than simply an ottoman or coffee table (couch back tables and end tables come to mind), we'll discuss the pros and cons of these aforementioned options here.

Ottomans Provide Extra Seating

A gorgeous traditional styled living room with white walls, curtains and wooden laminated flooring

One reason why you might choose an ottoman over a coffee table is its seating capacity. Because ottomans are upholstered, they provide a soft spot to sit. If you're having guests and need an extra chair in a crowded living room, your ottoman can do the trick. You can also slide your ottoman up in front of part of the sectional as a footrest or to give it a chaise lounge effect. This allows more than one person to stretch out.

A padded ottoman can provide valuable additional seating, especially in small spaces. Click here for this on Amazon.

Ottomans Often Have Storage

Another cool feature of an ottoman is its storage capacity. Many ottomans feature hinged tops and a storage compartment beneath. This is a great space to store throw blankets, remotes, television guides, and other things when you need to clear the clutter for guests. 

This is an entire L-shaped sectional that includes an optional ottoman with storage, as shown. Click here for this on Amazon.

Ottomans Might Match Your Sectional

Gorgeous modern country styled living room with brown sofas, ottoman and a TV with large brick accent wall

Though you don't have to match, if you want to match your sectional, an ottoman can do that. Many sectional sofas come with an ottoman, or one can be purchased to match the set. That way, your upholstery is identical and gives a cohesive look to your room. In this instance, a medium brown leather sofa and ottoman create a warm, homey look.

Coffee Tables Provide A Solid Surface

Modern living room with white walls combined with retro styled sofas, chairs and gray wooden flooring

One thing ottomans can't do is provide a solid surface. If you want a place to set beverages, put a vase of flowers, or serve food, an ottoman won't work. You need a good surface that isn't wobbly. This is an instance when you might choose a coffee table.

A round coffee table like this one works well with a sectional. The contrasting geometry keeps things from being too straight-lined. The circular edges also make maneuvering around it easier. This double level table gives some storage options for underneath as well as serving space on the top. Click here for this on Amazon.

Coffee Tables May Provide Additional Storage

Just like with ottomans, coffee tables often have built-in storage available. Some come with drawers or lift-up tabletops. And others come with bins and baskets on a lower level. However, they all offer that solid surface you may prefer over the upholstered ottoman.

This amazing coffee table not only has great cubby storage on the lower level and below tabletop storage, but it also has a lifting tabletop. This gives you a surface you can also use for work with your sectional sofa. This is a pretty ingenious idea for people who spend a lot of time on their laptops at home. Click here for this on Amazon.

Coffee Tables Can Provide A Decorative Contrast To A Sectional

Contemporary mixed with industrial themed living room with gray sofas and chair

A sectional sofa is a fairly large piece of furniture. If you're in a small space, adding another bulky piece of furniture like an ottoman might seem too much. With a delicate glass or spindly-legged coffee table, you can have all of the function without all of the mass. It helps create design contrast and gives you choices when choosing pieces to go with your sectional.

A simple piece like this will look beautiful with any sectional but not fill up the room with its bulk. The eye will notice it without getting bogged down. Click here for this on Amazon.

Should Your Ottoman Match Your Sofa?  

Ottomans will often match sofas because of the way sets are sold. But they don't have to match your sofa. (We have a great post on it here: Should Ottoman Match Sofa? [Inc. 3 Coordination Tips]) One benefit of matching is that you know they work together. The ottoman can be like an additional, moveable part of your couch. You also don't have to worry about getting your style right if they match.

But, if you're someone undaunted by design, you might opt to choose something slightly different from your sofa set. We have a few examples below.

A blue contemporary living room with a white sofa, blue ottomans and a blue accent wall with dividers

Here throw pillows bring the ottoman color to the sofa.

A luxurious modern living room with cream sectional sofa, gray ottoman and brown rug

Here shades of neutral beiges and cremes create a soothing room. The sofa and ottoman do not match but work within the overall colors of the room.

Can An Ottoman Be Used As A Table?

If you want to use your ottoman as a table, there are things to consider. One, your ottoman is typically upholstered, which means it has an uneven, slightly squishy surface. Uneven surfaces are more difficult to balance certain things on. You'll have no problem letting your ottoman work as a table for your books, remote, eyeglasses, and other small objects. But if you want to serve food or beverages, we have a trick.

Modern contemporary living rom with glossy wooden flooring, cream ottoman and cream sofas

Use a tray with your ottoman. This gives you a hard surface to set in the center of your ottoman. Beverages can be set upon it with less risk of things tipping and spilling.

A tray like this has handles for carrying and can be set on your ottoman to use it as a table. Click here for this on Amazon.

Do You Really Need A Coffee Table?

A spacious minimalist themed living room with hardwood flooring, brown accent wall and a white walled dining room

You don't need a coffee table. Though people like them for convenience, they can also get in the way. Some designers opt to use end tables or sofa tables instead of coffee tables. Or nothing at all as in this living room. All options are totally acceptable. It's simply a matter of getting your space to function its best for you.

What Is The Best Size For A Coffee Table?

Standard coffee table heights are between 16" and 18", but shapes and length dimensions can vary greatly. It's recommended not to choose anything that's more than 2/3 the length of your sofa. You need to be able to move around it. For sectionals, we really love the look of square or round ottomans or coffee tables. It provides a nice look to contrast to the rectangular lengths of the sofa sections.

Ottoman Vs. Coffee Table?

We've laid out some of the thought processes you might think about when making your decision. Look around the room where your couch is going and see what is right for you. Are you more of a lounger? Then an ottoman might be your best choice. Do you love to entertain or work from home? Then a coffee table may be more practical for you. Hopefully, our post has helped you get closer to a decision.

If you enjoyed this post, please check out a few of our others below:

What Is the Best Height for an Ottoman? [by Function]

Where To Buy A Sectional (Top 20 Online Stores)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *