Sometimes a large coffee table is just not the right choice for the area in front of a couch. Large or even standard-sized coffee tables may be overwhelming in a small room. Here are some alternatives to coffee tables from about.com:
A Large Ottoman
As homeowners are gearing furniture selections to comfort, the ottoman has taken center stage in front of many sofas. Really, an ottoman is just a large padded or upholstered stool or bench. It’s a perfect piece to use in front of a sofa, as its soft top offers comfort for legs, the upholstery fabric contributes color and texture to the room, and the large flat to is ideal for placing a tray or books.
A Pair of Small Tables
Two small square tables, placed side by side, give a slightly more formal look than the more modern large coffee table. A matched pair looks best, but a mismatched set of small tables, of exactly the same height, can be used together with matching tops. If you have a pair of small antique tables, this may be the perfect place to use them.
A Picnic Bench
For a very rustic or Cottage Style home, a long, low, wooden bench is a perfect touch. The long flat top works well for placing books and beverages without adding too much formality.