What Is a Tufted Ottoman?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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A tufted ottoman is a footstool which has been embellished with the upholstery technique known as tufting. Tufting involves using a large needle to pass thread through layers of fabric or foam, creating a textured, decorative pattern on the surface of the upholstery. There are many different types of tufted ottomans. Some are simple footstools, while others can serve as storage units or coffee tables.

The feature which distinguishes a tufted ottoman from other ottomans is that it is embellished with the upholstery technique known as tufting. Tufting involves using a large needle to pass thread through the thick layer of foam and fabric which makes up a cushion, headboard, or some other decorative object. Normally, a tuft is anchored on an object’s front by a fabric-covered button. The thread which holds this button in place is pulled very tightly through the object’s back and then tied off, creating a decorative “dimple” on the object’s front. Often, multiple tufts are arranged on an object’s front in geometric shapes such as diamonds or squares, creating a visually pleasing decorative effect.


Apart from displaying this tufting technique in some way, there are no strict rules about how a tufted ottoman should appear. Some feature just a single tuft at the center of their upper surface, while others are covered in repeating tufts. A tufted ottoman can be upholstered with leather, velvet, corduroy, or a great many other materials. It may be upholstered from top to bottom, or feature an upholstered footrest which is set upon a base or legs made from wood, metal, or another material. Further, a tufted ottoman can be round, square, rectangular, or a number of other possible shapes.

Additionally, tufted ottomans can vary by function. Some are intended simply as footstools, and are usually placed beside a chair, couch, or other seating unit. Others can serve as footstools while simultaneously performing a second function. Some, for instance, have a removable top beneath which blankets can be stored, while others provide shelves on which items such as magazines and DVDs can be kept. Large tufted ottomans can sometimes double as coffee tables, although the unevenness of their surface can make it difficult to keep tall, thin objects like glasses upright.


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