light wood coffee table with hide rug overlay under a tray of decorations

Coffee Table or Ottoman – How To Decorate A Living Room

Learning how to decorate a living room can be hard, choosing between a coffee table or ottoman can be harder. Especially in a modern farmhouse where there is an abundance of room arrangements and furniture pieces. Selecting a couch can be tough, but choosing a rug can be tougher. Then you have to decide what to put between your sofa and chairs or sofa and love seat.


Making the choice: coffee table or ottoman

Do you want an ottoman or a coffee table? What size and shape should it be? How should I decorate it? These and several other questions probably flow through your mind as you attempt to decorate your space. Hopefully, today’s blog will help you select the right one for your living room by answering a few of these questions!

grey metal framed coffee table with wood top and decorations

Size matters

Knowing what size you need is the most important factor when selecting the right coffee table or ottoman. Although you can get creative with this, there are a few simple guidelines to consider. First, your coffee table should be around the same height as your sofa’s seat height. There is about a two to three-inch margin to play with here.

As long as your coffee table height is just above or just under it should look and function just fine.

Secondly, you should leave around 17 inches from either end of your coffee table to your sofa or other furniture. That space should provide ample walkway room to give a good flow to the space. Keep these two sizing guidelines in mind as we go through the rest of the tips.

Black-based coffee table with wood slats across topped with a black tray and decorations.

The shape of things

The next choice you’ll want to make is what shape works best in your space? Rectangular and oval-shaped ottomans and coffee tables work best with traditional sofas while square and round ones work best with sectionals. Then there are irregular or abstract shapes that can work with either. The key here is to play with the furniture in your space to see which works best in it.

The above shape guidelines work well as a reference, but each space is truly so unique that often times the rules can be amended. For instance, if you add two round ottomans or poofs, they also work great with a regular sofa. Same with two small, square coffee tables. Feel free to mix it up and play with multiple tables and shapes if your space allows.

Cream and grey striped ottoman in front of beige sectional sofa.

Material, girl

When selecting the material, I really only have one rule. Honestly, this rule applies to almost any furniture set. Do not, I repeat, do not make your table or ottoman match.

If you select an ottoman, ensure the fabric is a different pattern or color from your sofa. If you select a coffee table, do not match it with your side table. Matching makes the space feel less custom and lower quality.

Instead, mix things up a bit. Add a fun pattern with your ottoman that you can repeat in your throw pillows. If you select a coffee table, be sure to repeat the wood, metal, or material somewhere else in the space. This helps provide continuity while allowing you the freedom to not be matchy-matchy with your furniture.

As always, if you like a matching set, go for it!

Black wicker tray, filled with wood accents, black decorations, and greenery on a rectangular coffee table

Make it work

The function of the furniture between your sofas is probably one of your most important considerations after size and shape. What do you normally use your coffee table for? Do you generally rest your feet on yours or would you rather set drinks and food on it?

Depending on your answer to these questions, your furniture selection might vary. If you’re looking for something comfy to rest your feet on, but also something to hold your drinks perhaps opt for an ottoman with a large tray. If you like to kick your feet up on the sofa and want your centerpiece for more of a decoration, select a unique coffee table.

Fluffy cream throw on under metal decorative tray on top of striped ottoman

Accessories to the rescue

Now that you’ve decided which ottoman or coffee table works best, it’s time to accessorize. Regardless of which type you chose, either one should include a textile, centerpiece, and decorative items that match your space. Layer a blanket or (faux) animal hide on top of your table or ottoman.

Once you’ve arranged that how you’d like, add in a centerpiece decoration. This could be a tray or perhaps a book stand. Once you’ve chosen your centerpiece, sprinkle in a couple of decorative accents such as greenery or abstract art sculptures.

As with my farmhouse bedding blog, all of these looks can be found at Dirt Road Rustics. If you’re interested in learning new ways to decorate your farmhouse coffee table or ottoman, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to provide a few inspirational designs to help accent your new furniture piece.

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