The best DIY coffee table alternatives for your living room

A coffee table is a great staple piece of living room furniture. They often perform many different functions in your home, acting as a surface to hold your mugs and plates, serve as a resting place for photo albums and the aptly-named coffee table books, and occasionally become an extra work surface for projects that need a home. But coffee tables also tend to be overlooked when designing the look of a living room. We all know that sofas and chairs can have their own individual characters, but the coffee table is often thought of as being practical, yet boring. But this doesn’t have to be the case! In this article, we’ll discuss some of our favorite coffee table alternatives that can take your space to the next level.

Coffee table alternatives for small living rooms

As we’ve said, coffee tables already wear a ton of hats when it comes to the function of your living room, but in a small space, you may find yourself needing to ask even more of one! That’s where an ottoman can come into play. Available in a virtually endless array of styles and colors to suit almost any space, ottomans are durable, great for families with kids or pets, and work as not only a table, but also as an extra seat when you have company over! Plus, some styles of ottoman feature interior storage, so you can tuck away books, movies, or extra pillows and blankets to save you closet or shelf space.

Similarly, a pouf or two can also serve as a great coffee table alternative for small living rooms that are looking to maximize their space and add extra seating.

Benches as coffee tables

Want something with a little more structure? Try using a bench as an alternative to a coffee table! The elevated height will allow you to seat extra guests in a pinch and using a piano bench that opens can offer you additional storage. Or, try using more than one table in place of a coffee table: you can choose a pair or trio of side tables in the same or varying finishes. This option gives you huge freedom should you decide to redecorate, as you’re able to separate the pieces and use them in various areas around your living room or throughout your home.

Vintage DIY

If you’re on a budget or just want to find something that’s unique, don’t overlook the potential of your local flea markets and thrift stores! While you may find the perfect coffee table at one of these places, you might also find something even better! One of our favorite coffee table alternatives is to use a vintage trunk or stack of suitcases. Not only are they super-sturdy and offer you a great surface to hold items, but they also have huge amounts of storage inside, making them great for small spaces. Use them to stow away extra pillows, blankets, cushions, or even out of season coats and sweaters to free up space elsewhere in your home and keep them out of sight.

Nesting tables options

A set of nesting tables makes a great coffee table alternative because of their versatility. They give you the option to have a lot of surface space to hold food, drinks, and other items when you have guests over, but they also store away in a rather compact form when not in use. Especially great when you’re looking for a coffee table alternative for a small living room, a set of nesting tables offers you a ton of options and flexibility in a small package.

Tray table

If you’re looking for an alternative to a coffee table and are working with a small space, the last thing that you want is something bulky that gets in the way and takes up both visual and physical space, making the room feel even smaller than it is already. To get around this issue, a tray table can be a great option! They’re light, and their airy form offers ease of movement that a bulky coffee table doesn’t. As an added bonus, they’re usually inexpensive and are available in several different colors and designs to best suit the look you’re going for.

Laptop tables can likewise be a slightly sturdier, more traditional addition to your living room furniture collection, and their duties can go well beyond just holding laptops! Use them for mugs, books, and anything else that you would usually set on a coffee table. Plus, their convenient height makes them super practical to use as a worksurface or snack table as well.

Garden stools and outdoor furniture

Who says that outdoor furniture needs to be just for your lawn, garden, or patio? Do double-duty by bringing in a pair or trio of metal or wooden garden stools. If you get tired of the arrangement come summertime, just move them outdoors and enjoy them anew! The great thing about using outdoor furniture in your everyday life is that it’s often super-durable, meaning that you can put it to the test of small children and household dogs and cats without worry. Another positive thing about garden stools and other patio furniture is that it often comes in bright colors as well as a wide array of neutrals, so you’re sure to find the perfect items to fit the color scheme of your living space.

Other creative DIY ideas

Just as you shouldn’t limit yourself to just standard coffee tables for your living room, you can also use your creativity beyond even the ideas we’ve given you! Look around you for inspiration: maybe you can create a storage-filled coffee table by using a tall, narrow bookshelf turned on its side, or maybe you can create a great surface by replacing or trimming the legs on a too-tall hall table. Use your imagination and work with the space you’ve got, and you’re sure to come up with a coffee table that works perfectly for you!

Want more great interior design tips? Check out our blog for more articles that offer you advice about decorating all different areas of your living space, from awkward walls to tiny apartment living rooms. No matter the situation that you’re dealing with, we’re happy to help you find the solution to your interior design woes!

Follow us here at Simply Side Tables for more great interior design tips, and to stay up-to-date on new additions to our coffee tables and bedside tables collections!

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