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An Ottoman Adds Versatile Style to Your Home

Discover the versatility and beauty of an ottoman. These furniture pieces have been classics for centuries. In fact, several hundreds of years ago, they were a central seat, given the same importance as our modern-day sofas, sectionals and accent chairs.

Used for multiple purposes and always an obvious design focus, ottomans are having a comeback moment. New styles, high-end fabrics and extra features put these bench-like pieces high on the top of any modern homeowner's must-have list.

What Is An Ottoman?

This  piece of furniture triples as a seat, a footrest and, in many instances, a storage space.

They can be square or round, but they are often overstuffed, at least along the top. This extra-cushy style gives them a luxurious feel, but their exceptional functionality makes them an essential in the living room or entertainment den.

Placing Your Ottoman

Deciding where to put yours determines what kind of feel the room has overall. Traditionally, they have offered wide expanses that look best in front of a sofa, but the ones of today are high-style and transcend decorating rules. Place yours where you'll get the most use out of it.

  • Ottoman coffee tables are still designed for propping up your feet while reading or watching movies, but many of them come with lower apron shelves and an upholstered top. Place yours in front of a sofa just like you would place a coffee table.
  • If your choice is bench-style with a long silhouette, place it perpendicular to other upholstered seating to add casual seats in a den or sitting room. You could also place it against a wall in living room or even an entryway or mudroom.
  • The storage ottoman tends to be a little more substantially sized. Place it alongside furniture, at the arms of a couch, in front of a chair or next to a floor lamp.

Using Your Ottoman for Storage

Many people decide to select this furnishing because it doubles as a storage bench. This is a great way to keep throw blankets handy for cooler seasons or cozy nights. You can fill yours with games or toys if you have children or let your pet have a special space where you stash his or her toys and leash.

  • A storage style usually features a lid that lifts with a hinge. The storage is within the frame of the furniture piece itself. This gives you a deeper storage space than if you just went with a traditional drawer or shelf.
  • If you like traditionally open bench styles and still need storage, choose one with a lower apron shelf. You can place books, trays, hats, slippers or stacks of newspapers and magazines underneath the seat.
  • They're a great storage bench in tandem with a sleeper sofa in a guest room. Together, the two pieces let you create a makeshift guest room that looks like a regular sitting room or den when no one is visiting.

Selecting The Best Material for You

Deciding upon the best material for your home depends on where you're placing the piece and what other furniture you already have or plan to get at the same time.

  • If you have a lot of Mission or craftsman pieces in your home, you may want to incorporate wood elements. This is easiest when you decide on a bench version. The base is made of wood and the top is cushioned and upholstered.
  • If you choose a traditional storage bench, look for tufted seats in twill or other long-fiber fabrics. This traditional fabric style is exceptionally durable and versatile enough to move around your home during design refreshes.
  • Homes with leather furnishings look best when you pair your ottoman to match the rest of the leather.

Take note that the best way to make sure furniture upholstery matches is to order all your pieces at once. For instance, sectionals and ottomans made of leather would almost certainly have the exact same color. Leather is dyed in batches and Pottery Barn furnishings are made to order, so your leather all comes from the same lot when you order it at the same time.