What Is an Ottoman? Uses, Features, and Benefits

What is an Ottoman Uses, Features, and Benefits

An ottoman is a versatile piece of furniture that serves as a footrest, seat, or storage solution. Originating from the Ottoman Empire, these upholstered seats have become popular in living rooms, bedrooms, and outdoor spaces.

The benefits of an ottoman are numerous. They provide a comfortable seating option, especially when paired with a low-profile sofa or chair. Ottomans also serve as a practical footrest, offering relief after a long day. Additionally, many ottomans come with built-in storage compartments, making them an ideal solution for organizing blankets, pillows, or other items.

The purpose of an ottoman is multifunctional. They can be used as a standalone piece or paired with other furniture to create a cohesive seating arrangement. Ottomans can also be used as a coffee table alternative, offering a flat surface for placing drinks, books, or decorative items.

What is an Ottoman?

What is an Ottoman

An ottoman is a piece of furniture, typically used as a comfortable footrest, stool, or seat, and can also be used as a table or storage unit.

The versatility of the ottoman furniture lies in its multiple uses across the home. Its uses are seating options, storage, table centerpiece, and footrest. Arms and back absence make it unsuitable for long-term slouching TV watching or reading. A large ottoman can form a central seating space for one or more people, especially with supportive pillows.

Additionally, the hollow center and hinged or removable lid provide a perfect hidden storage compartment for extra pillows, blankets, magazines, or whatever else you want to store. An ottoman can also be a great substitute for a coffee table.

Why Do We Call It an Ottoman?

The Ottoman, named after the Ottoman Empire, originated in Turkey and was introduced to Europe in the late 18th century. Serving as the main seating option in homes, it features a padded, upholstered seat or bench without arms or a back, often covered with cushions.

The versatile piece of furniture, traditionally used as a seating area, evolved to incorporate storage within its design through the use of hinged seats and central padded columns. Over time, ottomans became a staple in private members’ clubs and home decor, often serving as footstools, poufs, or tables.

Nowadays, they are commonly placed near armchairs or sofas in living rooms for additional seating and storage purposes.

What Are the Benefits of An Ottoman?

What Are the Benefits of An Ottoman

An ottoman offers multiple benefits, such as aesthetic elegance, multi-functionality (serving as a footrest, coffee table, or extra seating), storage options, comfort, mobility, and being kid-friendly. Additionally, it can maximize storage space, save space, and provide a space-saving solution. Some ottomans are also durable and stylish.

See the 24 advantages of ottomans below:

  1. Aesthetic Elaboration: The ottoman exudes a timeless elegance, effortlessly blending with various interior design styles.
  2. Functionality: Ottoman acts as an additional seating option when guests outnumber chairs.
  3. Housing Items: Provides discreet storage space for items like blankets and magazines.
  4. Relaxation: Serves as a leg rest, creating a cozy reading nook.
  5. Easy Movement: Easily movable compared to heavy furniture pieces, allows for flexible room rearrangement.
  6. Child-Friendly: Gentle contours and padded surface make it a family-friendly choice.
  7. Stylish Durability: Crafted from quality materials for style and longevity.
  8. Easy Maintenance: Often easy to clean, making maintenance simple.
  9. Extra Seating: Ottomans can act as chairs or benches, doubling as extra seating.
  10. Versatility in Size: Available in various sizes to fit different spaces and design needs.
  11. Coffee Table Alternative: This may function as a relaxed gathering space for entertainment.
  12. Forges Creative Space: Ideal for activities like reading, homework, or gaming.
  13. Hidden Storage: Provides clever storage options, some with a hinged top.
  14. Floor Space Management: Small in size to fit corners and easily tucked away.
  15. Tool for Decoration: Offers color options to act as a focal point and blend with room décor.
  16. Lounge Comfort: This can be used for comfortable lounging.
  17. Promotes Good Posture: Helps relieve back pain and promotes better posture.
  18. Space Saving: Ideal for tucking away when not in use.
  19. Stress-Free Incorporation: Easily blends with furniture and décor.
  20. Footrest Functionality: Originally meant for comfort, still serves as a footrest.
  21. Storage Benefits: Ottomans come with side storage pockets for accessibility to everyday items.
  22. Table Functionality: Can act as a coffee table or impromptu table surface during meetings.
  23. Design Enhancement: Brings color and a touch of extravagance to modern rooms.
  24. Relaxation and Mood Boards: Serves as a site for relaxation and creating mood boards.

What Are the Different Types of Ottoman Furniture You Can Add to Your Home

What Are the Different Types of Ottoman Furniture You Can Add to Your Home? 

Discover 15 diverse ottoman types suitable for enhancing the comfort and aesthetics of your living space. The list includes Cocktail Ottomans, Poufs, Tufted Ottomans, Smooth Ottomans, Ottomans with Storage, and more!

