How to Incorporate Ottomans in Your Interiors

Who doesn’t love Ottomans? They’re cute, sweet and super stylish but designing a room with Ottomans can sometimes be tricky as you try to figure out the best spot to place your Ottoman without affecting the traffic flow in the room.

You might also have questions about the best material and fabrics for your Ottoman, especially if you’re confused between a leather and a fabric Ottoman.

Where Should an Ottoman be Placed?

The placement of the Ottoman depends on two main factors:

  1. The purpose: Why do you want the Ottoman? To fill up the empty space? Or to add extra storage in your room? Or perhaps for some additional storage space? Or just to be used as a footrest? Being clear about the purpose will greatly help you in shortlisting the best Ottoman for your room.
  2. The type of room: The positioning of an Ottoman in the bedroom will be very different from the living room – once again, you have to consider your lifestyle in that room and then decorate according to it. The type and size of Ottoman that you choose will also depend on the type and size of your room.

Meet the Experts


Lauren is an interior designer and FCI’s resident content specialist. She is inspired by storytellers, both visual and penned. She spends her spare time reading and Pinteresting, never far away from beautiful words or pictures.

Lebanon-born Ricardo is our architect extraordinaire who studied and cut his draughtsman teeth in Lebanon before moving to London. His other superpower is his radiant zest for life, a true ray of sunshine that influences everyone he connects with.

Originally hailing from Spain, Benjamin holds the reins of all our big development projects around the globe including the US, UAE, India and Africa. A self-confessed workaholic, he is voted most likely to retire in the FCI office, curled up on a Gamma & Dandy sofa with a cocktail in hand.

Romanian-born Cristina has been obsessed with interior design since before she could talk, frequently rearranging the interiors of her dolls house in an early indication of her career choice. Her other passion is cooking, where she can be found applying her design inspirations into Masterchef quality dishes.

We got together our talented team of interior designers at FCI London and requested them to share their tips on how to incorporate ottomans in contemporary interiors. Here’s what we learnt:

1 – Using Ottomans as Coffee Tables

Benjamin Ibanez, our senior interior designer and business manager recently finished working on the Knightsbridge project.

For this living room, he went with a minimalist L-shaped sofa and a matching square Ottoman that is to be used as a coffee table.

“I love multifunctional furniture which is why the Ottoman made the most sense in this room as we wanted to give it a very natural and cosy vibe,” says Ben. “The Ottoman can be used for sitting, you can put your legs up on it when relaxing on the sofa, or just continue to use it as a coffee table. We kept the Ottoman decor pretty simple with just a throw, a tray and a small planter. But even with no decor, this Ottoman would look great on its own. Of course, we had to match the colour and fabric of the Ottoman with the sofa to keep with the minimalist theme of this room.”

how to decorate with an Ottoman

2 – Ottomans in the Living Room

Ben further explains, “Having an Ottoman in the living room doesn’t necessarily mean that it must be used in the centre of the room or as a coffee table only. There are many other positions where the Ottomans can work beautifully. For example, for the living room of my recent project in Kenya, I added a black Ottoman along with the coffee table to bring some contrast to the room as the Ottoman was placed perpendicular to the sofas. Considering that this was a relatively big living room, the armchairs and ottoman helped mark out the seating area, making it feel complete and in harmony.”

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3 – Using Ottomans for Extra Seating in the Game Room/Living Room

Another one of our favourite projects where Benjamin used Ottomans is the Coulins project as we love the playful and bold decor of this space. Here’s what Ben had to say about it:

“This was a really huge space that the client wanted to be used as a game room. On one end we had the snooker table and the foosball table while on the other end, we had the television. So instead of a typical sofa, we went with modular, mismatched seating to keep with the playful theme. And considering that a game room can always do with some extra seating, we added the small round Ottomans around the room. Ottomans like these offer extra seating that can easily be moved around as needed, they can be used to hold your drinks and food while you play and when not in use, they can simply be arranged in the middle of the room to act as a coffee table.”

