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A Quick Guide for First-Time Ottoman Buyers

21 Jun

ottoman blog picture

Here is a quick guide for first-time Ottoman buyers

Shapes || Materials || Designs

The Ottoman is an attractive piece of furniture that conveniently blends with the décor of any room. There are rectangular versions which complement your living room set and square ones you can use in the study to rest your feet while enjoying a great book.

Ottomans come in various sizes, shapes, materials, and purposes. If this is the first time you are buying this exquisite piece of furniture, this buying guide has everything you need to know to help you buy one.

What is an Ottoman?

It’s a functional piece of add-on furniture to the living room or den, consisting of a padded and upholstered seat or bench. It may or may not have armrests and can be used as stools or paired with sofas and recliners.


It’s always better to decide on its shape based on its surrounding furniture and not vice versa.

  • Round Ottoman

Round Ottomans complement round sofas well to give a contemporary look and uses minimal space. It’s depth and dimensions create the perfect focal point in a room. However, its round look may not match a room with angled furniture.

  • Square Ottomans

This is the most popular of the lot because they complement practically any sofa. It is a good supplement for coffee tables and softens rooms full of angled furniture. Most people prefer customizing square Ottomans to fit the dimensions of a loveseat, sectional or even an exquisite sofa. You can even line up a few square or cube Ottomans to get a decent table and is a perfect alternative if you find rectangular ones too bulky for your room space.

  • Rectangular Ottomans

Rectangular Ottomans are widely used as an alternative to coffee tables, or as an additional place to sit. It is ideal to use as a living room centerpiece thanks to its generous surface are, storage and display potential.


Ottomans are made using different materials which you should choose based on your lifestyle.

  • Fabric

Fabric is a safe choice because it blends well with most furniture. However, while a leather ottoman does look good with a fabric sofa, it’s not the same in case of a leather sofa and fabric Ottoman.

However if your other living room furniture has lots of fabric, then there are various ottoman fabric upholsteries to choose from. Microfiber attracts attention with its bright colors, making it an ideal centerpiece. It’s also not only soft and comfortable but also easy to clean and maintain.

  • Leather

It’s true that leather is durable and doesn’t easily tear or fray like fabric. However, it may not be the right choice if you have kids as it easily stains from household items like ink, oil and peanut butter.

Of course, leather does make a comfortable covering for any furniture, and its effects are better if it’s the right color. Black leather ottomans look great in large spaces while beige leather ones give the ideal finish to a small room.

  • Memory foam

Memory foam is an affordable material that depending on the heat surrounding it is either supportive or elastic in function. It’s an ideal choice as a footrest because it helps those with chronic foot pain. It’s also lightweight, simple and goes well with any slipover.

  • Rattan


Rattan ottomans are favorites for outdoor patios because it makes wicker seating look inviting. Not only is it light and durable, you can also use a few brush strokes to personalize rattan and turn a white rattan ottoman into a modern pink or green one. The only maintenance it requires is an occasional cleaning, and keeping it away from extreme heat and humidity makes it last a few years.

Then again, if you are worried about the ottoman material getting damaged, you can always buy slipcovers. They not only protect the ottoman, but can also be changed according to the changing seasons.


Ottoman designs depend on its purpose, which is plenty. They can be used alone or with a sofa, as some additional storage space, as a footrest or as a tray for your cocktails and coffee cups.

  • Storage Ottomans

They give you additional space in your cluttered home by making it look more organized. It’s just right for storing things like toys, DVDs, and remotes, which usually end up scattered around the house.

Bigger ottomans easily store your fleece throws and cashmere blankets while giving some place for your feet. While the average small, square ottoman has sufficient space for some neatly folded blankets, a bench ottoman is better for storing board games.

  • Table and tray ottomans

The coffee table Ottomans are ideal for holding your cups of coffee. You can also use the ottoman as a footrest in case you want to enjoy your cup of coffee while relaxing on your reclining sofa. There are also cocktail ottomans with a flip top to use for holding drinks, like a serving tray.

Tray ottomans can be personalized as per usage, thanks to its versatility, mobility and the fact that it can be separated. You have the option to use it as your laptop table, to surprise your wife with breakfast in bed or use as a simple tray for any seat at home.

  • Tufted Ottomans

Tufted ottomans make the ideal chair ottoman or footstool as the tufting keeps its foam and cotton filling from bunching or shifting with constant use. The button-tufted versions look elegant and classic but are surprisingly affordably priced. Tufted ottomans, however, should not be used as a tray or coffee-table because it’s uneven top makes it unsafe for cups and glasses.

  • Gliders

Glider ottomans are an interesting part of nursery furniture because it’s so comfortable for children to sleep in. It also provides the necessary support when you sit in rocking chairs and recliners that don’t have any support.

  • Sleeper

Ottoman sleepers offer comfortable bedding for your occasional house guests. It’s large and comfortable for your guests to sleep on, and the fact that it’s convertible is really something interesting and unique.  

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