Ottomans & Footstools
Ottomans & Footstools
Ottomans, also called footstools, are upholstered independent seating elements designed without back supports. Typically found in a living room as a central furniture piece contributing to the conversation zone of the shared seating area, ottomans today are designed with a range of styles and sizes that often coordinate with related furniture elements. The function and importance of the ottoman within a domestic space has transformed over centuries, with the ottoman that we know today being understood as a multifunctional stool, bench, storage space, or pouf. Ottomans are most often shaped as being square or circular with square ottomans being easily combined as an extension of sofa elements.
Ottomans trace their origins to the Ottoman Empire, where they were central furniture pieces in communal living spaces. Initially, they were broad, upholstered benches, often without legs, used for seating in gathering areas. As these pieces migrated to Europe, their function evolved, becoming more compact and primarily serving as footrests. By the 19th century, the ottoman had become a staple in Western households, sometimes offering storage options, while still maintaining its primary function for relaxation.
The future of ottomans embraces multifunctionality, sustainability, and aesthetic versatility. As living spaces demand flexibility, ottomans will feature hidden storage, transform into tables, or expand as extra seating. Sustainable materials, from repurposed woods to recycled fabrics, will dominate designs. Brands like Pottery Barn and Wayfair offer ottomans in varied styles, from rustic to contemporary. With a focus on both form and function, ottomans will continue to be integral, adaptable furnishings, enhancing comfort and aesthetics in diverse interiors.
Ottoman couches earned their name due to their extensive usage in residential seating within the Ottoman Empire (c 1299-1922). The ottoman was originally designed as a large seating platform piled with cushions, and eventually shrank into the form we know today.
Ottomans come in a large variety of shapes and sizes that range in height from 13”-20” (33-51 cm). Most ottomans are sized to pair with their coordinated furniture sets and are designed with matching heights.
Ottomans are upholstered freestanding couches that can be used exclusively or can combine with armchairs or sofas as extended seating areas. As multifunctional furniture pieces, ottomans can serve a variety of seating styles and may also include integrated storage.