Ottomans are the ultimate multi-tasking furniture, serving as footrests, extra seats, and storage solutions. But with so many ottoman types and their vast range of shapes, materials, and designs, how do you choose the perfect one?
From sleek cubes to tufted poufs, I’m covering the array of styles that can elevate your living room. I’ll share the unique benefits of storage ottomans and specialty shapes like gliders so that you know what to look for when picking out this piece of furniture.
22 Ottoman Types You’ll Love
My goal in this article is to help lead you toward the perfect ottoman for your life and home, and I’ve broken down the options into several categories. First, I discuss overall design, highlighting the seven basic categories of ottomans that you’ll find.
Next, I’ll cover the range of shapes that your new ottoman may appear in. This determines placement, function, and aesthetic value.
I’ll then go over the varying upholstery materials you’ll come across. Finally, since utility is as important as visual appeal, I’ll cover a handful of storage ottoman options you should be aware of when shopping for a new living room ottoman.
The general design of your ottoman is the perfect starting point for making your decision. You can go for more traditional designs or seek out one of the more exotic or utilitarian pieces that can stand out in any room or give you superior functionality.
1. Standard Ottoman
Standard, traditional ottoman design features a cushioned surface over a sturdy base, in a square or rectangular shape. Whether leather, cloth, or synthetic upholstered, the ottoman is designed to serve basic functionality with style and class.
2. Pouf Ottoman
A pouf ottoman is what it sounds like – a puffed structure. Although not always spherical, the innards will be a softer material without a solid skeleton. The term ‘pouf’ is used interchangeably with bean bag ottomans. Poufs make great footstools when placed near your couch.
3. Sleeper Ottoman
A sleeper ottoman is like a bed in a box. It looks like a regular ottoman but has a hidden surprise – it can turn into a small, comfy bed when needed, perfect for overnight visitors.
This is a great purchase if you live in a small apartment looking to save space or if you don’t have a guest room and regularly host guests.
Additionally, some sleeper ottomans come with storage space inside, making them super practical.
4. Cocktail Ottoman
This ottoman is also known as the coffee table ottoman. The standout feature of the cocktail ottoman is a more table-like top upon which drinks and food can be placed.
Some models will have a reversible cushion top, with a solid table on the other side, while others have trays that fit perfectly upon the surface.
5. Ottoman Glider
An ottoman glider or glider ottoman is like a rocking chair for your feet. They come with gliders or wheels that enable them to move back and forth, giving your legs a gentle rocking motion to help you relax better.
They can also be paired with glider chairs or rocking chairs, making them a great addition to a nursery (where they can be used to soothe fussy babies) or any comfy corner of your home.
6. Cube Ottoman
The cube ottoman has grown exponentially in popularity recently. The modular shape allows for multiple ottomans to be stacked, arranged, and repurposed. These appear in cloth and leather variants and often include hidden storage beneath the lid. It can also serve as an ottoman coffee table.
7. Tray Top Ottoman
A tray top ottoman serves a dual purpose. On one hand, it provides a comfortable place to put up your feet, acting as a traditional footrest. On the other hand, it features a flat, tray-like surface in the middle that can serve as a convenient spot to place snacks and drinks and other living room essentials.
In most tray top ottomans, the tray is removable, revealing extra storage space inside. This makes it an excellent choice for decluttering your living room while adding a touch of stylishness to your decor.
Once you’ve chosen the ottoman design that works best, you’ll want to narrow your choice down to the shape you prefer. The shape largely determines where and how you can place your ottoman.
8. Square Ottoman
Square and rectangular shaped ottomans are the most common pieces you’ll find. Square in particular, allows for more placement choices in your living room.
9. Rectangle Ottoman
The rectangular shape provides a wider surface area, multiple spaces for feet to rest, and often, more storage options. These can be found in standard cushion tops or cocktail style.
10. Round Ottoman
Round ottomans range the most in size, from basic pouf designs for one person, to sprawling models meant as centerpieces for an array of furniture. The design is inviting and adaptable to many different living room configurations.
11. Oval Ottoman
The oval ottoman gives off a particularly luxurious vibe. They’re functional and visually appealing, with the width to accommodate more than one person at a time.
12. Novelty Ottomans
Novelty shapes can vary drastically in how they look. I think these are pretty fun pieces, and can even be good conversation starters when guests visit. This first piece is an inverse pyramid shape sitting on a singular platform.
