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10 Alternate Coffee Table Ideas that are Easy and Affordable

By Olivia Hughes

Looking to veer away from predictable furniture? Today’s post is packed with more alternative coffee table ideas than you can poke a stick at. Some are a little DIY, some require no work at all, and all of them are pretty remarkable.

Coffee tables are an opportunity to do something unexpected in your living room, but all too often we tend to gravitate toward the norm in this area. And I absolutely understand why; it can all feel too hard-basket to attempt tricky DIY activities when you’re not sure you can pull off the desired outcome. But things are changing, especially with sustainable design being such a focus in homes nowadays.

So let’s take a look at 10 alternative coffee table ideas that’ll become talking points at your place!

1. The Pallet Coffee Table

These bad boys are popping up all over the place of late and there’s a good reason for it; they’re incredibly cheap to implement! I see these everywhere in my suburb and often ponder how fab it would be to get one, paint or stain it, add some castors to the bottom and pop in in my lounge room. A low coffee table like this is great for a small space as your eye glides right over it. And the different style directions you can take it in are almost endless.

2. The Wicker Chest Coffee Table

I love this one. If you have a country or Provincial style room, popping a wicker chest like this in the middle of the space is genius. Not only does it play perfectly in those two interior design schemes, but it’s packed with storage as well. The straps will keep it closed from prying eyes and hands (I’m looking at you, kids), and you can decorate the top of it with ease. Just be careful about the weight you put on top. These wicker chests can’t handle heavy items.

3. The Upholstered Ottoman Coffee Table

Who says you have to go for a hard surface like marble or glass in your living room? I’m personally a huge fan of adding in additional softness in a living room through an upholstered ottoman. Of all the alternative coffee table ideas in this post, I’d say this is the closest one to an actual coffee table. So you don’t want to veer too far from the norm or get your DIY on at all. So many of the major stores stock them.

4. Multiple Side Tables as a Coffee Table

This is one of my many style tips for decorating a small living room: side tables as coffee tables. This is such a good idea because it allows for a lot of versatility when you move to your next home. Side tables pushed together like this form one large coffee table but can be easily pulled apart and moved around the room if you need them to. Getting three of the same style and colour is the key to pulling this look off, and I’d opt for squares or hexagons for a clean look.

5. A Family of Logs as a Coffee Table

If rustic or boho is your style then a family of logs is your go-to alternative coffee table idea. This vibe here is a relaxed and earthy one, and as with the side table concept further above, this allows for a lot of versatility. I love the logs in the image above at different heights. They bring a lot more interest to the room when staggered like this. You can of course store-buy these if your DIY skills aren’t very up to par. But you could also easily pull this look off with raw tree stumps.

6. The See-Through Trunk Coffee Table

Of all the alternative coffee table ideas we’re exploring here, this one is by far the most gasp-worthy. Not only does this amazing, transparent trunk act as a coffee table in its own right, but it also allows for maximum keepsake showcasing. A home is not a home without all your precious memories displayed, and this is by far one of the best ways I’ve seen to do just that.

7. A Cluster of Stools as a Coffee Table

Never underestimate the power of clustering a few stools together to create your very own instant coffee table. And sure you can find budget ones from places like IKEA, but why not go for something a little sleek, glossy and colourful? They’re great for a space that needs extra seating too – so when friends come over they have somewhere to park their behind. The architectural shapes here have me swooning big time.

8. The Vintage Drum Coffee Table

Now I know this isn’t an alternative coffee table idea you’re going to encounter on your daily travels. But why not hit some of your local salvage or antique stores and see what oddities they have on offer? This drum coffee table isn’t going to work in every style of home, but if you have an eclectic vibe going on at yours, I think this is a stunning example of thinking outside the box. Some have popped glass on top to protect the drum, and I say this is a winning idea.

9. Off-Cut Timber Pieces as a Coffee Table

Fancy yourself a bit of a DIY guru? Then why not give this coffee table a go? I love the organic nature of this piece. The timber paired with the metal legs gives it a relaxed and rustic feel; totally at home in a coastal, industrial, boho or eclectic interior design scheme.

10. The Industrial Cable Reel Coffee Table

These were the hot fad before the palettes took centre stage, but they’re still a nifty and on-trend piece to bring into your home. They come together pretty easily and with minimal spend; it’s basically just sanding back and painting that’s required to convert this piece into an indoor delight.


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