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How To Choose Ottomans & Poufs 

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When you want to kick back and relax after a long day, an ottoman or pouf offers the perfect place to rest your feet. They are ideal space-saving pieces of furniture.

But an ottoman can be so much more than a footrest; it provides an anchor point in the center of your living area, it can become additional seating for guests or make a statement about your style. The key is finding the right style ottoman or pouf to suit your home décor.

Here are some professional tips and tricks to help you make the most of your ottomans and poufs to create an inviting and interesting living space.

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Should I Get an Ottoman or a Pouf?

Many people use the terms ottoman and pouf interchangeably; however, while each of these pieces performs effectively the same function as a low stool or footrest, they are different.

Poufs

Ottomans

Which Shape Ottoman or Pouf Should I Choose?

Due to the versatility of ottomans and poufs, there are hundreds of shapes available. When it comes to choosing the right shape ottoman or pouf, consider the function of the piece. Some popular shapes include:

Round or cylindrical poufs and ottomans adapt well to a range of different styles and living room configurations. They can also add a point of contrast in a room that predominantly features minimal, clean lines. Still, they can also complement more traditionally styled rooms, including shabby chic or French country, due to the classic shape.

If you are deciding between a round pouf or an ottoman, consider how the piece will function. If you plan on using the item as a makeshift side table, a rounded pouf won’t be able to support a tray, cup or book without falling over. However, a flat-topped streamlined ottoman can hold your coffee cup or magazine securely.

Multi Color Cotton Round Pouf Ottoman
Cream Dark Java Bonded Faux Leather Solid Wood Storage Ottoman
Gray Black Metal Round Standard Velvet Ottoman
Beige Vinyl Manufactured Wood Round Tufted Cocktail Ottoman
Taupe Cream Medallion Polyester Blend Walnut Solid Wood Round Storage Ottoman
Gold Black Round Standard Velvet Ottoman

Cube-shaped poufs and ottomans have seen a considerable rise in popularity over the years as they can be easily stacked or rearranged to suit your changing style and function needs. Cube ottomans often feature a removable lid that offers storage for magazines, books or throw rugs and can be reversed to create a side table or coffee table.

Choose a cube ottoman or pouf if you have limited seating or living space as they are the most versatile shape. Fabric or leather cube-shaped ottomans and poufs are perfect for modern, urban and industrial styles as they match the clean lines of the décor. However, a multicolored fabric cube pouf would blend well with bohemian or eclectic styles and could anchor the more organic shapes often used in these types of décor.

Charcoal Gray Polyester Blend Square Cube Storage Ottoman
Sharkfin Gray Velvet Solid Manufactured Wood Square Cube Ottoman
Brown Faux Leather Solid Wood Square Cube Ottoman Set
White Brown Connie Polyester Wood Square Cube Ottoman
Gold Patina Espresso Manufactured Wood Rectangle Cube Storage Ottoman
Black White Polyester Blend Plastic Square Cube Ottoman

Both rectangle and square ottomans offer a classic design that suits any décor depending on the fabric and color selection. The flat surfaces of these ottomans make them ideal for use as both a footstool and coffee table.

Rectangular ottomans have an elongated shape that can fit multiple pairs of feet, making it suitable for couples, families, or people who love entertaining. They are also the best choice for narrow living areas as they allow for a better flow of traffic. Square-topped ottomans offer more placement options, whether in front of an armchair or as the central feature of the den.

Gray Linen Manufactured Wood Rectangle Tufted Storage Ottoman
Light Brown Faux Leather Manufactured Wood Square Tufted Cocktail Ottoman
Beige Polyester Blend Manufactured Wood Shelves Square Tufted Cocktail Ottoman
Cream Velvet Black Solid Manufactured Wood Plastic Rectangle Tufted Storage Ottoman
Dark Brown Bonded Faux Leather Solid Wood Tufted Square Cocktail Ottoman
Blue Linen Blend Solid Wood Rectangular Tufted Storage Ottoman

Which Size Ottoman or Pouf is Best for My Living Space?

Choosing the size of your ottoman or pouf depends on the proportions of the room and your living room furniture. For a harmonious living room design, aim to keep the size of your ottoman or pouf to scale with your living room furniture. But don’t be afraid to go for a larger piece if it will improve the functionality and versatility of your space.

An oversized ottoman can make a dramatic statement in a richly decorated traditional living area but can overpower and cramp a smaller modern style space. An extra-large pouf positioned casually around the entertainment unit, or coffee table creates a luxurious yet cozy atmosphere that invites conversation, but in a room with sleek, minimal furnishings, it may look out of place.