The yin-yang ottoman has cropped up as a popular option lately. Combining to form a perfect circle, yet separating into unique, discrete pieces, the design is as attractive as its inspiration.
Standing on a raised metal frame, this unique plush leather ottoman is both playful and modern. It’s a sleek design, and you’d likely find ottomans like this in an elegant room.
Ottoman Upholstery Material
No matter the style or shape of your ottoman, you will want it to look perfect for your home. The texture and tone of your ottoman will define, at a glance, how it looks and fits in with your space.
13. Fabric Ottoman
Fabric allows for the most versatility and options in color, texture, and overall appearance. With a bold range of colors, patterns, and prints, a fabric ottoman can fit within virtually any space.
14. Smooth Ottoman
A smooth ottoman is made using fabric from plush and soft materials like velvet, microfiber, or silk. These ottomans provide a luxurious feel, offering lots of comfort to help you relax. Their seamless, sleek surfaces and the variety of vibrant colors they come in make them a versatile addition to any room, effortlessly blending with various decor styles.
15. Leather Ottoman
Leather upholstery is the quintessential luxury option, granting any space a rich sense of texture and style. Leather ottomans are often found in various styles and shapes, typically in brown or black. While not as common, you can find leather ottomans in white or fun colors.
Leather ottomans work well in man caves, especially if the rest of the room has a darker vibe.
16. Velvet Ottoman
Velvet can add close-up textural detail that virtually no other material offers. Typically used on fancier, luxurious models, a velvet upholstered ottoman can spice up a room or sit perfectly at home, depending on the surroundings.
17. Suede Ottoman
Suede holds a truly unique texture and feel. Depending on the direction the suede is brushed, it can give off different appearances. This is not the most common ottoman upholstery, but it is one of the most luxurious.
18. Rattan Ottoman
Rattan is a woven material often seen on patio furniture that has made its way into living rooms. It’s a tough, life-proof material that’s both lightweight and sturdy.
19. Tufted Ottoman
Button tufted design imparts a detailed, fancy look to any fabric or leather cushioned furniture, particularly a tufted ottoman.
A final important aspect to consider when purchasing an ottoman is the storage situation. Would you like added functionality for your ottoman, beyond its traditional use as comfortable furniture? Storage-equipped models come in a variety of configurations, and I have laid out a handful for you here.
20. Open Lid Ottoman
The most common method of storage ottoman involves a lid that is either hinged or lifted off to access the interior.
21. Drawer Ottoman
An ottoman equipped with a drawer can be a perfectly subtle combination of furniture, allowing storage within a piece in a non-obvious manner.
The drawer can be placed on an ottoman with high legs, not requiring the bulky body of standard examples. These are perfect for holding remotes and other convenient items.
22. Nested Ottoman
Nested ottomans combine many useful aspects of several designs, including storage capacity, reconfigurability, and placement versatility. Models like the one pictured here allow for a large amount of storage, tablet dining, and an array of pieces for feet or seating. The smaller sized ottomans can be conveniently hidden away during everyday use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind of Furniture Is an Ottoman?
An ottoman is primarily a low, upholstered footstool designed for resting the feet while sitting in a chair or sofa, enhancing comfort and relaxation.
However, ottomans are versatile pieces of furniture that can serve multiple functions in the home. They can be used as additional seating, storage, or as a convenient surface for placing trays, books, or decorative items.
What Shape Are Ottomans?
Ottomans come in a variety of shapes to suit different preferences. The most common shapes include rectangular, square, oval, and round ottomans.
Ottomans can also be custom-made, designed with irregular shapes to fit specific spaces. The shape you choose should depend on your intended use and the overall aesthetic you’re looking to achieve.
What Are the Different Styles of Ottomans?
Ottoman brands come in several styles and designs. The different styles of ottomans include traditional, contemporary, storage, cocktail, pouf, cube, tufted, novelty, leather, sleeper, and tray top. You can also tailor an ottoman style to suit your taste in design, material, shape, and size.
Ottomans are versatile and functional furniture pieces that not only provide extra seating, footrests, or storage but also serve as decorative elements that enhance the aesthetics of any space.
From the classic elegance of standard ottomans and the beauty of more modern designs to the practicality of storage ottomans and the inviting comfort of fabric and leather options, there’s an ottoman for every room and style.