An In-Depth Look At The Popular Round Ottoman And Its Origin

An ottoman is something one might use when watching TV or lounging on the sofa or as an extra seat when guests come over. It has become a standard furniture piece everyone has but it wasn’t always like this. The history of ottomans is an interesting one and we’ll get to that in a second. We’ll pay special attention to round ottomans since they’re quite trendy right now. A round ottoman has a particularly friendly and cute appearance compared to square or rectangular types.

Drum Softline Design Team

Meet Drum, a stylish little ottoman that serves three roles. It can be used as a coffee table, as a regular ottoman or pouf and also as a tray thanks to its elegant removable top. This type of flexibility is appreciated in modern living spaces where multifunctionality is an important part of every interior design. The tray top is available in four different colors: white, black, ash and walnut.

Softline Ottoman Lisbon Orange and Purple Color

Ottomans are designed to be multifunctional. The Lisbon model featured here on the left side offers that in a really elegant manner. It features a simple design with fine little details and it comes in two sizes, large and small. Use it as an accent piece for the living room or let it add a touch of color to your bedroom or home office.

With so many different ottoman designs to choose from, it’s hard to stand out. The Leaf series has a special characteristic: eco-friendliness. The cute ottomans in the collection are made using recycled wool from salvaged yarns from the fashion industry. It features a series of contemporary colors  mostly based on pastel shades.

pollen a and b round ottoman
Blue and grey round ottoman shape

Modern ottomans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Round and oval types tend to be more popular and the Pollen A and Pollen B designs reflect this with their quirky designs and patterns. Their designs are inspired by the pollen of the Acacia tree and they have a strong visual present, being capable of becoming wonderful focal points..

Orange round large ottoman with a coffee table mixed
Pair an ottoman with a coffee table or a side table for a quirky look
Plastic molding round ottoman
Historically, an ottoman is a form of couch with no backrest
Colorful pattern round ottoman
Ottomans stand out from other furniture pieces through the fact that they’re stuffed over
Living room design with a series of three round ottomans
No portion of the frame is visible in the case of the ottoman and this gives it a comfy and cozy look
Grouping coffee table with ottoman
Ottomans are generally defined as furniture pieces with a padded seat and with no back and armrests
Round ottoman on top and geometrical base
The origin of the Ottoman comes from the Ottoman Empire where it was the central piece of seating furniture
Floral fabric pattern for ottoman
The ottoman was named after the empire itself and was originally a low wooden platform piled with cushions
Round leather ottoman with half coffee table
The first ottomans were wrapped around three walls of a room, similarly to a sectional sofa
Collection of round ottoman
However, this design wasn’t imported to Europe. Instead, the ottoman was scaled down

As the name suggests, ottomans were imported from the Ottoman Empire, being inspired by the furnishing practices that usually involved a U-shaped seating unit similar to a bench. This bench wrapped around three walls of a room and was piled with cushions, offering everyone a place to sit comfortably during family events and casual gatherings. The ottoman was then brought to Europe in the late 1700s but its design was altered and scaled down.

Curved velvet sofa with a selection of round ottomans
The original ottoman evolved into a much smaller version a lot like the ones we use today
Green Round Ottoman
After being imported through trade, it quirky became popular in Europe as well, being used for family gatherings
Large and low purple round ottoman
The ottoman became a substitute to floor seating and it later evolved to suit public spaces as well
Charlot ottoman from meridiani

The Charlot poufs displayed here in the corner were designed in 2004 by Andrea Parisio and they capture the essence of what an ottoman should look and feel like. They’re stuffed over like all ottomans, with their wooden frames being entirely concealed by the fabric and the upholstery. This gives them a really cozy and cute look and makes them lovely seating units for lounge areas but also for other settings.

Round ottoman with leather straps
With time, ottomans evolved from being a chain of seats to being individual units like this one
Fur ottoman for cold season
Initially, the wall doubled as a backrest for ottomans and that can still be applied today
Small round ottoman with fur accents
Ottomans evolved to offer more comfort and they also became more versatile and practical
Orange round ottoman
Not all ottomans are upholstered with fabric and not all conceal their entire frames
Orange ottoman for a bold living room
After being brought to Europe, ottomans became popular in public areas such as clubs, bars, waiting rooms and schools
Orange leather top for ottoman
This type of popularity allowed them to quickly make the transition to residential spaces where they took their place as an accessory
cowhide round ottoman design
The first ottomans were used by the royalty and they were embellished with jewels and has intricate patterns
cowhide small ottoman
The versatility and practicality of ottomans allowed them to quickly become a standard household item

The smaller, modern-day versions of the ottoman are known for their versatility and practicality. They’re appreciated for the fact that they can be integrated in pretty much any room of the house where they can function as an occasional seat, an accent piece for a cozy nook or as a substitute for the coffee table or even for the nightstand.

Brown leather tufted ottoman
The initial designs were adapted to suit new spaces and new decors, hence the diversity of ottomans we have today
Grey tufted on side ottoman
Ottomans can serve a variety of functions including that of a footstool of a coffee table
Green Pattern ottoman
Round ottomans are appreciated for their friendly shape and they’re often used in bedrooms, guest areas, family rooms and other spaces
Round ottoman - stool with Legs -cowhide pattern
In addition to being so versatile, ottomans now also double as storage pieces, hiding am empty space under their seats
Collection of cowhide ottomans
Of course, not all ottomans are hollow so if you want to use them for storage you need to be specific about your requirements

A cowhide ottoman is also something you might want to consider for a decor if the desire is to give it a more welcoming and comfortable appearance. The texture, pattern and colors contribute to an ambiance that’s not only inviting and pleasant but also inspired by  nature. And in case you’re worried about the origin of the hide, you should know that most cowhide ottomans are synthetic and simply mimic the design of the real deal but this doesn’t mean they can’t give you an authentic cowboy-chic decor.

Red large ottoman
Ottomans are often used as accessories for lounge chairs in which case they serve as footstools
Grey ottomans with a tray on top
Modern ottomans are sometimes also called poufs. These are generally lightweight and very cozy

The ottomans we know today come in a variety of different forms, shapes, sizes, colors and designs. Some are topped with removable trays and this allows them to make great accent tables. Some are low and meant to be used as footstools, usually in combination with a lounge chair or a sofa. In some cases the ottoman also double as a secret storage stash. This applies to ottomans that are hollow inside and have removable tops.

Luxury ottoman design
There are many different terms used today to describe an ottoman, terms like tuffet, pouf or footstool
Ottoman with chrome base
Even though ottomans are usually compact and fully covered, in some case the lower part of the frame may be exposed
Living room ottoman coffee tables
A group of ottomans can sometimes replace a sofa or a sectional or can double as accent furniture
Mixing ottoman with coffee table
This combination between an ottoman and a coffee table is a common one, loved for the contrast of materials and textures
Round Ottomans used like Stools for Table
Pair a set of round ottomans with a low round table to form a stylish set ideal for casual dining or board game playing
Grey Ottoman Design
In some cases, ottomans have more intricate designs, inspired by the embellished royalty furniture
moa dillo stool - ottoman
Custom shapes and designs can be found with ease given how popular and common ottomans are these days
Grey V Ottoman Design
When you don’t need the ottoman as a seating unit, let it serve as a decorative piece for the room
estetik fur ottoman
The cozyness of this round ottoman is highlighted by its faux fur cover
Hulsta poufs
These poufs are very cute, with a funky form that makes them resemble birds
Il loft side small
A large ottoman can easily replace a coffee table. If needed, use it in combination with a side table