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What to Know Before You Buy an Ottoman

An ottoman is a piece of furniture that is typically used as a comfortable footrest in front of a couch or chair, though you can also use it as a stool or even a coffee table. You’ll usually see ottomans in a formal living room or parlor – but they also work well in family rooms, or any other room where people might want to relax and put their feet up. If this sounds like an appealing addition to your home, here’s everything you need to know about ottomans!

What Is an Ottoman?

It helps to know exactly what you’re looking for as you shop for a new piece of furniture for your home. So, what counts as an ottoman? If it looks like a seat with no arms and no backrest, with a padded cushion on top of a solid frame, it’s likely an ottoman. In most cases, you’ll want to put your new ottoman in front of a couch or comfortable chair so your guests can put their feet up as they sit.
However, ottomans tend to be built to withstand the weight of someone sitting on them, which means they can also work as extra seating in your home. Additionally, an ottoman with a firm surface can act as a coffee table that is stable enough to hold food, drinks and remote controls. Some even open up – providing instant storage for your family or living room!

sectional sofa with ottoman

How Ottomans Have Evolved Over Time

oversized ottoman

Ottomans are originally from Turkey, also called the Ottoman Empire in the 1700s – and are where this piece of furniture got its name. At the time, ottomans were typically used as seating, since they had lots of cushions piled on top and often spanned a whole wall where people were relaxing. Over time, the Turkish people created a smaller version that could fit in the corner of most rooms.
When the French invaded the Ottoman Empire, they noticed that this small piece of furniture was comfortable as a footrest, so they brought the idea back home. Since then, ottomans have become popular around the world, not just as footrests and seating, but also as tables and storage solutions.

Types of Ottomans

Ottomans aren’t all the same. Some have specific uses that dictate the size, shape and material they come in. The following are the most popular types of ottomans.
ottoman coffee table

Ottoman Coffee Table:

This type of ottoman is firm, with a flat surface—with no buttons or tufting—so as not to spill anything you put on it. It can be any shape, and it’s likely to be made with microfiber, leather or chenille materials. The Bowen Oversized Ottoman is spacious and flat enough to double as a coffee table in any room.

storage ottoman

Storage Ottoman:

If you want a clever spot to store your blankets and pillows in the family room, consider a storage ottoman. This is usually square or rectangular, with a lid that either swing open on hinges, or can be lifted off completely. Some storage ottomans even have drawers for smaller items, like TV remotes. The Lucy Dark Grey Cocktail Storage Ottoman fits most living rooms, with plenty of space for magazines, throws and more.

glider ottoman

Glider Ottoman:

If you have a glider or rocking chair, you need a glider ottoman to go with it for a comfortable, gliding footrest. You can put this in a nursery, family room or any part of the house where you need a footrest that moves with you as you rock or glide. Most glider ottomans are square, with material that matches nearly any gliding seat. The Bailey Skirted Glider Ottoman is a good example of a gliding ottoman that would look nice in nearly any room.

tufted ottoman

Tufted Ottoman:

If you want an ottoman that looks nice enough to match an elegant room, look for one that’s tufted. This design is not only attractive but also comfortable, with plenty of cushioning for your feet as you rest them.
Now that you have some idea of which ottoman will suit your needs, you’re ready to start shopping. Browse the ottomans at Living Spaces today and let us know if you have any questions!

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