Ottomans are the largest members of the stool family. They get their name from Ottoman Turkey, where they were traditionally piled with cushions and used as low-level seating. They arrived in Europe during the 18th century, and have since evolved in many shapes, some with legs and some without.
Today, ottomans are a great alternative to a coffee table if you want something that feels softer than wood, marble or glass (as they’re padded, they’re also nicer to put your feet up on). Our Arthur design is ideal for this purpose – the top is buttoned, but it’s quite firm and even, so you can comfortably put drinks trays, coffee-table books or board games on top.
You’ll probably be less likely to move an ottoman around than one of its smaller siblings (although Arthur does have castors if you need to). In an open-plan room, a design like this can work as an informal room divider that doubles as casual seating, and it can simply be pulled up close to the sofa if needed.
Some ottomans, like Eloise, have a lid that opens to reveal storage inside, which comes in handy for keeping things like remote controls and newspapers out of sight in a living room. They’re also a practical addition to a bedroom or guest room, where they can serve to keep nightclothes, bedding and throws all in one place.