Ottoman Buying Guide
Types of Ottomans
Ottoman Coffee Tables
Ottoman Buying Tips:
- Ottomans used as footrests should be lower than the seat of the complementing furniture
- The exception to the above rule is that coffee table ottomans should be four to eight inches higher than the seat of nearby furniture for ease of access
- Multiple small ottomans can fit well in rooms with unique layouts
- Some ottomans come in sets where the smaller ones fit inside the larger ones
- If you plan on using an ottoman as a seat, go for one that’s a little taller so your guests don’t feel like they’re sitting at the kids' table
- Before shopping, always measure the space where you are putting your ottoman
Ottoman Trays +
Some ottomans come with removable trays and cushions that allow you to use your piece as either a footrest or a coffee table, or both at the same time. The trays provide a sturdy surface for drinks, food plates and other items you want to keep within arm’s reach. You can also use the trays to hold decorative items like picture frames and collectables.
Ottoman Drawers +
With drawers, you can keep things you use regularly out of sight but at the ready. Drawers are becoming more popular in ottomans because they’re an easily accessible storage option. They are particularly handy for fragile items that could get damaged in the ottoman’s larger storage space. When safely stowed in a drawer, these items will remain in good shape and be there when you need them.
Ottoman Shelves +
Some ottomans feature open shelves instead of hidden storage, letting you store or display items in plain view. In some models, the shelves serve as shoe racks. These ottomans make great entryway benches as they also give you a place to sit while donning and doffing your shoes. When shopping for ottomans with shelves, think about the weight of the items you intend to store. Shorter shelves made of durable hardwood can hold heavier items, while a lighter material such as composite wood can look great and is generally found at the more affordable end of the price scale.
Ottomans with exposed legs tend to complement more traditional decor. The detailing of ottoman legs is often exceptional and helps the piece stand out as a design focal point. When shopping, look for a leg style that matches with the leg styles of nearby furniture. An ottoman with legs can provide a nice contrast in a room with lots of legless furniture. Similarly, a legless ottoman will create visual interest and provide balance in rooms that already have plenty of legged furniture.
Ottomans are typically constructed of wood and finished in a range of fabric choices. Leather, microfibre, rattan and resin wicker are common covering materials, each with their own benefits. Leather is strong, durable and luxurious, sure to make your ottoman stand out and be noticed. Microfibre is stain resistant and can stand up to the wear and tear of kids and pets. Rattan is a lightweight and durable natural fibre commonly used in making wicker-style outdoor furniture. Resin wicker provides a similar look and resists sun and water damage. Matching the material to existing furniture, especially if the ottoman is a footrest for a particular chair, will help keep style consistent.
An ottoman’s shape is an important part of its style and functionality. When considering a particular shape, whether square, rectangular or round, consider how the shape would work in your room and how it would fit with specific furniture. Smaller ottomans, especially traditional ottomans and pouf ottomans, are available in fun shapes to spruce up a room. Larger rectangular ottomans can double as accent tables or coffee tables. Bigger square ottomans are instant design focal points and a practical place for guests to gather during social occasions.
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Ottoman Maintenance Tips:
- Dust regularly and always use the appropriate cleaners for your ottoman’s fabric
- Avoid using a rotary brush on upholstered ottomans; instead, use an upholstery vacuum attachment
- If you spill on an upholstered ottoman, do not scrub or rub with a cloth. Instead, quickly blot the spill with a cloth to lessen the spread and keep the stain from setting into the fabric
- Do not spot clean leather. If you need to clean a spill off a leather ottoman, use lukewarm water with a mild soap and clean the entire surface
- Felt pads under the legs can help protect floors and prevent undue wear and tear on the legs themselves
- For ottomans that are going to be used frequently, consider slipcovers to help your ottomans stay safe and last longer
- Direct sunlight can cause fading in all types of furniture. Protect your ottomans from the sun to help them keep their colour
- Never drag rattan ottomans as the wicker can split. Instead, pick it up and gently place it wherever you want it.