Gray Velvet Rectangle Large Tufted Cocktail Ottoman
Cotton Blend Square Large Pouf
Gray Bonded Faux Leather Solid Manufactured Wood Rectangle Large Tufted Storage Ottoman
White Chrome Faux Leather Manufactured Wood Large Tufted Storage Ottoman
Gray Polyester Blend Wood Large Square Cocktail Ottoman
Black Chrome Faux Leather Solid Manufactured Wood Large Rectangle Tufted Ottoman

If you are still unsure about which size to choose, a medium-sized ottoman or pouf offers a satisfactory compromise and can be used in a wide variety of ways to enhance the function and style of your home.

Medium poufs are ideally suited for adding extra seating to a living area without taking up too much space. They can also be repositioned in front of armchairs or sofas without looking disproportionate.

Beige Gray Polyester Solid Manufactured Wood Medium Storage Bench
Blue Fabric Polyester Blend Solid Manufactured Wood Medium Rectangle Storage Ottoman
Ivory Polyester Blend Rubberwood Medium Tufted Specialty Cocktail Ottoman
Cream White Linen Blend Solid Manufactured Wood Medium Wedge Tufted Storage Ottoman
Linen Velvet Upholstered Manufactured Wood Medium Specialty Cocktail Ottoman
Dark Gray Polyester Blend Solid Wood Medium Specialty Storage Ottoman

Create a versatile space by using small nesting or modular ottomans that can be split to be used as seating or combined to create a single makeshift table. Smaller ottomans and poufs in novelty styles can add a touch of luxury to a modestly decorated room.

Another element to consider is the height. If the piece is too high relative to the sofa or armchair, it will be uncomfortable to place your feet. However, if the piece is too low, it can make it inconvenient to use as a table and may not provide adequate storage space. The ideal height for an ottoman is between 15 and 22 inches. Measure the height between the sofa seat and the floor to gauge the best height ottoman for your living space, especially if you are using it as a footrest.

White Polyester Blend Metal Solid Manufactured Wood Small Round Ottoman
Dark Blue Polyester Small Round Pouf
Red Faux Leather Plastic Rectangle Standard Small Ottoman
Heathered Beige Linen Polyester Blend Solid Manufactured Wood Small Standard Square Ottoman
Brown Beige Solid Manufactured Wood Specialty Standard Small Tufted Ottoman
Navy Faux Leather Solid Wood Small Square Cube Ottoman

How to Find the Right Color Ottoman or Pouf?

The color of your ottoman or pouf offers you an opportunity to express your style. If you have a traditional, shabby chic or country style room, matching the color of the upholstery to your current living room furniture can help the piece blend in with the rest of décor.

However, you don’t need to match the color exactly. Consider using an alternative shade or complementary tone to add depth to your room. A beige sofa matches well with an ottoman in a light brown color. Or try pairing an emerald green armchair with a sage green pouf.

To make a statement and your ottoman or pouf the focal point of the room, choose a contrasting color or print. A dissimilar color from your sofa or rug can elevate the style of both pieces. Colors that make a room visually pop are purple and yellow or green and red. For a dramatic effect, pair an orange ottoman against a blue sofa.

If you have limited space, cool colors like teal or blue can make a room look larger, while warm colors like orange and yellow make it look cozier.

Pro tip: A color wheel is a great tool when trying to determine which colors complement one another. Colors opposite one another on the wheel have the highest contrast and make the biggest statement, whereas colors next to each other have similar hues and blend seamlessly, creating a homely atmosphere.

Which Upholstery Best Suits Ottomans & Poufs?

The texture and tone of the pouf or ottoman define how the piece will blend in and function in your living area. Here are some of the most popular upholstery options:

Fabric covered ottomans and poufs offer the greatest versatility when it comes to color and texture. Choose bold prints and colors to add pop in a den with a neutral color scheme. Many types of upholstery fabric can be washed easily, making it the right choice for family homes or people who love to entertain. Look for fabrics such as olefin or polyester or nylon blends, which are washable and ideal for everyday use.

Leather upholstery instantly gives any piece a touch of luxury and drastically improves the style of the room. Leather is an excellent choice if you want to add rich textures to your room that won’t overpower the rest of your furniture. This type of upholstery suits a range of styles from modern farmhouse to industrial to Scandinavian.

Velvet and suede are luxury materials that need added care and maintenance. So ottomans and poufs upholstered in these rich fabrics are ideally suited to formal living areas where they are primarily used to make a style statement. They blend in seamlessly to shabby chic, French country, and traditional style homes, but can also add richness to bohemian and transitional style homes.

Rattan or seagrass is a surprisingly durable option for ottomans and poufs bought for everyday use. They won’t show up scuff marks and stains easily, so they make a great addition to family homes. The texture of natural fiber is also a great way to add texture to your living space. Keep the piece out of direct sunlight to prevent discoloration.

How to Style an Ottoman?

To style your pouf or ottoman, think about how you use your space, and the function the piece performs.

Quick Tips