Call It A Pouf Or Ottoman — It’s A Versatile Piece Of Furniture

You’ve always called it an ottoman — but maybe it’s really a pouf. Is there a difference? Yes, there is.  Typically, a pouf is low to the floor, does not have legs or a framework, and is only made of textiles and stuffing.  Ottomans usually have an interior frame that gives it shape and legs that raise it up off the floor, a little or a lot. Whichever it is, it’s an exceedingly versatile piece for your home that adds comfort, seating, and perhaps a pop of color. Today’s pouf’s offer some new and unique designs.

Secondome of Italy created these poufs that are part of its Bodybuilding collection, which is an “anti-gym” collection.  This round piece is the Palla, an inflatable seat upholstered in metallic leather and-blue beaver skin.

Secondome's Palla ottoman.
Secondome’s Palla ottoman.

The most common pouf shape is a round, slightly flattened ball shape. A little reminiscent of a beanbag, a pouf is the most casual form of an ottoman or footstool. The poufs below are made from textiles, a very popular choice for these pieces.

Mixing colors and textures or patterns on one pouf add to their bohemian vibe.
Mixing colors and textures or patterns on one pouf add to their bohemian vibe.

Spanish furniture company Fama has this neutral-colored pouf, knitted in a chunky yarn that is casual and cozy. The texture of the resulting pouf adds interest to the piece.

Fama pouf in a neutral color.
Fama pouf in a neutral color.

Some pieces are a hybrid, like this one.  While it has the structure of a stool, it could still be a pouf because it doesn’t have any legs and is upholstered in a grayish lavender suede.

Ari leather stool poof

Here’s a good example of the confusion that can come from trying to classify these pieces of furniture.  These lovely blue pieces are an ottoman and a pouf.  By definition, the large piece could be a pouf because it has no legs.

Bohemian pouf with tufted

This bohemian pouf would be colorful addition to any room. The versatile piece is upholstered in eclectic fabrics that would add interest to any room in the house. This particular model has a side handle, making it easily portable.

Boho chic stool from Calia Italia

Calia Italia’s leather pouf exudes comfort thanks to the well-worn finish on the leather, exposed seams and unusual shape. You can’t help but want to put your feet up on it!

Pouf from Combray Textile

The cheerful pouf is from Combray Textile & Design. The New York-based studio specializes in high-end hand embroidered textiles for home decor. Combray has embroidered fabrics, pillows and home accents.  This would be an elegant addition to a living room or bedroom.

Green with floral motifs on ottomans

Depending upon their height, poufs and ottomans can be an elegant — or casual — addition to a dining room setting.  Here, a variety of upholstered and furry pieces round out the seating for a dinner party.

Ego italia Dining Table with Ottoman

Ego Italiano’s pouf has a structured form, so it’s more like an ottoman, especially since it opens up to reveal room for storage. The piece is upholstered in leather with a leather plate and lacquered clips. The lower circular band and the closing plate are also done in leather.

Ego italia feminine pouf

The perfect feminine pouf is this one by Ginger & Jagger. The pale pink velour upholstery is elegant and luxurious. Whether used in a living room or a bedroom, this piece will add a touch of grace and poshness.

Hulsta German Pouf Design

Germany’s Hulsta gave their pouf a whimsical touch and call it “Birdy.” The company describes it as a perfect companion for putting your feet up and not that it is “individual and multi-functional.“ The piece was designed by Pascal Bosetti and is available in a smooth upholstery fabric or velour.

Hulsta Modern poufs at ICFF

This pouf — which we found in the Italian Designers’ booth at ICFF 2016 —  is more like an ottoman and the multiple cord wrapping gives it a “bale” look. Whatever you choose to call it, it looks very comfortable.

Khalil Jamal Small Brackrest

This piece by Khalil Jamal has a small backrest, so perhaps it could be classified as chair, but since it doesn’t have a structural frame and can be used as individual floor cushions, we think it defies definition. Each cushion is five inches thick and upholstered in a grey wool fabric trimmed with red, blue, yellow, or black piping.

Geometric Leather covered poufs

Geometric leather- or fabric-covered poufs are perfect for modern decor. The clean lines and interesting shape blend well in rooms that have a minimalist feel or contemporary look.

Natural pattern on poufs from Liliandlou

The natural patterned leather on these poufs at Liliandlou adds to the casual, somewhat slouchy feel of the pieces. Perfect for a family room, these poufs serve as ready seating for extra guests or the perfect perch for your tired feet.

Masculine leather pouf

Mora Dillo’s Hannah pouf is lighthearted and functional. The fun shape is still suitable for a living room but would also be great in a bedroom. The neutral colors also make it very versatile.

Slice pouf from Mora Dillo

The Slice Pouf, also by Mora Dillo of Spain is versatile enough to go either way — from very casual to a more formal style room. The pouf comes in seven different colors, some quite vibrant.

Mora Dillo pouf design

It might look more like a round ball, but this is a rigid pouf made by Portugal’s Blackcork. The company uses only the cork found in tree branches to manufacture cork granules that are autoclaved into clusters. The sustainable process involves injecting water vapor through the cork pellets that will expand and agglutinate with the resins of the cork itself. The company uses this process to manufacture a variety of furnishings.

Cork balls

All these examples show that poufs don’t have to be round. No matter what the shape, a pouf is a useful piece for your home. This collection of poufs shows that different shapes and textures are perfect for mixing and matching.

Softline Nector Pouf

This is Softline’s Nector pouf, which as you can see is perfect for the living room, tucked next to a sofa or armchair. Designed by Busk+Herzog, it is available in more than a dozen colors.

Pink Kids Pouf

Almost like large rounded stones, these softly shaped poufs come in different sizes and colors.  Used singly or in a grouping like this, they are versatile and can be tucked away when not in use. The clean-lined shape is decidedly contemporary.

Collection of poufs that was inspired from stones

More like a traditional ottoman thanks to the tufting, these poufs would fit well in a study or a family room. The bright golden hue adds color to your room but is not so vibrant that it would be out of place in a more staid color scheme.

Tufted Yellow Poufs

Velvet style fabric has always been popular for upholstery and is now becoming trendy again. These cube-shaped poufs are ahead of the trend with a large, woven strip finish. The colors can be neutral like the white, or used for a colorful pop, such as the turquoise model.

Vetsatile ottomans with a cool pattern

Whatever style your home, a pouf would be a useful addition. Versatile, unobtrusive and very handy, whether you are entertaining or just want some small seating pieces. As you can see, there are plenty choices when it comes to styles and colors.