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What Can You Put Under a Coffee Table?

A spacious coffe table in the living room.

For me, an enduring image is my kids playing under the coffee table. It was their cave, submarine, dwarves’ mine, or an evil dragon’s lair.

They managed to fill the space so richly with just their imaginations. It’ll take just a bit of your imagination and some sense of style to put the space under your coffee table to good effect.

What can you put under a coffee table?

The space under a coffee table can be used cleverly for storage. This can be in the form of a toy box or a suitcase filled with bits of useful linen. You can also stack incidental tables under the coffee table, or keep the small ottomans there.

It is also effective to put picture books under the coffee table, for family and visitors to page through when they will. The simplest thing to put under a coffee table is a rug or small carpet.

Related: Coffee Table vs Cocktail Table

Create a tiered coffee-table

Two circular coffee table.

It may sound a little ‘out there, but have you considered putting another coffee table under your coffee table? Some tables are quite long and wide, then there are those that are smaller. You can put a smaller coffee table on top of a bigger one and create a sort of tiered feature in your room.

The lower table is the perfect place to put some illustrated books or coasters for coffee cups or glasses. On the top table, you can put a beautiful crocheted, or lace runner, or even a laminated sketch by one of the family.

Stack the tables

Unique modern coffee table in the living room.

An alternative is to slide a shorter and matching coffee table under the main one. This can be slid out and used as an additional table in the middle of the room.

Under the coffee table is also the perfect place to keep stacked incidental or side tables. Look out for a set that will nest easily together and fit the shape of the coffee table.

The beauty of this arrangement is that you have the smaller tables easily at hand, but they don’t take up extra floor space when you are not using them.

Make the coffee table a toy treasure trove

If you’re a mum with young kids, or even better a granny, what about keeping a box of toys under your coffee table? Imagine the kids’ and grandkids’ joy when they can pull out dolls, blocks, and cars. Or the lock on your toddler’s face when she finds a treasure trove of toys at her level.

Display picture books and photo albums

Coffee table with small bookshelf.

Switch it around and think of your elderly parents coming to visit. On the bottom level of the coffee table or on the longer base of your tiered table, they can find beautiful picture books or photo albums with photographs of the family, or vacations they may have been on with the family.

Books are also a great thing to put under a coffee table. I suggest avoiding novels or any popular reading book, though. Think about what is usually described as being ‘coffee table books’: with lots of pictures and little information that visitors can pick up easily and browse through.

The books can have universal appeal or may be particular to your family. If you are thinking about visiting kids, as well as your own, it won’t do any harm to throw in a comic book or two. Or a graphic novel.

Select a statement rug or small carpet

Wooden coffee table with a small carpet underneath.

Picture the perfect living room with carefully placed furniture and a strategically placed coffee table in the middle of a bare floor. This is the point at which you should choose a striking rug or small carpet to put under the coffee table to create a focal point in the room.

You can either choose to be elegant and simple, with perhaps a simple rug. Or you can make a statement, with a particularly striking rug. Why not choose a traditional African rug with beautiful bold colors, or a strong geometric pattern? Or a beautiful and intricate Persian rug.

A rug under your coffee table isn’t only an option on a wooden, or similarly bare, floor. You can create a focal point in a fully carpeted room, by placing a rug or small carpet over the carpet. Select a contrasting color or pattern for the rug.

Under the coffee table is perfect for storage

If you think about it, the area under a coffee table is a sort of lost space in the lounge or living room. It can be a really nifty place to store a few things you could need every so often. This doesn’t mean you should think that you can store anything there.

Put a vintage suitcase under the coffee table, and you can store items like cushions, cushion covers, and throws. You can even keep covers for the outdoor furniture cushions if the coffee table is in the room off the porch.

If you have poufs or ottomans in your lounge, you can keep them under the coffee table, ready to use when you need to put up your feet. We have a separate rocking footrest, which we don’t use all the time, so it is really useful to store it under the coffee table.


So, there you have it: some great ideas of what you can put under a coffee table that will be very useful and even become an attraction in the room. The simple idea of keeping it simple is a good one to follow. Don’t clutter the space under the coffee table. Use it cleverly or for effect.

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