Furniture plays a crucial role in our homes and offices. While all furniture serves important functions, some pieces stand out as being exceptionally helpful and versatile. In this article, we will explore the most helpful furniture piece you may ever own – the ottoman.


Ottomans are upholstered furniture pieces that typically have no backs or arms and are intended to serve as extra seating, footrests, or tables. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles to suit any decor. Here are some of the key benefits of owning an ottoman that make it such a valuable addition to any living space:

Extra Seating

One of the main appeals of an ottoman is the ability to use it as extra seating when you have guests over. Having an ottoman provides a flexible seating option that can be moved around easily to accommodate more people. It can also be used as alternate seating instead of chairs for a more casual gathering. The seat height of an ottoman makes it convenient for both adults and children.


An ottoman can double up as a footrest, allowing you to kick back and relax by resting your feet on it. This makes it ideal next to armchairs or sofas to provide leg support and improve posture. For the elderly or those with mobility issues, an ottoman footrest prevents pressure buildup in the lower limbs and enhances comfort.

Additional Storage

Many ottomans have hollow spaces inside them to provide hidden storage. This storage can be used to tuck away extra linens, blankets, toys, or anything else you want to keep out of sight. The storage space makes ottomans even more functional.

Extra Table Space

The flat surface at the top of ottomans allows them to serve as impromptu side tables for holding food and drinks, books, remotes, or decor pieces. The tabletop can provide useful space near seating arrangements.

Style and Design

Ottomans are available in endless materials like leather, velvet, or linen and in designs ranging from vintage to modern. This versatility makes it easy to find an ottoman that matches your existing decor seamlessly. They come in various shapes like square, rectangle, round etc. You can use them to accent your living room or bedroom.

Affordable Price Point

Given all their uses, ottomans provide excellent value for money. They are typically more budget-friendly than other multifunctional furniture like sofa beds or storage benches. The reasonable pricing makes ottomans easily attainable.

Let’s now look at the key factors to consider when purchasing an ottoman and the different ways to utilize this useful piece of furniture.

What to Consider When Buying an Ottoman

Purchasing an ottoman may seem straightforward, but here are some important factors to keep in mind:


Ottomans come in a range of sizes, from small square ottomans to large rectangles. Consider the available space in the room and seating requirements to choose the appropriate size. Measure the spot where you want to place the ottoman to ensure it will fit.


The common ottoman shapes are square, rectangular, oval and round. Square and rectangular ottomans work well against walls, while round and oval ones can serve as cocktail tables. Choose a shape that suits your needs and fits with your existing furniture layout.


Ottomans are upholstered in fabric, leather, velvet or other materials. Fabric ottomans should have a removable slipcover for easy cleaning. Leather or vinyl provide durable wipeable surfaces. Select a material that matches your room’s aesthetic.

Storage Space

Many ottomans have lift-off lids or hinged tops to reveal internal storage. Estimate your storage needs and prefer an ottoman with ample capacity. Make sure the storage access is convenient to use.

Construction Quality

Examine the ottoman structure for signs of sturdy construction like reinforced corners, durable frames, and quality upholstery. Cheap lightweight ottomans may not last. Opt for stable well-built ottomans.

Intended Use

Consider if you want to use the ottoman mainly as a footrest, extra seating, or a coffee table. Some ottomans have inbuilt features like trays or flip-tops suitable for particular uses. Choose an ottoman designed for your intended purpose.


Ottoman prices vary based on size, construction quality, materials used, and features. Leather ottomans or ones with storage cost more. Set a budget and look for good value at reasonable prices. Compare prices across brands and stores.

With the right ottoman that meets your needs, you can enjoy the many benefits this versatile piece of furniture provides.

Ideal Ways to Use an Ottoman

Here are some recommended ways to utilize an ottoman optimally:

Pair It With Your Armchair

Position an ottoman near your favorite armchair or lounger to prop up your feet and relax fully. Choose a matching ottoman in terms of height, size, and material to complement the armchair.

Create Extra Seating Space

Use square or rectangular ottomans as stools around coffee tables for additional seating. They take up less space than bulky armchairs or sofas. Arrange multiple ottomans together for flexible modular seating.

