Ottomans that can Finish off your Living Room’s Look

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Published: 08th December 2010
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That ottoman so many of us enjoy in today’s living rooms and family rooms actually dates back 200 years when they were first introduced in Europe, modeled after lounging benches found in the Orient.

Extra seating

Today’s ottomans – ranging from single-seat squares to long benches – are staples of most gathering rooms. They provide extra seating when needed and tuck neatly out of the way the rest of the time. They can double as a footstool when paired with a chair or sofa.

Ottomans come in leather and a variety of fabrics. Some are entirely fabric, while others have just padded cushions made of fabric or leather that rest on a wooden base. With such a large selection available, you will want to find one that accents – rather than matches – the rest of your funiture. You can find ottomans in formal styles, made of padded, polished leather, to fun accent pieces.

Storage

One of the best features of today’s ottomans are their storage capabilities. Many of them are made with a hinged cushion. Pull it up and you have a quick hiding place for the newspaper or puzzle book. Some are even more intricate than that. When you flip over the padded cushions of the Office Star Metro Storage Ottoman, you have two trays that can be used to balance dinner or a drink. And on the inside is more storage space, perhaps for an afghan for a cold winter night. This faux-leather ottoman measures 41¾ inches long by 19½ inches wide and 18 inches high.

Got space issues? Then try the Espresso Storage Ottoman and Nesting Ottoman Set. The larger piece is a storage bench that seats two. It measures 34½ inches long by 18 inches deep and 20 inches high. Flip over its two cushions and you will find two small cube ottomans nesting inside. Take them out and you suddenly have seating for four and a storage space inside the bench. Adding to this set’s versatility, the two bench cushions can be flipped over to become two serving trays.

Coffee table

The Chatham brown bonded leather storage ottoman is designed as a coffee table. At just over 40 inches long and 29 inches wide, it fills in nicely for a coffee table and doubles as extra seating space. The top is has a smooth, tufted surface, and on one side is a hidden slide-out drawer to hold the remotes and a couple of magazines.

The Avenue faux leather cocktail storage ottoman works a bit differently. The top is actually four different padded cushions, each of which can be flipped over to serve as a tray top. If you’re having friends over for drinks, just flip two of the cushions to the tray side to hold appetizers and drinks – and leave two cushions for seating. It’s the best of both worlds. This square ottoman measures 36 inches wide by 36 inches long and 18 inches high.

Twin guest bed

Believe it or not, you can even find an ottoman that opens up into a twin bed. When closed, the Filbert Multifunctional Ottoman/ Twin Guest Bed is a compact 35½ inches long by 31 inches wide and 18½ inches high. Take off the tufted cushion and you can pull out a thin foam mattress strapped to a metal bed frame. The frame has a wood panel for extra support and the mattress comes with a removable cover that can be washed between uses. The pull-out bed measures 17 inches high by 27 inches wide and 73 inches long. You will not want to sleep on it every night, but it will be perfect when you got an overnight guest.

Spot of color

If you think that your living room needs a splash of color, consider using a colorful ottoman to do the trick – like the Zebra Chenille and Leather ottoman bench. The espresso brown leather bench holds a zebra patterned chenille cushion. It will be a bright spot in the room and it serves double duty as extra seating and hidden storage space.

For an exotic burst of color, check out the traditional Indian Pouf. This colorful, round ottoman is handmade of 100 percent patchwork cotton, decorated with beads, stones and tassels. These fabulous accent pieces are usually sold in sets of two.

You can also find the typical square ottoman in a bold fabric, instead of the more stately leather. The Decor Swirl Print Cocktail storage ottoman is an all-fabric ottoman in a beige fabric with bold swirls. Like other storage ottomans, its four fabric-covered cushions flip over to reveal trays and more storage space.

For a little simpler burst of color, look for a basic 40-inch round ottoman in a fun fabric like black, leopard print or eggplant chenille. They are comfy and colorful.

Marcos Martinez is a freelance writer who writes about furniture and products used for home improvement such as ottomans.

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