How to Use an Ottoman
Whether you’re decorating a new home or giving your room a mini-makeover, the furniture and decor items you select should enhance the practical and chic look of your layout. Ottomans are exceptionally versatile furnishings, able to serve several different purposes in a single room and suit nearly any style and color scheme.
Since ottomans can elevate your interior design in so many ways, it can be difficult to know how to use them, where to place them and which colors and materials can deliver the look you’re going for. Luckily, this article contains tips and information to help you decide how to use an ottoman in almost any area of your home.
What Is an Ottoman Used For?
Thanks to their compact sizes and functional features, many people believe that an ottoman or pouf is the perfect multipurpose accent piece for any room of any size. Depending on the primary purpose of the room you’re decorating, you might consider using your ottomans in one of the following ways.
Placing an ottoman in front of your favorite arm chair creates a spot for kicking back and relaxing at the end of a long day. Small models with plush, upholstered frames and soft velvet or fabric provide extra cushioning to help your tired feet feel cozy. Meanwhile, a leather, microfiber or textured ottoman with large dimensions offers space for you and your partner to prop your feet up and get comfy.
You can also use your ottoman as an extra seat in a pinch. When your current seating arrangement runs out of room, simply wheel an ottoman with casters over so guests can sit beside your sofa or sectional. To ensure maximum comfort, select a padded ottoman or tufted velvet stool that provides ample cushioning and support.
A storage ottoman has the same fabric or velvet materials as normal footstools. However, they also feature built-in compartments that allow you to keep various odds and ends out of sight but within reach. Most people use these ottomans to hold extra throw blankets and toss pillows until they need them for cozy movie nights and get-togethers.
Looking for a chic alternative to a standard coffee table? Consider setting up a tufted, fabric or leather cocktail ottoman. Rectangular footrests are usually the best option for this since they have similar dimensions to a traditional coffee table. Again, these ottomans often have leather or tufted tops and storage compartments underneath, so you’ll need to top them with a serving tray that lets you:
- Organize living room essentials like TV remotes, magazines and eyeglasses atop your ottoman
- Make the ottoman surface flat enough to hold drinks and appetizers during dinner parties
- Display tabletop decor like flower vases and figurines
- Move items off the ottoman when you need to open the lower storage compartment
Where Do You Put an Ottoman?
Although tufted footstools and small velvet ottomans are a staple of many living rooms, you can place these versatile accents almost anywhere in your home. For example, you could use a cocktail ottoman or a round leather footstool with rich brown upholstery in your den to create a dignified, sophisticated aesthetic.
If you’re going for a more charming, refreshing atmosphere in your guest room, consider adding a tufted ottoman with a floral pattern to the space. You can also find small velvet ottomans with round tops and swivel bases to serve as a comfy vanity seat in your dressing room or makeup area.
Want to create a cozy spot to take breaks in your home office? Pair a velvet cocktail ottoman with a plush sofa to establish a comfortable relaxation corner beside your desk. Planning to use your bonus room as a fun entertainment area for the family? Use a blue, beige or gray storage ottoman to keep board games and video game controllers organized.
Ottoman Colors and Styles
Once you determine the best purpose and placement for your ottomans, you can select a footrest that suits your chic layout and palette. Depending on what gorgeous living room, den, bedroom or bonus room look you’re hoping to create, you might consider ottomans in the following decor styles and colors.
Clean lines, simple silhouettes and muted or neutral colors are the hallmarks of modern design. As such, most modern cocktail ottomans feature rectangular, square or cube-shaped frames. While most mid-century modern ottomans come in rich, warm earth tones, the perfect ottoman for a standard modern living room could be:
- White: If you want a light, airy look in your modern family room, try out a white footstool with a lower storage compartment and leather or fabric upholstery. A cream-colored option with soft velvet material could make a comfy finishing touch as well.
- Black: A black ottoman with a sleek, square shape and velvet or fabric materials works well with nearly any color palette or design, making them excellent for modern layouts.
- Beige: Beige ottomans are another chic option for a modern layout since the simple beige fabric can complement almost every color scheme.
- Gray: For a stunning complement to green or blue seating arrangements, consider a gray footstool or cocktail ottoman with velvet or fabric upholstery. Choose a square one with built-in storage compartments to give your layout a sleek and practical boost.
While you can find square velvet, leather, fabric and storage ottomans in contemporary styles, this design tends to focus more on graceful curves that make the layout feel chic and glamorous. As a result, you can bring home a contemporary ottoman with a rounded silhouette and tufted, leather or velvet fabrics.
Incorporating splashes of bold color is another attribute of contemporary design, so while you may find neutral gray, black and white round ottomans in this style, you might prefer to use round cocktail and storage ottomans in the following shades:
- Blue: Available in bright aqua and deep navy shades, blue ottomans promote a refreshing or calm look for your layout. Bring home a round blue velvet footrest, a model with soft fabric or upholstery or a blue cocktail ottoman with velvet material and built-in storage compartments.
- Orange: Vibrant orange ottomans with soft fabric or supple leather material lend comfort and eye-catching contrast to rooms with neutral decor.
- Green: Whether you prefer gorgeous jewel tones or deeper forest shades, the velvet or fabric of a green footstool delivers a regal, refreshing pop of color to your setup.
- Pink: A round ottoman with bright pink leather or velvet upholstery puts a fun and cheerful finishing touch on your design.
- Red: Perfect for warming up a cooler color palette, red ottomans feature vivid scarlet fabric or dark burgundy velvet material to bring bold, dynamic energy to your living room layout.
- Yellow: With shades like sunflower and gold, yellow ottomans can feel like a ray of sunshine in any living room, office or den.
A classic or traditional footstool with turned wooden legs and nailhead trim evoke an elegant atmosphere for your cozy and chic setup. Most feature deep brown leather or fabric upholstery, storage compartments and decorative stitching or button tufting. Transitional ottomans can complement a traditional layout while incorporating a few modern elements into your design.
Now that you have an idea of some of the many ways to use an ottoman in your home, all that’s left to do is find your perfect footstool and get started. You can shop by color, material or even by browsing designer pieces from our Cindy Crawford collection to find an ottoman that you can use in your home every day.