The footstool, known by many as an ottoman, has long been a practical piece of furniture offering a comfortable place to raise your feet or provide an extra seat for one or more guests. It is usually a padded piece of furniture with an upholstered seat without back or arms.

The storage ottoman has always been appreciated for it's ability to  offer extra space for storing so many items out of site while it serves as a footstool or bench.

The term "ottoman" is believed to have originated with the identical French word which typically referred to a textile or fabric upholstered stool. The first footstools were cylindrical and tall and resembled the tall, round hats of Ottoman government officials.

Today when you ask about an ottoman you might be surprised to learn the term has grown to include a wide range of furniture besides the footstool. If you do a search on Amazon you will find the storage ottoman, pouf ottoman,ottoman tray,tufted ottoman,ottoman bed and the ottoman coffee table.

To help you understand what each of these items are and decide if there is a need for any of these very useful furniture pieces in your home, we have provided a few pictures and a brief description of each item.

For a complete understanding of each item and to view the wide variety available along with all the extremely helpful customer comments you should spend a little time on Amazon. You will be rewarded with a much greater understanding of each piece. 

Storage Ottoman

Typical Storage OttomanCredit: Amazon

The storage ottoman as the name implies is a multiply use piece of furniture. They
can be used as a foot stool for a chair or couch. The larger sized storage ottoman
works well as a foot stool in front of a couch but also serves well as a bench for
additional seating.

Some models are perfect to place under a window or at the end of a bed for extra
storage and a place to sit while dressing. They are available in a wide assortment
of designs. Some are padded and tufted. The leather storage ottoman is a beautiful
piece of furniture which is easily maintained and should last for years.

Before making a choice of a storage ottoman you would do well to review the
customer comments on Amazon to see what kind of experiences previous customers have
had with the various models.

One problem which seemed to bother many customers are the hinges on ottomans with
hinged tops. According to these customers the hinges are not strong enough or
fastened securely enough to withstand the stress of opening and closing. these are
the types of potential issues you can quickly find and research by reviewing the
customer comments.
Tufted Ottoman

Tufted OttomanCredit: Amazon

Searching for tufted ottoman will reveal a great selection of storage ottomans and bench ottomans. They are many times upholstered in leather or leatherette materials and as the name implies are tufted with button. This technique appears to be very popular with manufacturers and customers because it is very attractive. Sometimes the tufting is only found on the top but in many styles it continues around the sides of the ottoman as well.

We have noticed customers complaining that the buttons on the bench ottomans or storage ottomans used for seating, sometimes break loose. Before purchasing any ottoman that has a tufted surface you should review the customer comments for that product to see if there seems to be a problem with any particular model. Any piece of furniture with missing tufting buttons will certainly loose it's appeal.

Ottoman Coffee Table

Ottoman Coffee TableCredit: Amazon

The ottoman coffee table is available in a number of designs some with storage that have lids which are reversible so that one side serves as a bench top of footstool and when reversed the top has built in trays that will serve as a coffee table.

Many models do not include storage and may have a padded top with one or more trays and a lower shelf to hold magazines, books and other items. As with the other ottoman designs mentioned previously, be sure to read over the customer comments concerning any of the storage models with reversible tops to make sure you do not purchase a model that may be poorly designed causing problems with alignment of the top when reversed.

Ottoman Bed

Ottoman BedCredit: Amazon

The sleeper ottoman is a very practical piece of furniture especially for small homes or studio apartments. While that are basically a footstool or extra seat they can be easily converted into an extra bed.

They take up a small amount of space when closed are are useful in any room when closed. When an extra bed is needed it only takes a few minutes to open and these do not cause storage problems as fold away beds or cots do when not needed.

Ottoman Tray

Ottoman trays are basically serving trays that are stand alone pieces or are
combined as part of a storage ottoman. The standalone trays can serve multiply uses
as serving trays, bed trays, breakfast, TV or coffee trays.

Some of the trays incorporated into storage ottomans also serve as the top of the
ottoman. They are reversed to use as coffee or snacks tables. Other storage ottomans
have one or more trays that can removed as used separately as needed.

Pouf Ottoman
Pouf Ottoman
The pouf ottoman also referred to at the Egyptian or Moroccan pouf is an unusual
item that will fit in with many decors. You will many many different color and
material choices listed on Amazon.

If you decide to purchase a pouf ottoman pay close attention to the manufacturer's
description. Some of the descriptions may not make it clear that some models are
not stuffed. You are purchasing a shell that you than stuff with your choice of

This can save quite a bit of shipping cost and allows the customer to decide which
material works best for their situation. Stuffing can be anything from scrap cloth,
extra towels or foam or other materials purchased from craft suppliers.

Cat Convertible Ottoman

Ottoman TrayCredit: Amazon Cat Convertable OttomanCredit: Amazon

Does your cat need a special place of it's own but you just don't have room. Maybe
a specially designed convertible ottoman made just for cats would solve the
problem. These ottomans have a reversible top. One side is padded and can serve as
a foot stool or seat. When the top is reversed it provides a special play space for
your active cat.

Designed with plush fabric on the exterior and what the manufacturer describes as a
special material that cats love on the inside your cat will have it's own special
place where it can escape from the confusion of the house and relax undisturbed.

Decorative Novelty Ottoman Stool For Children

Decorative Novelty Ottoman For ChildrenCredit: Amazon

An item you may not expect to find listed under ottoman or storage ottoman is the decorative novelty ottoman. These are basically stools made for children in a number of themes from footballs to happy faces. They are not usually storage devices and serve more as decoration than functional pieces.

Ottoman Furniture
Ottoman FurnitureCredit: Amazon
The term ottoman furniture certainly encompasses all of the above items we have described. But it also includes chair and ottoman footstools which are made in matching sets. You will find chairs which are actually gliders that offer a comfortable motion to help you relax.
Other models are built with massage motors and heat features which warm and vibrate the back, thighs and calves as you relax. These chairs have controls to adjust the intensity of the levels to give you just the right amount of vibration and heat massage.

For the youngsters how about a matching inflatable chair and ottoman that they can call their own.

There you have it. You now know that the storage ottoman is only a piece of the ottoman furnitue family and much more than a footstool. Stop by Amazon and spend a little time reviewing all the ottoman family members and see if you should be adding one or more to your family.