I don’t know about you, but I like to put my feet up. To me, leaning back in a comfy chair and kicking my feet up at the end of a long day is one of life’s sweetest little rewards. It’s why the very first legitimate piece of furniture I bought as an adult was an ottoman, and why I haven’t been without one since. Ottomans are also among my favorite types of furniture for the simple reason that the best models are hollow on the inside, which allows you to use them for extra, totally invisible storage.
In fact, with some storage ottomans the crease between the lid and the body of the ottoman is so seamless that it’s practically invisible. Depending on the size, the lid is usually either disguised as a cushion (which, ultimately, is basically what it is) or, for a larger ottoman, attached via a hinge that’s often further hidden under a layer of flexible upholstery. Unless you bother to look closely, you can’t tell whether a storage ottoman is solid or hollow.
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Personally? I like to use mine to store linens – mostly blankets and a single set of sheets for those occasions when I have overnight guests and need to dress up the futon on the fly. But storage ottomans can be great for any item you want to keep close at hand in the living room but might not want to leave out on display – DVDs, dog toys, kids’ toys, gaming controllers, or just about any other small item. If you change the pillows and throw on your sofa seasonally, you can even use the ottoman to store your off-season linens.
It’s true that ottomans of any stripe don’t play particularly well with coffee tables. This depends a little on the size and layout of your living room, of course, but generally speaking for a coffee table to be useful, it probably needs to occupy approximately the space where you’d ordinarily put an ottoman. In a smaller living room, though, I actually prefer an ottoman. Even a small coffee table can really close off the living area and make it tough to move around – to say nothing of the fact that they tend to be junk collectors. In a larger living room, consider pairing an ottoman with a high backed accent chair rather than the sofa, which can allow you to have the best of both worlds. Plus, a sufficiently flat, smooth ottoman of any size can even stand in for a slightly squishy coffee table in a pinch.
Now, storage ottomans aren’t without their drawbacks. Because they typically have hard sides, they can be a little bit heavier than ottomans that are all fluff, though that said, many ottomans that don’t open and close are hollow on the inside, so this isn’t true 100% of the time. Storage ottomans do tend to be a little stockier, though – the more storage they have, the less leg they’ll have – which means even smaller ones can have a rather hefty appearance compared to leggier models that don’t have built in storage.
Maybe the best thing about storage ottomans is the sheer variety of sizes, shapes, styles, and materials that they’re available in. While the storage ottomans I’ve shown here skew a little toward the more traditional suede/leather end of the spectrum, this is more a product of my own personal preferences, rather than a representative sample. Of course, the basic box-with-a-cushiony-lid design stays more or less the same from one model to the next, but you can find ottomans that are square, round, oval, big or small, solid or patterned, traditional or modern, or in just about any kind of upholstery to match your living room.
What do you think of these storage ottomans? Do you like the idea of having a little secret storage as much as I do? Let me know in the comments!
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