Ottoman Ideas for the Living Room and More

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They may be small, but poufs and ottomans can be quite powerful when it comes to functionality and form. Sharing all of my favorite ottoman ideas for styling your home.

living room with white builtin shelves around fireplace, hand knotted run, white and camel velvet sofas, wood coffee table and ottomans

What is an ottoman?

An ottoman is a small piece of furniture that doesn’t have back or armrests. They come in all styles and sizes and can be used in many ways. Some have legs and some don’t but they usually have a structured frame under the soft surface.

two ottomans styled in a living room with a hand knotted rug, velvet camel colored sofa, square wood coffee table

Wondering what the difference is between ottomans and poufs? Poufs that are more like over-stuffed pillows. Depending on the shape and style, the terms can be used interchangeably.

Why use poufs or ottomans in your decor?

Everyone knows both serve a functional purpose, but the style of a pouf or ottoman can have a big impact on the look of a space. They are easy to clean and maintain, versatile, and inexpensive compared to traditional seating.

person demonstrating that ottomans are easy to care for by using a fabric shaver

My personal style incorporates light-colored furniture so using ottomans in neutral colors works best for me. But if you prefer to use bold colors and patterns in your home, a pouf or ottoman is a great way to make a statement!

If you are looking for ideas to refresh your home, check out all the ways you can use ottomans in your home to change things up!

Pouf and ottoman ideas for the living room

Traditional footrest

Who doesn’t love to kick up their feet at the end of the day? A chair and ottoman are a perfect match for creating a cozy living space.

Stefana Silber demonstrating how ottomans are used as a foot rest

Placing them together gives your home a welcoming look that encourages guests to feel comfortable and relaxed.

Ottoman side table

Did you know that ottomans make great side tables? This is one of those overlooked ottoman ideas. You’ll want to use one that has a firm surface like the cube ottoman I used here.

ottoman ideas in a living room, plaid cube ottoman used as a side table, ottoman decor is leather tray and greenery

Notice how the colors of the plaid ottoman work really well with the pattern of the rug and the solid fabric of the sofa. If it caught your eye, read my review of the West Elm Marin sofa to see if it’s right for you.

It has a large enough surface area that allows me to style it the same way I would a traditional side table. Since the surface does have a cushioned surface, I use a tray as a solid surface for the decor.

Ottoman coffee table

If you have a small space or don’t have room for a coffee table and a footrest, using ottomans as a coffee table is a great idea! Either use one large ottoman or place two side by side to create the perfect multipurpose piece of furniture.

ottoman ideas in a living room, ottomans being used as a coffee table, two windowpane cube ottomans styled in living room in front of camel colored velvet sofa

Style your ottoman just like you would a coffee table! Add a tray for decor that needs a solid surface. Stack a few coffee table books and add greenery. You’ll have pretty ottoman decor and be able to prop up your feet!

Extra seating

Pouf and ottomans are great for extra seating for a party or anytime you have extra guests. Kids love the casual feeling of hanging out and lounging on a comfy pouf. For the less agile, an ottoman is the better choice for seating when the need arises.

ottoman ideas for living room, two window pane cube ottomans used as extra seating in a living room with neutral colors

Unlike a full-size chair or bench, these smaller options are light and easy to move around. I’ve rearranged my living room several times and can always find the perfect place for my ottomans.

A popular decorating trend is to place ottomans in front of the fireplace. They are low enough not to block the view of the fireplace or the TV if you have one over the mantel. Again, you can move them around easily to accommodate any social situation that arises.

Check out my living room fireplace built-in shelf tutorial!

Another popular place to style ottomans is at the end of a bed. A bench is a typical choice for this location, but if you have a storage ottoman that fits in a bedroom and works with the decor, it’s another option for you.

Poufs and ottomans under a console table

This is one of my favorite ottoman ideas. I love the way you can tuck a couple of ottomans under a console table so they are out of the way. They add color, and texture, and fill in an otherwise empty space.

My entryway table is extra long so there is plenty of space underneath. In the past, I styled it with baskets but recently changed things up a little.

entryway console table with three round velvet ottomans with fringe styled underneath, Anthropologie gleaming primrose mirror, black iron taper candle holders, christmas garland, vintage artwork, wall molding in entryway, hardwood floors

Since the table is rectangular, I wanted to add round ottomans. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find just what I wanted. They were either too expensive or if the price was right, the quality wasn’t up to par. So I took some inexpensive velvet ottomans from Amazon and customized them myself!

Easy DIY ottoman with fringe

Sometimes you just can’t find the perfect thing you’re looking for. The good news is that there is often a way to do it yourself. I love a good DIY and this one is so easy!

Supplies you’ll need

Steps to add fringe to a plain velvet ottoman

1 – Use pins to secure the fringe to the ottoman.

2 – Cut off the excess and lightly burn the end to keep it from unraveling.

3 – Add glue around the inner side of the fringe with the pins still in place. Remove the pins and you’re done!

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