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What Is An Ottoman Used For?

Every furniture piece you bring into your home should serve some purpose, be it a place to sit or something to look at. The more purposes it serves, the better your return on your investment. As traditional ottoman design styles have evolved so have the uses for the furniture piece and the ways in which we style them, leaving people to question “what is an ottoman used for?” and “how to decorate an ottoman?” What if we told you an ottoman could be used and styled in a multitude of ways and, in terms of pieces of furniture, can give you one of the best returns on your investment? This marvelous side-kick will come in handy, trust us. Here’s how...

What is an Ottoman?

An ottoman is a flat piece of upholstered furniture typically used in the family room. Originally, ottoman furniture served the strict purpose of a place to put one’s feet. It matched whatever sofa or armchair it came with and was small in stature, considering it simply needed to provide enough space for one’s soles.

This alone is reason enough to purchase an ottoman. After all, who doesn’t need a place to kick up their feet? Today, though, ottoman furniture is much more versatile and can serve many purposes and many rooms. Today's ottomans come in a wide variety of styles and sizes from large and low-to-the-ground to tufted and bench-like to round and poofy. Given the vast array of styles available, it makes sense that the ottoman’s jobs have expanded beyond just being a footrest. 

5 Ways to Use an Ottoman

Maximize your investment and take the time to learn how to use an ottoman five ways.

1. As a Coffee Table

When placed in the center of your living room, an ottoman can act similarly to a coffee table. You can put your feet on it, your drinks on it, and your decor on it. All you’ll need is a tray to be a flat, hard surface for beverages and more, and you’re set. Style it right and it can easily become a statement centerpiece in your family room. 

2. For Storage

Given that many ottomans are covered in fabric, they often easily disguise secret compartments that can be used to stow away items you don’t want out such as remotes, blankets, toys, seasonal decor, you name it. Storage is a super functional way to use an ottoman, especially if your living space lacks drawers and cupboards that serve this purpose. Truly, wherever you need additional storage, in an entryway, or at the foot of your bed, is a great place for an ottoman. 

3. For Extra Seating 

An ottoman can provide additional seating in a room as well. If an ottoman is firm and placed correctly, people will use it as an extra seat organically. If you plan to use an ottoman or two as an extra seat, we suggest placing it not in the center of the room but opposite an armchair, which will not only balance the space but allow for seating on both sides.

When you select one of our custom ottomans, you can personalize both the size and support of the ottoman so it provides the level of comfort that ensures your guests will stay awhile… but not too long. 

4. For a Footstool

There’s nothing quite like hitting the couch or chair after a long day and kicking your feet up—something you can only do if you have a place to kick them up on. Insert the ottoman. An ottoman’s cushiony surface is the perfect place to rest your tired soles and relax. After all, this is why it was originally created.

If you plan to use your ottoman primarily as a footstool, select a durable fabric that won’t stain or wear out. If you design your ottoman with us, you can take advantage of Inside Weather stain-resistant performance fabrics, purrfectly pet-friendly selections, and commercial-grade options that will stand up to your feet, and more. All of our ottomans feature water-resistant nylon casing and removable and interchangeable cushion pads that allow for easy dry cleaning and spot-cleaning. 

5. As a Side Table

A small ottoman is a great addition to any space because it can serve so many purposes. Set it next to an armchair or sofa to act as a side table and pull it out to provide a cushiony seat when you have an abundance of guests. When you use it as a side table, consider adding a small tray, a magazine, or a book so you have a flat place to set a mug.

Whichever way you swing it, an ottoman is a versatile furniture piece with many uses. It doesn’t have to serve just one of these uses, either. At any given time an ottoman can be both a footstool and a coffee table or both a side table and additional seating. Given its versatility, you can also move an ottoman from place to place and room to room to serve you wherever you need it.