Since the beginning of modern life living rooms played an essential role in every house where guests would be received and where most Saturday nights would be spent. Nowadays, living rooms have become the center of the house, a place where the whole family can gather around and spend time together playing board games, drinking their coffee, and binge-watching their favorite TV show.

This process of turning the living room in the epicenter of the house added new pieces of furniture meant increasing the level of comfort and ease the day by day activities. One of them is the good old classic coffee table, a piece of furniture that becomes more and more relevant to our needs in comparison to the space used and frankly speaking finding the perfect one that is kid-friendly and matching with the rest of the room is often a difficult task.

But what is the exact purpose and meaning of a coffee table? Being a place where you can rest your legs, the perfect spot for your stash of remotes, the one and only table in the house that can fit your chess set, or even some drinks for you and your friends.

We could spend hours or even days arguing what’s the real purpose of the coffee table, beside of course putting your cup of coffee on it, but with the passing of time homes had also seen some major changes from dimensions to design, leading to some space crisis that has been solved with bright and bold new ideas. Like, getting rid of it!

Maybe some designers may feel different, but every house should have a different design, and no one should follow some “set in stone” rules unless they really want to.

Decorating A Living Room Without Coffee Table

Two Are Better Than One

The-Montauk-by-Webb-n-Brown-Neaves How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee Table
Image source: Webb & Brown-Neaves

Matching side tables have always been a great alternative to the classical single coffee table that can often take up way too much space. Plus, whenever you need more space you can just use them separately or stash them away. Using them side by side will also keep the same impression of a single table.

The Matryoshka Design

CITY-LIVING-by-Martin-Kobus-Home How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee TableImage source: Martin Kobus Home

Another great alternative that keeps the nuance of the matching side tables is nesting tables. Just like the Matryoshka dolls, nesting tables can be stacked one on top of the other when you need more space, or you can take them out and make sure everybody has a place for their beverage.

Why Even Use a Table at All?

PALM-SPRINGS-INSPIRED-LIVING-ROOM-by-Michelle-Gage-Interior-Designer How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee TableImage source: Michelle Gage | Interior Designer

Some people have already renounced the use of a table at all, and why wouldn’t they? Tufted ottomans are such a great alternative that can ensure one more seating place for someone’s plus one, a great place for your feet to rest and with the simple addition of a hard surface on top of it you can even improvise a table. They’re stylish, cozy and a perfect fit for a living room without coffee table.

The More the Merrier

Living-Room-by-Deering-Design-Studio-Inc How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee TableImage source: Deering Design Studio, Inc.

Instead of picking the seamless coffee table that you will probably have to move it around whenever you need the free space, you can always pick a bunch of small tables. Chic and useful, they’re so much easier to move around while still giving you plenty of room for different purposes.

C Is for Comfort

Media-room-by-Cristi-Holcombe-Interiors-LLC How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee TableImage source: Cristi Holcombe Interiors, LLC

For those who really want to stick close to their sofa while still being able to get their work done c-side tables have always proved useful in space-lacking areas. Easy to use and store, the c-side table is not a coffee table, but can most definitely do the same things while using less space.

Benches Are the New Tables

Living-Room-by-Watermark-n-Company How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee TableImage source: Watermark & Company

Longer, stiffer and with extra utilities on board, a bench can easily replace the classic coffee table and do even more things. Extra guests? Don’t worry! Need more storage room? It got you! No place for snacks? Think again!

Not Only for Expensive Places

Lone-Mountain-by-JKA-Design How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee TableImage source: JKA Design

Another great alternative can be a cocktail table. Its height and shape will definitely give your room a fresh new look while still taking the least amount of space possible.


Because sometimes you want the use of a table but not the furniture itself, the sofa tray table is most definitely one of the greatest alternatives of all times. Now you can keep your mug and snacks closer than ever and focus on the movie you’re watching. All you have to do is turn the arm of your couch into a small table and you’ll never have to leave the couch ever again.

Inside Is the New Outside

Living-Room-by-Rachel-Reider-Interiors How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee TableImage source: Rachel Reider Interiors

Not one of the most efficient alternatives but definitely one of the fanciest, the garden stool has made its appearance in our living rooms for some time and it stayed there until now. It can easily be moved outside or kept in and it will serve just as good as a table while letting your friends know how cool you are, and you might want to use two of them in order to fill the space.

No Table Part. 2

Living-Room-by-TZS-Design How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee TableImage source: TZS Design

Just like its not so far relative, the storage ottoman can be a great idea for a living room without a coffee table. It also adds extra storage space to the already nice and cozy design of a tufted ottoman.

It Does It All

Crawford-n-Burke-Wallace-Storage-Bench-by-Crawford-n-Burke How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee TableImage source: Crawford & Burke

For those that really need some extra storage room but also can’t afford to use any more space because they want to bring in more people the storage bench is a great alternative that can easily do both. Bring all your friends together and keep all your books away from their beverages.

Oldie but Goldie

Naperville-Kid-Friendly-Small-Loft-with-Movable-Parts-by-New-Perspective-Design-Inc How To Decorate A Living Room Without Coffee TableImage source: New Perspective Design, Inc.

Another great way of having a living room without a coffee table is to use a trunk. Yeah, a trunk! Accessorized with a couple of cool pillows, a trunk will ensure a convenient storing space for anything you want while also making your mother proud that you didn’t throw that old silly overly sized wooden box away. Did I also mention how cool it will look in the middle of your living room?

Ending thoughts on decorating a living room without a coffee table

The last but not least way to have a living room without a coffee table and impress your friends with your fine taste is to use an end table. Very classy, versatile and easy to move around, end tables will always have a special place in our homes and our hearts for being of the more simplistic yet elegant solution to this matter.

The times have changed and so did our homes. Our different lifestyles and the perpetual change of home designs will always force us to think outside the box and make sure we get the best out of everything. For some of us, a living room without a coffee table seems normal while others want to keep the tradition but add something special and unique in the background. There’s always room for new and bold ideas as long as you like it!

And don’t forget to match the size of the table with the size of the sofa, or else you’ll find it quite difficult to enjoy your coffee.

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