8 Surprising Coffee Table Ideas That Aren't Tables at All

Updated 08/31/19

One could argue the coffee table is the most important piece of furniture in your home: You can eat dinner on it, paint your nails on it, store your latest reads on it, the list goes on and on. But it's not always the most showstopping piece of décor. So why not show some creativity with this furniture staple?

If you don't want to buy just another boring coffee table, try thinking out of the box. Forgo a boring old square table for an exciting alternative. Like truffle mac and cheese instead of plain noodles, you’re going to enjoy these options so much more. Without further adieu, here are some of our favorite coffee table ideas that actually aren't tables at all.

Architectural Feature

Coffee Table Ideas
Bauer Media/Trunk Archive

Have you come across an amazing vintage architectural detail in an antique store that you just don't know what to do with? Just place a simple glass or marble tabletop atop the piece, et voilà, your coffee table is set. Better yet, no one will have the same as you.

Vintage Drum

Alternative Coffee Table Ideas
Robert Caruso

A large marching band drum and a round coffee table may have similar dimensions, but one is far more interesting than the other. 

Use a simple piece of round glass to make a drum just as functional as a standard table.

Moroccan Tray

Outdoor Coffee Table Ideas
Justin Coit for MyDomaine

Besides being eclectically glamorous, a Moroccan tray table is multifunctional. Take the top tray to the kitchen to fill up with teatime essentials and then carry it right back to its stand. You’ll never wish for a stationary coffee table again.

Large Ottoman

Kid-Friendly Coffee Table Ideas
Bauer Media/Trunk Archive

If you’re prone to kicking your feet up on the coffee table, why not make the ritual more comfortable by replacing your coffee table with an ottoman? A tray on the cushy ottoman will keep your essentials corralled and your drinks steady.

Multiple Poufs

Pouf Coffee Table Ideas
Bauer Media/Trunk Archive

If spontaneous dance parties are the norm, or you have kids who constantly need more play area, poufs may be your solution. Easy to move and undeniably chic, poufs give coffee tables a run for their money.

Set of Side Tables

Small Coffee Table Ideas
Courtesy of Jessica Helgerson

When the look of a behemoth coffee table is too heavy, consider grouping side tables together instead. The collection will make for a lighter coffee table solution. 

Upside-Down Basket

Unique Coffee Table Ideas
Courtesy of Max Humphrey

We typically reserve baskets in all shapes and sizes for storage, but a vintage wire basket can also serve as the perfect coffee table. Just the right size to hold a book and a cup of coffee, a wire basket may be all the coffee table you need. Or if you need more surface, group a few together.

Vintage Trunk

Different Coffee Table Ideas
Bethany Nauert; DESIGN: Emily Henderson

Not only does a trunk add structure and style to your living room, but it will also increase your storage options. If just one trunk isn’t enough to store all of your blankets and children’s toys, try placing two next to one another.

Do you have another coffee table alternative? Share a photo with us using the #InMyDomaine hashtag.

This story was originally published on October 6, 2014, and has since been updated.

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