Is there anything ottomans can’t do? They can serve as seating, as tables, as footrests, and some can even provide hidden storage. If you think of ottomans solely as the matching accompaniment to an armchair, you are missing out on the full functionality and design potential of these multitasking marvels.
We’ve rounded up a few images that show just how many ways ottomans can enhance your rooms. Once you see these, you may wonder how you ever lived without them!
Large ottomans like this one ground a seating area and provide surface space just as coffee tables do, but they can also be cleared off and used as extra seating when you’re entertaining a crowd. Tip: For maximum stability, use a tray when displaying objects such as vases. Photo by Raquel Langworthy Photography; room designed by Stephanie Kraus.
This ottoman has the added advantage of being on wheels so that you can easily move it around. Another plus: The leather is very durable. If opting for a fabric ottoman, look for one with stain-resistant upholstery. Photo by Lesley Unruh; room designed by Matthew Caughy; styled by Anna Surbatovich.
Fun fact: Ottomans originated in the Ottoman Empire, though the original upholstered seating was probably more like a banquette and placed against a wall. When Europeans brought the style west from what is now Turkey, they named it after its place of origin.
Ottomans can serve as side tables too. An added advantage of a small round ottoman like this one is that it provides complementary curves to a room dominated by straight lines.
A second sofa in this sitting area would create pleasing symmetry but make the space appear closed off and crowded. Instead, designer Bunny Williams opts for a pair of ottomans for balance without claustrophobia. Photo by Tony Vu; styled by Andrew Stewart.
Sometimes two ottomans are better than one. They’re also a great way to introduce pattern or an accent color into a room.
An open console table is an ideal spot for tucking footstools beneath when they’re not needed. And if you do need to use the console as a desk or work surface, you have a seat ready and waiting. Photo by Aubrie Pick; room designed by Chloe Warner.
A bench-style ottoman is a perfect companion to the foot of a bed. A storage ottoman not only offers seating but also a place to stash extra blankets. Photo by Nicole LaMotte.
Ottomans without legs or corners—especially poufs like these—are ideal for kids’ rooms. There are no sharp edges, and little ones can move lightweight poufs wherever they fancy.