The most striking designs, like , combine several of the key elements we’ve laid out in this guide.
To help lead you toward the perfect ottoman for your life and home, we’ve broken down the options into several categories. First, we discuss overall design, highlighting the four basic categories of ottoman that you’ll find. Next, we cover the range of shapes that your new ottoman may appear in.
This determines placement, function, and aesthetic value. We then go over the varying upholstery materials you’ll come across. Finally, since utility is as important as visual appeal, we cover a handful of storage options you should be aware of when shopping for a new ottoman.
Table of Contents
The general design of your ottoman is the perfect jumping off point toward making your decision. You can go for more traditional designs, for simple comfort and style, or seek out one of the more exotic or utilitarian pieces that can stand out in any room or grant you superior functionality.
Standard, traditional ottoman design features a cushioned surface over a sturdy base, in square or rectangular shape. Whether leather, cloth, or synthetic upholstered, the ottoman is designed to serve the basic functionality with style and class.
A pouf ottoman is basically what it sounds like – basically, a puffed structure. Although not always spherical, the innards will be softer material, without a solid skeleton. The term is used interchangeably with bean bag ottomans.
This breed of ottoman is also known as the coffee table ottoman. The standout feature 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 treys that fit perfectly upon the surface.
The cube ottoman has grown exponentially in popularity in recent years. The modular shape allows for multiple ottomans to be stacked, arranged, and repurposed with freedom. These appear in cloth and leather variants, and often include hidden storage beneath the lid.
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. Wide models can comfortably stand before a sofa, while some large circular pieces can stand with several chairs in orbit, as a conversation centerpiece.
Square and rectangular shaped ottomans are the most common pieces you’ll find. Square in particular allows for more placement choice
The rectangular shape allows for wider surface area, multiple spaces for feet to rest, and often, more storage options within an ottoman. These can be found in standard cushion top or cocktail style.
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.
The oval ottoman gives off a particularly luxurious air. With the width to accommodate more than one person at a time, they’re a functional and visually appealing variant.
So-called novelty shapes do not contain themselves to one variant. With an abundance of creativity and an open marketplace, a surfeit of innovative pieces have emerged. We are glad to share a handful of them. This first piece is an inverse pyramid shape sitting on a singular platform.
10. Novelty (continued)
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.
11. Novelty (continued)
Standing on a raised metal frame, this unique plush leather ottoman is both playful and modern.
No matter the style or shape of your ottoman, you’re going to want it to look perfect for your home. Choosing the correct upholstery for your space and tastes is of paramount importance. The texture and tone of your ottoman will define, at a glance, how it looks and fits in.
Fabric allows for the most versatility and options in color, texture, and overall appearance. With the availability of a bold range of colors, patterns, and prints, a fabric ottoman can be found to fit within virtually any space.
Leather upholstery is the quintessential luxury option, granting a rich sense of texture and style to any space. Often in brown, but found in black as well, leather ottomans are found in a wide breadth of style and shape to suit any space.
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 surroundings.
Suede holds a truly unique texture and feel that is unmatched. With its softly undulating look when lightly brushed, the tone is alive and always fresh. This is not the most common ottoman upholstery but it is one of the most luxurious.
Rattan is a woven material often seen on patio furniture that has nonetheless made its way into more adventurous living rooms. It’s a tough, life-proof material that’s both light weight and sturdy.
Button tufted design imparts a detailed, fanciful look to any fabric or leather cushioned furniture.
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 comfort furniture? Storage equipped models come in a variety of configurations, and we have laid out a handful for you here.
18. Open Lid
The most common method of ottoman storage involves a lid that is either hinged or lifted off to access the interior.
An ottoman equipped with a drawer can be perfectly subtle combination 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.
Nested ottomans combine many useful aspects of several designs, including storage capacity, reconfigurability, and versatility of placement. Models like the one pictured here allow for a large amount of storage, tablet dining, and an array of separate pieces for feet or for seating. The smaller pieces can be conveniently hidden away during everyday use.
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