All About Ottomans: Ways to Use and Style Them

Living room ottomans

Beloved, yet highly underrated, ottomans are workhorses of the home that deserve a bit of attention now and then. Whether you need a footrest to kick up your feet after a long day, an additional seat for guests, or extra storage space, you can trust your ottoman to rise to the occasion. Depending on the upholstery and materials your ottoman is made from, it can be a delicate accent, a sturdy outdoor staple, or a soft place to sit. If you’ve been thinking about adding some ottomans to your home, our perspective is that you can never have too many! Here are some designer-approved ways to use and style your ottomans.

footrest upholstery

As a Footrest

The most intuitive way to use an ottoman is as a footrest. You can pair a small ottoman with your favorite lounge chair to create a comfortable reading nook or spot for your afternoon nap. When selecting an ottoman to be used as a footrest, consider the size and style of the chair as well as the material. Upholstery should complement the existing fabric of the chair while also being sturdy enough to withstand a lot of pressure. You’ll also want to choose a material that is easy to clean, like a linen or performance-blend fabric.

As a Coffee Table 

Instead of a coffee table, you can use a beautifully patterned ottoman for a more eclectic look. A good rule of thumb for a large coffee table ottoman is to have it equal around ⅔ the length of your sofa. Take into account the other furniture in the room and make sure that everything will fit well together. Many people choose a storage ottoman for their coffee table as this pulls double duty in hiding away essentials and acting as a table. To style your coffee table ottoman, we recommend placing a large tray in the middle and filling it with books, candles, and any other personal treasures you want to display. The tray can be removed and filled with snacks and drinks when needed.

ottoman coffee table
ottoman at end of bed

At the End of the Bed

For a very traditional look, set an upholstered ottoman like our Campbell Ottoman at the end of the bed. This type of ottoman is generally long and rectangular in shape, extending to the width of the bed. Not only does an ottoman add a decorative accent to your bedroom, but it can be used as a convenient spot to sit down and put on your shoes. A storage ottoman is also perfect for bedrooms as you can fill it with clothes, books, and other belongings. You might like your upholstery choice to complement your existing bedding and window treatments.

As an Extra Seat 

Of course, ottomans can also be used as an extra seat for gatherings. As they are often small in size, you can move around an ottoman to create different flexible seating arrangements and accommodate everyone. If you’re looking for an ottoman that can be used both inside and outside, we recommend a wicker or rattan ottoman that can withstand the elements.

ottoman seating

Find Ottomans at Our Charleston Home Stores

An ottoman may not create a focal point in the home, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. We love how functional and stylish these unique furniture pieces can be, and the amount of uses they have. Whether you’re looking for a small footrest, an additional seat, or a storage ottoman, we have a large collection at our Charleston furniture stores to meet your needs. 


Shop the Look


Black and White Striped Ottoman

Brad Bench

Rustic iron is accented by a cushioned top, a sturdy sailor-striped cotton in crisp navy and cream.

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Ottoman beige

Grayson Ottoman

This versatile square cocktail ottoman has a button tufted top and tapered, castered legs.

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Thin Beige Ottoman

Campbell Ottoman

This versatile rectangular cocktail ottoman has a button tufted top and tapered, castered legs.

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White Tray

Shagreen Hex Tray

Wrapped in a light grey faux shagreen, this hexagonal tray will meet your serving or display needs.

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