An ottoman is an exceptionally useful piece of furniture as it is in effect not only a footstool but also a storage box.

You can see ottomans in use all around the house – in the living room, the bedroom, the hallway, and more. But why is it called an ottoman, and where did it come from?

That is actually a simple answer. Ottomans were first used in Turkey which was the centre of the Ottoman Empire and which was a state and caliphate that controlled much of South-Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa from the 14th to the early 20th century. The Turkish word for Ottoman - in Turkish, “Osmanli” – originally referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the 14th century.

The ottoman was introduced into Europe in the late 18th century. Originally it was a large piece of padded furniture without arms or a back and was covered with cushions. It was the main piece of seating in the home. It evolved over the years from a large piece of furniture ranging around three walls of a room to a more modest corner piece and then was later moved into the centre of the room.

During the 19th century, the ottoman became a dominant piece of furniture in private members’ clubs. They could be square or circular in shape and sometimes had arms dividing the seating into sections. There was also often a padded central column to lean your back against, and this frequently had a statue or plant on top. The seat was hinged so that the space inside could be used for storage.

Today, the ottoman can be circular, square, or rectangular, and is padded and can be covered in a huge choice of materials. It can have very small feet, or somewhat taller legs, or no feet at all – which allows for the largest amount of storage. We also have ottoman beds, no less. In a bed, there is a lot of space under the mattress and it can be put to good use by having the mattress part hinged so that the whole of it lifts up and we can make use of space that would otherwise be wasted.

The ottomans that we make at Footstools & More serve both as footstools and storage and we can cover them in any material of your choice. Many people like an ottoman made of leather, so you can have a black ottoman that is deep buttoned, or it could be brown leather that is not buttoned. We can make your ottoman in any other colour leather that you wish. If you have pets and/or young kids, leather is a good choice because it is very easy to wipe clean if somebody gets their paint on it or the dog comes in with muddy paws.

Your ottoman can also be in the shape of your choice and can be made to size, because not only do we produce ottomans in our standard sizes but we will make a bespoke ottoman that will fit your particular needs and space.

Of course, your ottoman can also be used for its’ original purpose which was seating. All of our ottomans are quite strong enough for those unexpected guests who pop in for a coffee and a chat, and they will take the weight of people at parties when you simply don’t have enough seating for everyone.

When you have something like a three-seater sofa and you have three people all watching TV who need something to put their feet upon, we can make you an ottoman that runs the full length of the sofa. This means that everybody can be comfy, while at the same time it provides you with a huge amount of storage space.

An ottoman is also great for small flats or smaller homes which don’t have a lot of storage space such as cupboards and shelves. Use one in the bedroom to store bedding, such as sheets and blankets, and at the same time, you can use it as a handy stool for your dressing table. Yes, our ottomans at Footstools & More are nothing if not versatile.