Use It As a Coffee Table

A large upholstered ottoman can double up as a casual coffee table in living rooms or family rooms. The soft surface prevents accidental bumps unlike solid tables. Use trays to hold snacks, drinks and remotes on the ottoman.

Bedside Table Alternative

An ottoman with internal storage is useful as a bedside table to keep your essentials like phone, lamp, books etc. handy while you are in bed. It is safer than a regular nightstand as there are no sharp edges.

Kid’s Room Accent Piece

An ottoman adds a fun pop of color and extra seating in a kid’s room or play area. It can also store toys, books, blankets inside. Look for durable, stain-resistant ottomans for high-traffic kid’s spaces.

Home Office Footrest

Place an ottoman under your home office desk to elevate your feet during long work hours. This promotes good posture and reduces fatigue. Look for ones with tilt-tops to use as occasional tables too.

Entryway Seat

An upholstered bench ottoman in the entryway provides seating convenience when putting on shoes. It can also hold hats, keys, umbrellas and other items. Use a moisture-repellant fabric if placing it in a high-traffic area.

Patio/Deck Seating

Carry a lightweight ottoman outdoors to use as extra deck seating. Look for outdoor-rated ottomans in weather-resistant fabrics like polyester or olefin. Bring it indoors when not in use to prolong its life.

Store Kid’s Toys

Ottomans allow you to organize kid’s toys smartly. Use zippered pouches inside the ottoman to separate items. Teach kids to put toys back in the ottoman when not playing. A lid keeps contents out of sight.

With some creativity, you will find endless ways to use ottomans throughout your living space. They lend both functionality and style.

Styling An Ottoman – Décor Ideas

Ottomans are extremely versatile pieces of furniture. Here are some creative ways to decorate them stylishly:

Layer Textiles

Layer handwoven blankets or quilts over the ottoman to create dimension and texture. Coordinate colors and patterns for a designer look. Add some throw pillows for extra flair.

Use as Coffee Table

Style a large tufted leather or velvet ottoman as a chic coffee table. Stack some decorative coffee table books and add a tray holding flowers and candles.

Store Games/Puzzles

Stash board games, jigsaw puzzles, or card decks inside an ottoman with ample storage room. Top it with a textured lid and use as a handsome table.

Book Storage

Place novels, magazines, and other reading material within the ottoman cavity. Top it with some bookends and a potted plant. Use as a library-style accent piece.

Display Artwork

If your ottoman has a flat lid, place artwork like framed photographs, paintings, or decorative plates on top to exhibit as art. Anchor art pieces with museum wax to avoid shifting.

Entryway Seating

Upholster a bench ottoman in a fun patterned fabric for use in an entryway. Top it with a large glass vase of branches or dried pampas grass.

Kids Room Seat

Add a tufted round ottoman in your kid’s room for extra play space to read or lounge. Stash plush toys inside for added interest. Use bright colors and patterns.

Pet Bed

Turn a basic ottoman into a plush pet bed. Look for durable upholstery like corduroy or denim, and add a washable cover and blanket on top for comfort.

Garden Stool

Select a ceramic garden stool ottoman in a glossy finish for indoor/outdoor use. When not in use, place it by an entryway to hold flower pots or umbrella stands.

Window Seat

Position an ottoman by a window to create a cozy reading nook. Add patterned pillows and a soft throw blanket to create an inviting space.

An ottoman offers endless possibilities to add style anywhere. Use your creativity to design a piece that reflects your personal tastes.

Types of Ottoman Furniture

Ottomans are available in a wide array of styles. Here are some popular ottoman types to consider:

Tufted Ottoman

Tufted ottomans feature buttoned upholstery for a classic, elegant look. They work in traditional or modern settings in fabrics like leather, velvet, linen or chenille. Tufting provides a tailored, finished appearance.

Storage Ottoman

As the name suggests, storage ottomans have hollow interiors to stow away items. Lift-top and hinged lid designs allow easy access. They come in cube or rectangular shapes and leather, vinyl or fabric covers.

