If someone were to write an ode to a piece of furniture, chances are it would be an ottoman. They’re beautiful, useful, and often gem-like. They can complement sofas and armchairs or stand alone, and they can easily be moved from room to room. But it’s precisely this extreme versatility that makes it so hard to choose one when you’re ready to buy. Worst of all, you run the risk of getting cold feet, and buying a “safe” one that you don’t really love.
To help you make the decision, we found seven great examples of how designers have used ottomans in rooms they designed. By figuring out in advance what aesthetic purpose you want the ottoman to serve, you’ll increase the likelihood that you’ll get one that will make you heart go pitter patter every time you see it.
Use the ottoman to create a burst of color
Wow! Look at how this aubergine ottoman draws your eye into the center of an otherwise neutral space. It’s a fun way to add a big punch of color–and if you get tired of it in one place, you can always cover it with a large tray, or move it to another area of the house.
Here’s another fun, tangerine-colored example in a basement family room designed by House of Jade Interiors:
Use the ottoman to create high contrast
We love the placement of this charcoal gray ottoman in this living room designed by Huntington Beach Interior Designers. The tufting along the top and the nailheads along the sides give it a crisp, tailored look. But because it’s the only really dark piece in this otherwise cheery and colorful seating area, it definitely adds a modern touch.
Use the ottoman to provide pattern
In this very traditional room designed by Molecule Studio, it’s pretty how the pillows on the wing chairs match the ottoman, both in terms of the fabric and the round shape. In this case the ottoman adds a very graphic element because of the pattern in the cloth and the tufting on top.
How to get this look
We found the ottoman on Grandin Road! It’s called the Lauren Leather Storage Ottoman and it costs $399. It comes in lots of great colors, from blues and browns, to green, red, and more.
Give the ottoman a triple purpose
The ottoman in this room designed by Design Manifest provides a place to rest your feet, a coffee table, and a bookshelf for magazines and coffee table books. We love the combination of textures created by the wood frame and the the tufted linen top.
Let the ottoman function like a sculpture
Or like two sculptures, as in this room designed by Stephen Fletcher Architects! We love the fact that these are tufted all over. They make us think of marshmallows, they look so squishy, and the pale blue velvet only adds to that effect. When it comes to glamorous contemporary furniture, these get a blue ribbon from us.
Let the ottoman add a bit of glam
In this Palo Alto remodel, Kathleen Bost Architecture + Design was working with an open floor plan and a fairly neutral palette. The two purple velvet pillows add small touches of color, but the faux zebra-striped ottoman really takes center stage, we think.