  1. Standard Ottoman: A traditional ottoman with a cushioned surface over a sturdy base, available in square or rectangular shapes and upholstered with leather, cloth, or synthetic materials.
  2. Pouf Ottoman: Also known as a bean bag ottoman, it has a softer structure without a solid skeleton, making great footstools for placement near couches.
  3. Sleeper Ottoman: A multi-functional piece that acts as a small bed, perfect for small apartments or homes without a guest room.
  4. Cocktail Ottoman: Often referred to as a coffee table ottoman, it features a table-like top on which drinks and food can be placed.
  5. Ottoman Glider: A footstool with gliders or wheels, enabling a gentle rocking motion to help relax legs.
  6. Tray Top Ottoman: Combines both a footrest and a tray for surface area to place snacks and drinks, while providing extra storage within.
  7. Novelty Ottomans: Unique shapes such as inverse pyramids, yin-yang designs, and raised metal frame options that add a playful and modern aesthetic.
  8. Fabric Ottoman: Provides the most versatility in terms of color, texture, and overall appearance.
  9. Leather Ottoman: Offers a rich, textured, and luxurious appearance, often found in various styles and shapes.
  10. Suede Ottoman: Known for its unique texture and feel, considered one of the most luxurious ottoman materials.
  11. Rattan Ottoman: Durable, life-proof, and lightweight woven material frequently found in patio furniture and living rooms.
  12. Tufted Ottoman: Boasts a detailed, fancy appearance with button tufting.
  13. Ottoman with Storage: Offers added functionality beyond traditional footrests, including hidden storage beneath the lid or a tray-like top with removable storage.
  14. Drawer Ottoman: Ottoman with a drawer hidden within the design.
  15. Nested Ottoman: Modular design, allowing multiple ottomans to be stacked, arranged, and repurposed, offering reconfigurability and placement versatility.

What Are the Different Types of Ottoman Furniture You Can Add to Your Home (2)

What Is the Purpose of Ottoman Furniture?

An ottoman is a versatile piece of furniture that can serve multiple purposes across a home, such as seating, storage, or a table centerpiece. It originated from the Ottoman Empire, where it was used as a low sofa with no arms, piled high with cushions.

An ottoman can be used as a footrest, storage, or as an alternative to a coffee table. It differs from a footstool as it may not be designed specifically for footrest purposes and can often match the fabric of the sofa or chair it accompanies. 

A pouf is a large cushion without a solid base, smaller than an ottoman, and not designed for storage or as a table. Ottomans can be used as seating when large enough, and some have a hollow center for storage.

Can an Ottoman Be Used as A Footstool?

Yes, an ottoman can be used as a footstool. Most footstools are around 18 inches in height, whereas ottomans can be much higher. For optimal use, the ottoman should ideally be around an inch lower than the sofa or chair. This versatile furniture can also serve as extra seating, a table, or a perch for pets.

What Is the Use of An Ottoman in A Living Room? 

An ottoman in a living room serves as a multipurpose furniture piece. It can function as a coffee table, footrest, or additional seating. Additionally, it offers an opportunity to experiment with various textures, fabrics, and colors that complement the living room’s design. Ottomans can also help reduce back strain, align posture, and provide comfort.

Is an Ottoman Necessary?

Ottomans offer versatility in interior design, providing extra seating, and storage, and completing a room’s aesthetic. They can accommodate children’s play and create additional seating space, enhancing the functionality and livability of your living space.

Should Your Ottoman Match Your Sofa?

While matching is considered traditional, it’s not a hard rule in interior decorating. The focus should be on creating a harmonious and complementary look. Different yet complimentary pieces can elevate your living room’s design. However, when choosing an ottoman, consider the fabric for foot comfort and the color for complementarity, ensuring it doesn’t clash with your couch.

What Is the Difference Between An Ottoman and Footstool?

A footstool is a low stool for resting the feet, often without upholstery, while an ottoman is a low upholstered seat without a back or arms.

Here is a table comparing the differences between footstools and ottomans, including their definitions, common uses, sizes, materials, heights, functions, histories, and versatility.

Footstool Ottoman
A low stool for resting the feet on when sitting A low upholstered seat without a back or arms
Typically used in the lounge and home office Can also be found in the bedroom at the end of the bed
Usually smaller than an ottoman and more space-savvy. Typically, bigger than a footstool and can have storage space under the lid
Wood, metal, or fabric Wood, metal, or fabric
Usually an inch lower than a sofa or chair when used as a footstool Varies, typically higher than a footstool
Can provide extra seating, serve as a coffee table for smaller spaces, or be used for resting feet Can also be used as a place for kids to sit, a side table, or to get down to ground level
Originated from the Ottoman Empire, traditionally used as a type of Turkish room furniture Historically used in the Ottoman Empire and can be considered fashionable to ‘dress up’ with a skirt
Can be used in a variety of ways including as a footrest, additional seating, or a small table Typically, bigger than a footstool and can have storage space under the lid

What’s the Difference Between a Hassock and An Ottoman?

While a hassock is a footstool only, an ottoman can come with or without storage. Although the words ‘ottoman’ and ‘hassock’ are often used interchangeably, a hassock is a solid ottoman (no storage space), typically found in church for kneeling, and a footstool is low to the ground and has little legs, meant for resting feet.