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The 9 Best Ottomans for Kicking Your Feet Up

The best ottomans in any home can serve many purposes—from coffee tables to footstools. It’s no wonder why they’ve transcended history from the Turkish empire that gives the object its namesake to the living rooms of homes everywhere. Originally designed as backless benches for lounging that could span entire wall sections, ottomans evolved into many sizes and shapes to fit the needs of those who use them. 

What the Experts Say

Brooklyn-based interior designer Diana Farberov considers two primary functions for ottoman: a place for your feet to rest and a coffee table alternative. Those two functions usually overlap. Oftentimes, they offer a softer look and feel than a traditional hard-surfaced coffee table depending on their size. 

They can also serve a space in more ways than a coffee table, particularly in small spaces. Most ottomans now feature additional storage options, work surfaces, and additional seating making them a great way to bring more functionality to a single space. Their shapes and sizes vary quite a bit these days, which actually makes them a great design solution for a variety of spaces. Mikala Kuchera, a Charleston-based interior designs, says ottomans work great in a variety of spaces, such as living rooms, lounge areas, even a bedroom pulled up next to a comfortable chair.

How to Style an Ottoman

Styling an ottoman depends on how you plan to use it. Ottomans are great for bedrooms and living rooms for general added storage and seating. Knowing the what kind of functionality you need from an ottoman will help you determine the size you need and ultimately how to style it. 

The smaller varieties, sometimes labeled as poufs, serve as great extra seating and side table options. In those cases, they can be treated as accent pieces in your space. They add color, pattern, and texture in small pops that keeps them from being an eye sore if bold styling isn’t exactly your aesthetic choice. Mikala recommends bold colors and fabrics to bring some fun into the space. 

Larger ottomans that replace a coffee table and provide the much needed extra storage space you need obviously take up more space. These tend to come in more neutral tones and materials like leather, velvet and softer fabric. You can treat them as focal points in the room or blend them in to match existing furniture. Often times, they’ll be laden with blankets, coffee-table books, mugs, and more. Mikala also notes that ottomans, particularly larger ones, can be like art pieces in a room. She typically uses color and pattern to add playfulness to a room.

When it comes to using ottomans in a small space, Farberov strongly recommends them as coffee table alternatives. “In a small space, you want every piece you bring into your design to be multifunctional and an ottoman really suits that requirement. You can place a tray on top and it becomes a coffee table, but with the tray removed it can be a soft place to put up your feet. It can even double as additional seating for guests when necessary (push it against a wall and add a few pillows for added back support!).”

Kuchera agrees that ottomans offer a fun design for a small space. Mikala suggests utilizing a coffee table that a few smaller ottomans can fit beneath to stay tucked out of the way and brought out when needed. “Pro tip: put them on casters so they can easily be wheeled wherever needed.”

Courtesy of West Elm

$466.65 – $1,299.00 $549.00 – $1,299.00

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The Emmett Square Storage Ottoman made the top pick for this list because of the options that West Elm offers. You get your choice of size and fabric to make this fit perfectly into your space and match the existing decor or become the centerpiece of a makeover.

Each size option offers storage for added functionality. The engineered wood frame makes it sturdy for load bearing and the hidden legs make it look like a floating cloud of added comfort. It’s a bit of an investment but will serve you well.

Kuchera recommends ottomans as storage solutions for tight spaces, but it’s important to note that they can be a little risky. According to Farberov, they can sometimes be easily shifted and knocked depending on how stuffed they are. Go with storage ottomans if you have the immediate need.

Courtesy of CB2


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It’s made for the city renters short on space. The convenient size of this square pouf (18 inches wide) makes it compact enough for a cozy living room. Snag one for kicking your feet up and adding a seat to the space or stock up and use two as side tables and even more seating. 

This boucle fabric is woven with recycled yarn and offers a pretty easy design element to incorporate into whatever you have going on already. But, if you’re going for something small, you can also opt for a pouf or ottoman with more pattern since it takes up little space.

Courtesy of Target
most affordable elegance


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It can be hard to find elegant, quality furniture in a mid-century modern style for an affordable price, but Target did it with this collaboration between Threshold™ and Studio McGee. The soft cushioning mixed with the warm wood tones of the legs give it some quirkiness that’s characteristic of that minimalist mid-century style.

Don’t sleep on Target for smaller home essentials. It consistently offers great pieces for fractions of the cost of some well-known furniture brands and frequently collaborates with great designers.

Courtesy of Crate & Barrel
most versatile


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A leather ottoman is going to be one of the most versatile options for your living room. The Lynx leather in toffee option is a nice neutral brown tone that pairs well with most decor without having to make other adjustments. This one is 40”x34”, which makes it work for foot rests, seating, storage, and coffee table substitutions. 

Farberov recommends leather as one of her top choices for ottoman materials. It’s more durable than linen, which can more quickly show signs of wear and tear.

Courtesy of Wayfair
best for stocking up on

$179.00 $475.00

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Picture this: you have 4 guests over to your studio apartment and only 2 seats on the small sectional. You go ahead and pull out a couple of these poufs from the foot of your bed or the corner by your plants. Suddenly, you have multiple seating options and can go back to hosting happy hour.

Poufs like this are compact and easy to stock up on. They don’t offer added storage, but if you’re in dire need of a compact sitting room, 2-3 of these make for a great investment.

Courtesy of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Simplest design


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Simple design can be the most effective. If you just need an ottoman that will give you some additional surface area without impacting the design of your current space, this square leather ottoman is a good choice. 

There are no frills, just quality materials crafted for a perfectly square ottoman. It does come in some additional fabric options if leather isn’t your thing.

Courtesy of West Elm
best storage

$499.00 – $799.00

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It’s simple, but it can pack in all your extra pillows and blankets that can’t fit on the couch. It offers almost 24” of storage depth. This is a great option for keeping a living area tidy.

In typical West Elm fashion, you have a variety of fabrics and finishes to choose from to make this ottoman fit your style. So while it’s simple, it can easily match the aesthetic of your current space.

Courtesy of Pottery Barn
best oversized ottoman

$1,299.00 – $2,099.00

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An oversized ottoman can tie a space together. It serves not only as a coffee table, but a spot for the kids to play, a place to kick your feet up, extra storage and seating, as well as the focal point of the space. If you have the room, and oversized ottoman can also soften up a space when compared to the usual sharp corners of a traditional coffee table.

The downside of upsizing is the cost. Going for the largest size and adding storage adds up in the price tag, but if it’s in the budget you won’t regret the stately piece. Farberov also recommends the leather and velvet fabrics Pottery Barn offers.

Courtesy of Amazon
most budget-friendly

You can always count on Amazon to offer an affordable solution and it’s no different when it comes to these pouf ottomans. If your decorating budget is as tight as your apartment, picking up a couple of these for under $200 is a steal.

The nice thing about small poufs in tight spaces is that they can serve as more permanent seating. No dining room chairs (or table), pull up a few of these around your coffee table and you’ve got a savvy solution.

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