We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Ottoman?

By Wanda Albano
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The word ottoman can mean a variety of things. It can refer to anything pertaining to the Ottoman Empire, it can be used to describe a Turkish man of a certain tribe, and it can also indicate a type of cloth. For our purposes, however, we are going to focus on the most widely used definition of the term today: a type of furniture.

Traditionally, it is believed that the ottoman takes its roots from the divan, which is essentially a long, backless seat or padded bench with cushions to lean against. In fact, in some parts of world, the terms "divan" and "ottoman" are still interchangeable. The divan style of furniture was popularly used in the Middle Eastern council chambers of the government agency called Diwan, from which it got its name. The divan was popularized in Europe in the 1800's.

Nowadays, however, especially in North America, when one speaks of an ottoman, one is usually talking about a low, rectangular footrest, usually upholstered, which may double as additional seating or an occasional table. The emergence of the smaller, more minimalist "divan-like" piece of furniture is generally believed to be a western evolution of Eastern furniture influences on European society, which became somewhat of a trend in the 1800's. The ottoman, at least as we know it today, is not believed to have been invented by Ottoman Turks, but was called so in deference to its exotic roots. In point of fact, the ottoman most resembles the Moroccan (North African) pouf, which is a thick cushion used as a seat.

Modern ottomans can be found in almost every furniture store, in various sizes, shapes, materials, and price ranges. An ottoman may also be hollow and may be used as chests for storage. Covered in leather, silk, canvas, or cotton, they have become a staple in most fashionable homes.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By ysmina — On Jan 14, 2015

I used to think that Ottomans are very expensive. But I've seen a few affordable ones. They are small and made of faux leather but still look good and would look classy in any living room. I don't have a big budget but I think I can get a very nice one for a decent price.

By serenesurface — On Jan 14, 2015

@Terrificli-- I'm thinking of selling my ottoman and getting one with a storage. When we first bought furniture for out home, I insisted on having an ottoman and we basically picked it up along with our living room set. I didn't do much research about the materials, sizes and storage options.

I wish I had because I really need one with a storage now. We use blankets in the winter and we also have magazines and books lying around in the living room. It would be great to have a place to store all that without them being out in the open. It would also be very easy to access those things. We wouldn't have to go to the next room or go searching for them around the house.

By SarahGen — On Jan 13, 2015

The Ottomans may or may not have invented this type of bench but I can definitely see how Western culture was inspired by Ottoman seating and furniture.

I'm interested in Ottoman history and recently also watched TV series and shows about it. One historian mentioned that the Sultan used his bedroom also as his office. He had a large square padded bench which also doubled as a seat and a bed. During the day, he could sit on it and attend to his visitors, work on it and then sleep on it at night as his bed.

The ottoman furniture we know of today is basically a miniature version of this. Its uses are a little different now but the furniture itself is basically the same.

By Terrificli — On Jan 06, 2015

@Logicfest -- Your brother is lucky his bride to be didn't smack him upside the head (of course, she might have and you just didn't mention that in your story).

Anyway, a storage ottoman is one of the coolest pieces of furniture in my home. It is considerably larger than your typical ottoman, but that means it has plenty of space for us to store video games so they are out of sight.

By Logicfest — On Jan 05, 2015

The leather ottoman has become almost a standard piece of equipment in a lot of homes in these parts. My little brother had a bit of fun with the term "ottoman" back when he was preparing to get married to his Turkish wife.

"Don't ask her what she wants for a wedding present," he'd say. "All she wants is a bunch of footstools."

The funny thing about that, of course, is that the term "ottoman" may have originally come from Turkey, but its use in describing furniture in the English speaking world appears to be coincidental.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.