An ottoman, also known as a footstool, tuffet or pouf. is an upholstered padded seat or bench with neither back or arms and is commonly used in the living room as a footstool, small seat or improvised coffee table. The design was introduced in England as far back as the 1800’s and it’s simplistic yet highly useful design ensures it is still a popular feature in modern day homes. The modernists amongst us, however, often see the ottoman as a dated or limited feature linked to traditional and fussy living room suites destined for bungalows. This is, however, far from the truth. With some patience and access to the internet there is a fantastic range of stylish, modern and individual styles perfect for the most contemporary of design schemes.
The most common style ottomans are cube shaped leather boxes often with tufted design detail across the top or side panels. Available in a variety of shades and sizes these are ideal for most homes and complement nearly every colour scheme and style. If bought separately to your suite, incorporate the ottoman in to the design by adding leather lamps, cushions or blinds in a similar shade. Or for a real design statement choose leather in bright white, pea green or red.
Alongside the simple box shape there are styles which also provide concealed storage solutions by lifting the padded lid or incorporating drawers or shelves underneath. These are a great choice and ideal for storing family games, blankets, books and magazines. Do consider, however, whether the additional weight created by the storage will limit your ability to move the ottoman around the room.
For more contemporary or individual homes there are also a huge range of innovative and whacky designs to choose from. For example, why not consider an inflatable style (ideal for small houses as the ottoman can be hidden away for parties and big occasions), a natural and tactile wicker foot stool, an elegantly retro style with neat chrome legs or pucker up with a lip shaped ottoman.
Finally, we must not forget the use of upholstery fabric as an ideal and practical way to cover an ottoman and incorporate it perfectly into your design scheme. For modern homes consider using vivid bold patterns, PVC, neat stripes or a plain but bold colour. For more traditional schemes consider delicate and complementary floral or striped fabric, damask material or rustic checks. Whatever your choice it is advisable to consider the pattern and colour used in context with the other elements within the room. For example, create a sense of balance by using the same material as your curtains for the ottoman, or repeat the texture from your scatter cushions by using a heavy woollen, suede or faux fur fabric.
Whatever your choice to ensure the ottoman sits well and proportionally within the space it is important to consider the size and shape of the piece in relation to the other furniture within the room. If you have rectangular couches opt for an ottoman of similar proportions or circular to soften the look. Similarly, if your couch is curved opt for a round ottoman to accentuate the smooth lines. The piece should be somewhat smaller than your living room suite and act to enhance and contribute to the focal point of the room and not detract from the seating.