7 Small Coffee Tables for Small Living Rooms

And Coffee Table Alternatives

Small living room with wall to ceiling windows, two chairs and a coffee table with white fur covering

The Spruce / Sophia Reay

A lot of people will tell you that a coffee table is a necessary piece of furniture for a living room. You need a place to put up your feet, put down drinks, and most importantly, to anchor the room. As homes get smaller, designers get more creative, and decorating enthusiasts get more adventurous, some interesting alternatives to traditional coffee tables have been making their way onto the scene. If you’re looking to try something a little different consider these coffee table alternatives.

  • 01 of 07

    Matching Side Tables

    Durham Bunching Tables
    Ballard Designs

    A pair of matching side tables are a terrific alternative to a traditional coffee table. They still give the illusion of a single table but can be pulled apart and used separately when necessary. This is a great option for small spaces that need versatile pieces of furniture.

  • 02 of 07


    ottoman coffee table

    Black and Blooms/Sara Toufali

    Ottomans have long been considered great alternatives to coffee tables. When you put a large tray on them it creates a solid surface so you can still place decorative or practical items, but when you remove the tray they can be used as extra seating. They also add a soft touch where normally there would be something hard and severe. Ottomans instead of coffee tables don’t have to be tufted, but they sure are pretty!

  • 03 of 07

    Vintage Style Trunk

    Zimmer Trunk
    Pottery Barn

    A vintage trunk offers character in a way that a new or modern piece just can’t. Plus there’s the added bonus of storage. Just remember that while they can be great for putting your feet up, vintage trunks sometimes have curved lids so you can’t always place things down on them. If you opt for one of these pieces make sure you also have side tables nearby.

    If you want more of an eclectic vibe for a coffee table, consider a stack of antique suitcases. Stacking suitcases can be done quite easily. Find two or three sturdy cases to stack to the desired height of your coffee table. They can either be all the exact same size or in diminishing sizes so the one is on the bottom, the smallest on top. Attach them in a multitude of ways, from screwing, gluing, or using hook-and-loop tape to bond them together. Add bun feet on the bottom for extra style and height if needed.

  • 04 of 07

    Garden Stools

    Garden stools, room designed by Smantha Pynn
    Style at Home

    Garden stools are cute and trendy and a lot of people have been using them instead of coffee tables for the last few years. They don’t offer quite the same surface space as a coffee table, but the advantage is their pretty designs and versatility as they can be used outdoors as well as indoors. If you decide to use garden stools as a coffee table alternative make sure to use two, as one will likely be too small to fill the space and it will look a bit lost.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Tray Table

    tray coffee table

    Bespoke Only

    While still a table that can anchor a space, a tray table offers something that a traditional coffee table can’t. If you entertain on a regular basis a tray table can be a wise purchase. Just make sure it’s not so heavy that you can’t easily lift it and carry it around the room. Tray tables come with some beautiful colors and patterns so they provide a unique decorating opportunity.

  • 06 of 07

    Storage Bench

    Amelia Storage Bench
    Ballard Designs

    Like ottomans, storage benches can be used as table surfaces or extra seating (but be sure to check the item's weight capacity). The biggest advantage of these pieces is that they have lots of hidden storage inside so you can hide a multitude of clutter. Use either one long piece or a couple of smaller matching pieces side by side or in a configuration that suits your space. Look for storage benches with hinged or fully removable tops.

  • 07 of 07

    Nesting Tables

    nesting coffee tables

    Cathie Hong Interiors

    Like matching side tables, nesting tables are a good option for small spaces. Since they’ll likely be viewed from all sides, make sure that the tables are finished all the way around. In a case like this, acrylic waterfall tables would be ideal. When they're not in use as coffee tables, tuck them away to the side. The beauty of nesting tables is that they can easily be moved around. And if you have kids, they can have their own little coffee table for playing or drawing while you get to put your feet up on your own table.