What exactly constitutes an ottoman is somewhat debated, but generally they’re larger, lower pieces that also sometimes have storage space inside. They get their name from Ottoman Turkey, where they were traditionally piled with cushions and used as seating. They arrived in Europe during the 18th century, and have since evolved in many shapes, some with legs and some without.
Aside from seating, 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). So, in an open-plan room, a design like this can work as an informal room divider that doubles as casual seating or a place to display neat piles of books and magazines.
Those ottomans, like Eloise, that have storage space inside, come 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.