Pouf Ottoman

Pouf ottomans feature deep, loose cushions in boho-inspired shapes like crescent, oval or croissant. Common materials include wool, velvet, and tapestries in Moroccan or tribal prints. Light, transportable poufs add laidback flair.

Bench Ottoman

Bench ottomans have elongated surfaces making them ideal for entryways, bedroom benches or coffee tables. Many provide flip-top storage. Upholster in linen, cotton or performance fabrics. Add turned wood legs for a classic look.

Cube Ottoman

Cube ottomans have identical length and width for versatile placement. Use leather versions as stools or upholstered ones for seating. Cube sizes vary from 15 to 24 inches. They can stack together and store neatly.

Outdoor Ottoman

Outdoor ottomans come in water-resistant, all-weather materials that withstand sun, rain, and snow. Look for powder-coated aluminum or steel frames and high-performance olefin or acrylic fabrics. Use outdoor ottomans pools, patios or porches.

Sphere Ottoman

Round, spherical ottomans serve as accent pieces in living rooms or bedrooms. They have curved, spill-proof edges. Choose upholstered, embroidered styles or wooden bead-encrusted Moroccan ottomans for bohemian flair.

There is an ottoman shape and style for every space. Choose one that aligns with your interior design needs and personal tastes.

How to Care for Your Ottoman

Follow these tips to keep your ottoman looking its best for years:

  • Vacuum regularly – Use a handheld vacuum with an upholstery brush to remove surface dust and debris from your ottoman. Vacuum leather ottomans gently.
  • Spot clean spills – Immediately blot any liquid spills on a fabric ottoman using a clean cloth. Avoid rubbing as it can set the stain. Use mild soap and water to spot clean. Disinfect leather ottomans if needed.
  • Steam clean yearly – Give tufted or upholstered ottomans an annual steam clean to sanitize and brighten them. Use the low moisture setting. Allow it to dry fully before using.
  • Rotate cushions – If your ottoman has removable cushions, rotate and fluff them weekly to prevent uneven wear and compression marks. Plump cushions before sitting.
  • Inspect legs and frame – Check under the ottoman periodically to ensure legs are secure with no splits in the wood or metal. Tighten any loose joints or screws.
  • Condition leather – For leather ottomans, apply leather conditioner every few months to prevent drying and cracking. Wipe away excess. Buff to restore shine.
  • No wet items – Avoid placing wet glasses or vases directly on upholstered ottomans to prevent moisture damage to the interior padding and wood frame.

With some basic care, your ottoman will retain its beauty and function for many years of fulfillment as your most helpful piece of furniture.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ottomans

Here are answers to some common ottoman queries:

Are ottomans bad for your back?

No, ottomans can help improve back health when used properly. Sitting with your legs raised reduces spinal pressure. Position an ottoman so your thighs are parallel to the floor and keep your back upright against a chair. Avoid excessive slouching.

How much weight can an ottoman hold?

Most ottomans can support 150-300 lbs depending on size and construction. Large rectangular ottomans hold more weight. Excessive loads can damage frames. Avoid standing or jumping on ottomans. Refer to manufacturer weight limits before use.

How do you make an ottoman more comfortable?

Add a memory foam topper, contoured cushions or layers of blankets to make an ottoman seat more plush and cozy. Adjust the height to allow feet to rest flat on the floor. Place a lumbar support pillow behind your lower back when using as a seat.

Should an ottoman match a couch?

Matching ottomans to your sofa or chairs can help pull together a coordinated look. However, it is not mandatory for them to be identical. Complementary ottomans in a similar tone or material also work well. Mixing styles and colors adds interest.

Are ottomans still in style?

Yes, ottomans are a classic furniture piece that have retained popularity over time due to their versatility and functionality. They work in both traditional and contemporary home decors. New shapes, fabrics and storage features keep ottomans highly relevant.


A well-chosen ottoman can be the MVP of your home. With its ability to multitask as extra seating, a footrest, coffee table, and storage solution, this handy piece of furniture provides comfort and convenience throughout the home. Investing in a quality, durable ottoman suited to your lifestyle is a decision you are sure to appreciate for years to come. Let the ottoman become your living space’s most helpful and hardworking element.