The Lazy Man's Guide To Ottoman Shapes

"Have nothing in your home that you don't know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

—William Morris.

Ottomans are not a new concept, but have become popular worldwide over the years. I did not know what an ottoman was, until I associated one with those at the foot of a bed. But like everything you see around you, this piece of furniture too has a history and a reason for its existence. Made with no back, the ottoman is a deeply upholstered seat introduced into Europe in the late 18th century from Turkey, where, piled with cushions, it was the central piece of domestic seating. It received the title ‘Ottoman’ from its namesake empire, christened after its founder Osman ('Uthman' in Arabic).


To give more perspective as to why this beautiful piece became so popular even today, is because of its history. Placing a footstool beneath someone's tired soles (or better, gifting them a piece) was nothing less than a royal gesture. Today, so many beautiful shapes dominate the ottoman category, and all are quite a pleasant sight to see.

Ottoman Shapes

Ottomans remain one of the most underrated pieces of furniture any person can own. Its functions make it an ideal home piece with benefits ranging from storage to extra seating, table, center piece, vanity and not forgetting aesthetics. That being said, their shapes have also evolved past the normal square shape, otherwise known as the cube. Ottomans are made of a variety of materials. Fabrics like cotton, twill, and chenille are frequently used to upholster these pieces of furniture. In addition, there are velvet, leather, and microfiber fabrics to choose from. We round up a couple of inspiring, chic, and elegantly stylish ottoman styles and ideas to use for your next upholster haul!


  1.  Standard shape (Rectangle)

This ottoman shape is as old as time. Usually, a cushioned surface sits on top of a solid foundation in a square or rectangular shape of a conventional ottoman. The ottoman is designed to serve basic practicality with flair and refinement, whether it is upholstered in leather, cotton, or synthetic materials. The rectangular shape allows for wider surface area, multiple spaces for feet to rest, and often, more storage options within an ottoman. These can be found in standard cushion top or cocktail style.


  1. Cocktail (round)

The cocktail ottoman is a round, sturdy shape, meant for center pieces, seating, while others as tables. The coffee table ottoman is another name for this type of shape. A more table-like top on which drinks and food can be placed is the prominent feature. Some variants have a reversible cushion top on one side and a solid table on the other, while others have trays that completely suit the surface. 


  1. Cube

In recent years, the popularity of the cube ottoman has skyrocketed. Multiple ottomans can be stacked, organized, and recycled with ease because of this modular design. They are available in both fabric and leather, and many have secret storage beneath the lid. Very popular in living rooms and bedrooms, with secret storage stashes for books, shoes, snacks, and so much more. 

  1. Oval

The oval shape never really comes to mind when looking at shapes for a living space. However, you will be surprised at just how much panache it brings to an otherwise normal room. Monochrome, minimalistic, futuristic designs bow at the mercy of this elegance. The oval ottoman gives off a particularly luxurious air. With the width to accommodate more than one person at a time, they’re a functional and visually appealing variant.


  1. Tub

This ottoman shape is a hot piece, and has the shape of a not so round, not so cube ottoman. This design is perfect for bedrooms, corner pieces, kid’s bedrooms, living rooms, and even balconies with a layer of tuft grass. It’s all about innovation and realizing the potential upholstering can bring into your décor world.


  1. Pouff

This design speaks for itself with the first glance at it. Round but puffy at the top and not flat. Pouff! That’s fun to say! 


  1. Novelty

Here is where we draw a big décor line, and jump it into greater, newer, crazier and most sophisticated ottoman designs. You see, the most typical shapes for ottomans are square and round, so they will be the most compatible with most homes, but if you're feeling adventurous, don't be afraid to try something new. Novelty designsNovelty simply means "new compared to prior art", and is an invention that is distinct from all previously created and sold items in the past. That means... any shape! Creativity plays a big role here. Spicing it up and exercising innovation is the future of interior décor.

With this lazy guide to ottoman shapes, you have new ideas and creative imaginations you could use to style your home afresh. Remember, home wellness is a great factor to consider when decorating your spaces. A healthy home is a healthy body; mind, soul and spirit. Decluttering is very important to clarity, and with ottomans, you have it all in one buy. But don’t just stop there, décor is the word.

Get out that table, stool, or ottoman lying in your house and refashion it. Upholster it using zebra hide! Your fashion sense will thank you.