19 August 2019

what is an ottoman

Households in Australia are growing from 8,196.6 thousand in 2017 to 9,160.3 thousand by the year 2020. And it's the residential sector generating most of the demand for furniture products within Australia. Ottomans have been in use as an essential part of home decor since the late 18th century. But what is an ottoman? Some people refrain from buying one because they're unsure of how to use one. We want to change that by providing you with this amazing buying guide. Keep reading to learn what you can use one for and what to look for when buying one.

What Is an Ottoman?

They have been in use in Europe since they were introduced by the Turks in the late 18th century. At the time of their invention, around the 1700s, Turkey was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. This is how these versatile, stunning pieces of furniture got their name. In the beginning, ottomans were used as seating. Owners piled cushions on top. Often, they spanned the entire wall and allowed people to relax.

Early Versions of Ottomans

Early versions were designed as a piece of fitted furniture. It was intended to go entirely around three walls in a room. A smaller version evolved which was designed to fit in the corner of a room. During the 19th century, ottomans became octagonal or circular. They often had arms coming from the centre diving the seating space into sections. Others had a central padded column. This was to support a plant, statute or allow someone to lean against it. They also often came with hinged seats underneath allowing people to store magazines and books.

Ottomans Today

Today people use ottomans because they provide an additional visual layer to their home decor. They're also comfortable and functional pieces to add to your den, living room or bedroom. Ottomans can either be a padded, upholstered seat or a bench without arms. They can be used as footrests or stools. Often, they're paired with club chairs, recliners or sofas. It may be that the ottoman is used as a coffee table in those situations.

Shapes of Ottomans

Ottomans come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, depending on how you want to use them. one of the most popular is a round ottoman.


Modern rectangular ottomans are really a combination of coffee tables and storage benches. They offer a generous surface area which offers great display potential. Inside there's plenty of room to store items. Often, a rectangular ottoman serves as a stunning living room centrepiece taking the place of the more traditional coffee table. It can also be used to round off a cosy nook. They also work well as a substitute for a bench.

Round Ottomans

If you're looking for a combination of versatility and comfort, consider getting a round ottoman. Round ottomans also add dimension and depth to spaces where square and rectangular pieces of furniture make the room look more like a grid. Round ottomans work well as communal focal points. And if you combine one with a circular couch, you end up with a contemporary look that's unique. Round ottomans also work well in smaller rooms as they don't take up too much space.

Cube and Square

You can easily partner a square ottoman with nearly every type of couch. Pairing a square ottoman with an upholstered chair gives the room a unified look. They work well as substitutes for coffee tables, especially if your room already has too many hard angles and lines. Cubed ottomans instead will soften up the appearance of any room. Our Brooklyn modular bean bag sofa includes a square ottoman that can be used indoors and outdoors.

Versatile for Smaller Spaces and Uses

If longer, rectangular ottomans are too large for your space, you can get the same look and function by using a pair of square ottomans or even a trio of cubed ottomans. You can place them together and unify them using a long table runner or tray. You can also keep then apart and place them around your room. Consider pairing your ottoman with a bean bag coffee table.

Materials Used to Make Ottomans

Before buying an ottoman, consider your lifestyle. Leather is popular thanks to its durability and is less likely to tear or fray. However, leather is more prone to grease stains making them less than ideal for homeowners with younger kids. If you like the look of leather, you can save money by opting for vinyl. Microfiber is another good choice since it's easy to maintain and clean. It's also soft and comfortable to sit on.


You can also use slipcovers to keep your ottoman protected or to hide existing stains, rips or tears. You can also use slipcovers to change up the look of your room.


Rattan is great for both indoor and outdoor patios. Wicker seating looks even more inviting when accompanied by a quality rattan ottoman. Rattan is light, durable, and makes it easy to create your own unique look. You can even paint white rattan to customize it to your own tastes. Make sure you keep rattan ottomans away from being exposed to extreme heat and humidity. Clean it occasionally to ensure it lasts.

Beanbag Ottomans

That may seem odd to some since an image of a 1970's hippie is what usually pops into mind when people think of bean bags. But three designers working at an Italian Furniture company who created this iconic piece of furniture. Beanbags work great as footstools and are great for use in outdoor settings. You can find unique styles that will complement and update your outdoor furniture. They're also extremely lightweight and affordable.

Memory Foam

Memory foam ottomans are extremely affordable. They're made from a polyurethane material that's either elastic or supportive. It all depends on the degree of heat in contact with it. Memory foam is great for those who suffer from chronic foot pain. They're also lightweight and you can change up your look using your favourite slipcovers.

Ottoman Designs

Ottomans have multiple purposes. You can hold your drinks on them, put your feet up, and even store household items in them. And they do it without sacrificing visual style.


Ottomans are the perfect place to store those extra blankets and throw pillows you have in your living room. And you can put your feet on top of them. They can be rectangular, square or even round. They come with a lid that either opens on hinges or can be lifted off entirely. Most average small square black storage ottomans can store three folded blankets. If you have additional items to store such as board games, consider opting for a bench ottoman with extra storage. Some storage ottomans also come with drawers to store smaller items like your tv remote.

Button-Tufted and Pillow-Top

If a fancier look is what you're after, pillow-top and button-tufted ottomans are the best choice. They can easily match an elegant room while providing comfort. Tufting keeps the ottoman's cotton and foam filling from shifting or bunching, which often happens after repeated use. However, these aren't the right choice if you want a coffee or tray table ottoman.

Coffee Table and Tray

Ottomans to use as coffee and/or tray tables are very popular. Coffee table ottomans let you rest your feet on the coffee table while creating an all-in-one centrepiece for smaller spaces. Tray ottomans help you give your space a more personalized look. They're mobile and you can separate pieces.

A Variety of Shapes, Sizes, Colors, and Uses

They're also versatile. You can use your ottoman tray as a laptop stand or if you want to enjoy breakfast in bed. These come with flat surfaces and are available in most shape and size. Most are made using leather, chenille or microfiber.


Glider ottomans work best with gliders and/or rocking chairs. They make a comfortable footrest. Glider ottomans are perfect for use in nurseries, family rooms or any part of your home where you need a footrest that moves with you as you glide or rock.


Not everyone has a guest bedroom in their home. And sofa beds are often uncomfortable or too expensive. The perfect solution is a sleeper ottoman. These ottomans provide you with a compact bedding option for when house guests show up. They look amazing in any setting and easily convert to a single bed when you need one.

Console Table with Accent

Try coordinating your console, coffee or end table with an ottoman. By pairing an ottoman with other tables in your den or living room, you can create a look that's trendy and unique.


Since ottomans have been around since the 1700s, you can also find vintage ones available on the market. You can use them to add colour or to match with your existing vintage furniture.

Find Your Ottoman Here

What is an ottoman? It's the versatile must-have piece for indoor and outdoor use in your home. If you're looking for a beanbag to complete your look, we can help. Click here to start shopping.

Previous article:
Next article:
Related posts