How to use an ottoman as a coffee table

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This ottoman comes complete with trays, which transform the ottoman into the ideal coffee table
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Ottoman coffee tables: Sit on them, prop up your feet or use them as a table

When you are crunched for space, and even when you are not, it is convenient to have furniture that is multi-functional and can do double duty, using it in more ways than its intended purpose. An ottoman is a great place to sit or to prop up your feet but you can just as easily utilize your ottoman as a coffee table. Knowing the tricks of how to use an ottoman as a coffee table is a great way to get the one-two punch out of a single piece of furniture.

In medicine, when a drug is intended for one purpose but it used for another, this is called off-label. In this case, we are using an ottoman off-label. The ottoman, which is primarily intended as a foot rest or to provide additional seating, is functioning as a coffee table.


Lots of people are specifically purchasing ottomans with this in mind. Looking for ottoman coffee tables is not unusual now-a-days. An ottoman is a convenient place to put your tray of foods and snacks, your plates, your cups and glasses and all are within easy reach.

Planning to use an ottoman as a coffee table is very practical when you are living in a cramped apartment and are pressed for space. A regular coffee table is fine but if you have to choose between it and a roomy footstool, which is so accommodating for propping up feet, and an extra over-upholstered chair - a comfortable spot for a tired butt - go with the ottoman! An ottoman does double- even triple-duty. No one wants to sit on a hard coffee table. And, feet are certainly not welcome on the edge of a fine wood table.

The word "ottoman" can be used to describe a type of cloth, as well as a Turkish man from a certain tribe, although we primarily use the term to describe a piece of furniture. The ottoman evolved from the divan, which is a backless or padded bench with cushions that you lean against. Today an ottoman is usually an upholstered, rectangular piece of furniture that is somewhat low to the ground and is used as a footrest or a seat. Ottomans came into vogue in the 1800s in Europe, which was influenced by Eastern styles of furniture. The ottoman looks very similar to a pouf, which is a Moroccan cushion that is thick and is used as a seat.

Ottomans sometimes come equipped with storage inside or underneath so you can stash away whatever needs to be out of view. Ottomans do not have to be rectangular. A round or square shaped ottoman will work just as well. Of course, the larger the ottoman the more space you have when you are utilizing it as a coffee table.

Purchase an ottoman that comes equipped with trays that sit perfectly on top of the ottoman. The trays can be stored in the hollow space under the ottoman when not in use. If trays do not come with your ottoman, buy some that are sturdy, will not slide and fit the top of the ottoman. Using trays helps prevent spillage, especially trays with a small raised edge.


If you do not have trays or do not want to use them, you can use coasters instead.  In addition, you can use the ottoman as a version of a sideboard and place your appetizers on the ottoman during a party.

One of the perks of using an ottoman as a coffee table instead of a tradition table is that an ottoman looks very chic and it provides additional but discreet storage space smack dab in the middle of your living room.

Choose the style of ottoman that goes with the rest of your furnishings. Ottomans can be formal or casual. Some are covered in leather; others are canvas, suede or chenille. An ottoman may have a completely flat surface or it may be button-tufted.

When you are not using your ottoman as a coffee table it provides comfortable seating as well as a great surface for a board game. After a competitive game of Monopoly, you can easily stash the board came in the storage compartment underneath. Voila. All cleaned up in no time flat. Now it is time for coffee and soda.

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