Using ottomans in home décor is not new, and according to the Encyclopaedia* Britannica (not Wikipedia) the ottoman has been with us since the late 18th century when it was introduced to Europe from Turkey (the Ottoman Empire). Its origins are irrelevant to its current use, which is as a footstool or a seat.
Some ottomans consist of a small padded seat standing on four legs, while others are in the form of a padded box with a hinged lid – the storage ottoman. These have several uses in the home of which seven shall be discussed here.
1. The Ottoman as a Footrest
Many people love to stretch their legs out when sitting. Whether they are reading a book, watching TV or simply resting or napping, people like to elevate their feet and legs. The biological effect is to reduce the stress on the heart in pumping blood up through the non-return valves in the veins of their legs,
By keeping your legs raised, your heart has less work to do and you consequently use less energy so can relax easier. The padded top of an ottoman permit you to do this comfortably, and many use this type of furniture with their recliner rather than use the footrest that comes with the furniture.
2. Optional Seating
Whether it is styled in the form of a box or a chair on short legs, an ottoman is upholstered and can be used as a seat. Perhaps not as comfortable as an armchair, but sufficient as an emergency or alternative seating option in your home during parties or when a crowd of friends descend upon you. It can be stored away under a table and pulled out when needed – or rolled out if your ottoman is fitted with casters.
3. Ottoman Coffee Tables
Most well-made ottomans are solid enough to be used as coffee tables – and not just in an emergency! Many use their ottoman as a coffee table period! Your ottoman is usually lower in height than your chair or sofa, and is perfect as a coffee table. Some ottomans have a shelf under the top that can be used to store magazines, so apart from being upholstered they are more table-like than ottoman-like!
4. Storage Ottomans
Storage ottomans are virtually upholstered boxes with padded lids. The lids are hinged and open up to provide storage space that can be used in a number of ways. For example, an ottoman can be used as a coffee table with a sofa bed, and also to store the bedding for when the sofa is needed as a bed. It can be used as a piano stool, storing sheet music and other items.
They can be used in children’s rooms for toys, computer or video games and controllers, and in your bedroom as a handy seat for dressing while storing bedding, spare pillows or your nightclothes. These are just examples – an ottoman can be used to store whatever you need it to.
5. Accent Pieces
While ottomans are footrests, seats and storage containers, they can also be used as accent pieces that pick out a color in your décor and display it is bright vivid color. In fact, it can scream out to everybody in the room “Look At Me!” – I am beautiful, so don’t ignore me. Ring a bell? Ottomans can be used as occasional furniture, for storage of these ugly bits and pieces you need in your room but want hidden, and as an extravagant item of furniture showing itself off.
6. Getting to Know You
If its use as a footrest or as seating is not sufficient relaxation, ottomans come in many different sizes, and double sized version can be used for relaxation or to cuddle up to your favorite person. They are armless loveseats, so the only way to avoid falling off the edge is to hold onto each other – or so you can claim!
7. Kids Love Ottomans – And Vice Versa
Ottomans are child friendly – if a small child falls off an ottoman he or she is unlikely to come to any harm. They can be upholstered in child-friendly fabrics, and can offer them a playing surface when they are sitting on the floor. They can be used to sit in front of the TV with a games controller and used as a hurdle in the hall for racing, or as a horse when riding!
These are just 7 uses for an ottoman in a normal household, although you can likely think of more. It is an extremely underrated and versatile item of home furniture that most households do not even own. Those that have taken the step to acquire one can no longer do without it.