An ottoman is a piece of furniture consisting of a padded, upholstered seat or bench, usually having neither a back nor arms, often used as a stool or in some cases as a coffee table. Ottomans are often sold as coordinating furniture with armchairs.
An ottoman can also be known as a footstool or pouffe. Some ottomans are hollow and used for storage.
Ottomans can be used in other rooms besides the living room, different designs can be used in the bedroom, gaming room, family room and guest room. Leather and bench ottomans are also used as alternatives to sofas.
The ottoman was brought to Europe from Turkey in the late 18th century. The word ottomane to refer to furniture appeared by at least 1729 in French. In Turkey, an ottoman was the central piece of family seating, and was piled with cushions. In Europe, the ottoman was first designed as a piece of fitted furniture that wrapped around three walls of a room. The ottoman evolved into a smaller version that fit into the corner of a room.
Ottomans took on a circular or octagonal shape through the 19th century, with seating divided in the center by arms or a central, padded column that might hold a plant or statue. As night clubs became more popular, so did the ottoman which began to have hinged seats underneath to hold magazines.