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4 – Placing Ottomans in the Bedroom

“You’ll often hear people suggesting that Ottomans should be placed at the foot of your bed but I feel that pouffes or benches are better suited for that position,” says Cristina, senior interior designer at FCI London. “I would rather have the bedroom Ottamon in a more convenient spot in the room, ideally near the wardrobe so you can sit on it as you slip on your shoes, or it should be next to the vanity table. For my Redington Road project, I achieved this with a small, round Ottoman at close proximity to both the window and the vanity to allow easy flow of movement in and out of the room while adding a cute little spot to sit on. The Ottoman I chose was lightweight enough to be easily moved around the room as needed.”

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5 – Modern Ottoman Style for Contemporary Spaces

For our Telfords Yard project, our client wanted a contemporary look so instead of a traditional coffee table or a traditional pouffe, our designer Ricardo decided to go with the Nori Table by Gallotti & Radice. “This table is something that lies just between a modern coffee table and a modern pouffe so I found it to be the excellent choice for this room, especially how the black lacquered solid wood on its sides perfectly matched the black wall panelling in this room. So instead of going with the traditional, upholstered Ottoman concept, it is fun to sometimes break the monotony and create unique interiors,” says Ricardo.

18 Telfords Yd London E1W 2BQ UK 10 1

Top 4 Ottoman Designs for 2023 – Our Designers’ Picks

Cristina’s pick: Greta Ottoman by Domkapa

Why she loves it: You can buy it along with the matching armchair to create the cosiest reading corner ever or just to fill up an empty space in the room.

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Benjamin’s pick: Inger Ottoman by Eichholtz

Why he loves it: I’m a huge fan of organic shapes when it comes to interior design and I believe it will be one of the most domination design trends this year. This Ottoman checks all the boxes, it’s small enough to fit in any room, has a very organic shape, and contemporary design and you can also pair it with the matching Inger swivel chair.

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Ricardo’s pick: Finland Ottoman by Elegance Collection

Why he loves it: I’m a big fan of tufted furniture and I feel like tufted ottomans really act as a statement piece for luxurious and elegant living rooms.

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Lauren’s pick: P74 by Gamma and Dandy

Why she loves it: I believe no one does leather sofas and accessories like the Italians and since Gamma and Dandy is one of my favourite Italian furniture brands, it makes sense for this to be my favourite Ottoman. It’s pretty simple in terms of design but it’s the quality of the leather that actually shines through this completely upholstered piece and makes it immediately catch your eye. It’s the perfect piece to add a pop of colour to any room.

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If you need help in choosing an Ottoman for your room or bringing any of these tips to life, you can always reach out to our interior design team for a free design consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is an Ottoman and where are they used?

An Ottoman can generally be defined as a piece of furniture without any back or arms. It is a multi-purpose item that can come both with and without storage. There are different types of Ottomans and each of them is best suited for a different type of place. For example, if you’re decorating your home office, library or reading corner then it would be best to go for a footstool-style Ottoman with a complementing armchair.

Ottomans are most commonly found in living rooms but they can also be used in bedrooms, offices and outdoor spaces. The only place where we would not add an Ottoman is probably the kitchen as other than that, they can pretty much fit in any space.

Q. What are the different types of Ottomans?

The two main types of Ottomans are those with and without storage. Other than that, they can be classified on the basis of their shape, design and material.

These days, you can find Ottomans in literally any size and shape, with some of the most popular ones being tufted Ottomans for the living rooms, small Ottomans to go with vanity tables and footstool-shaped ottomans to be used with matching armchairs.

Q. What advice do you have for styling an Ottoman?

One of the key differences between styling a coffee table and styling an Ottoman is that the Ottoman decor is simpler. While you can pretty much add as many accessories to a coffee table as you want, for an Ottoman, we do not recommend having more than 3 pieces because you want them to look natural and because the Ottoman should come off as a place which can be used to sit on (if needed). So a small throw or just a small planter in a tray is usually enough to style an Ottoman.

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