Ottomans: The Empire of Home Decor
provide home decorators with an extra seat, a foot prop, extra storage and even a table from time to time. But these convenient home accents have been useful in other eras. Discover how ottomans have played a role throughout history eventually ending up as part of your living room furniture
and incorporated into attractive chair and ottoman combinations.
How did the ottoman get its name?
In the 13th century, Ottoman Turks used ornate fabrics to cover footstools. The word ottoman
was first introduced in English to describe these footstools in 1806. Ottoman
refers to any padded or upholstered seat or bench having no arms or back.
Decorate like an Egyptian: How the ottoman was used throughout history
Because wood was often scarce, the typical Egyptian house did not have large pieces of furniture. Stools looking remarkably like hassocks (traditionally cushions for kneeling) were often covered in padded leather. They were in the commoner's home as well as the pharaoh's tombs.
Greek and Roman civilizations appear to have these footstools as principle pieces of furniture, as well. The ottoman eventually found its way to Europe, but poor climate destroyed most wooden furniture. From studying surviving paintings, however, we are able to see the use of ottomans in this part of the world.
The hassock meets America
By the late 1800's, transportation was gaining ground in the United States and so were design fairs. Americans, following European decorating styles, saw the practicality of these benches and became hooked.
Not a group to ignore gaining popularity, furniture designers and makers began to introduce the ottoman as part of a set. With a matching chair, decorators could now showcase their chair and ottoman as a complete group of living room furniture.
Why we love the ottoman
Possibly the most interesting aspect of this type of seat or bench is its many uses. Its use seemed to develop through a need. Some of the ways you can use this versatile piece of living room furniture are for storage, a foot rest, a seat or just a home accent.
Today, ottomans come in every different shape, style, fabric and wood combination you can possibly imagine. Perhaps one of the most important uses of these footstools is the ability to store items. Some storage seats make a convenient storage chest for blankets. Neatly tuck away throw pillows, magazines or anything that might cause clutter. This makes your ottoman an even more functional piece of home decor.
And with the advent of multipurpose furniture, ottomans have more than kept up with decorators' preferences. Tufted, oversized hassocks can create extra seating or double as a cocktail table. Others are equipped with tops that flip to reveal serving trays and make great coffee tables. Chaise lounges
have also gained in popularity and ottomans can be paired with a couch or chair to create this same effect in an inexpensive way.
Parents love them, too and for good reason! Many ottomans are on casters, allowing children to create a play area on the floor simply by pushing the furniture to the side. Storage ottomans
are also great for keeping small toys at hand. Because of their soft edges and often plush upholstery, there's no need to worry about anyone getting hurt on the usually sharp living room coffee table.
There is an ottoman for every house, every budget and just about every size preference. Prop up your feet and recline in style today!
Shop for ottomans
at Home Decorators Collection.