Can an Ottoman be Used as a Table or a Chair?

If you’re still looking for that perfect finishing touch, an ottoman may be the answer! An ottoman is a perfect addition to your space and can be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Ottomans are most known for being a footrest or storage bench, but they can have other great purposes as well.

Ottomans are multi-functional pieces of furniture that make any home feel more cozy and complete. Aside from their traditional uses, these additions can also be used as tables and chairs.

In this article, we’ll review these less mainstream ottoman uses. Our overview will help prepare you for an ottoman purchase with specific models, fabrics, and additional style choices. Be well-informed about what’s available to you before signing and agreeing to freight fees.

The Many Uses of Ottomans

This tasteful stool has been utilized in many ways since Medieval times. Primarily used for people to rest their feet, the ottoman has since gained popularity as a multi-use item. 

When first incorporated into households, the ottoman was designed to improve comfort but has since helped enhance human interaction and socialization no matter the use. The ottoman, meaning ‘divan,’ or a banquette like a sectional piece of furniture, has evolved and become one of the most crucial statements for all houses and establishments. Ottomans are especially favored for:

  • Additional Seating
  • Dinner Parties
  • Foot Stools
  • Enlightened meetings
  • Extra Surface
  • Gatherings
  • Powder Rooms
  • Sitting Rooms
  • Storage
  • Table

Prior to being in the center or corner of a room, early ottoman models actually wrapped around three walls of a room. This adaptable piece of furniture has been modified time and time again and is now available in a variety of sizes and styles. 

Ottomans were once strictly made of cotton but now come in a variety of materials, including leather and plush. 

Small Space? Ottomans are a Big Help

Ottomans were traditionally used as a backless couch. Should you have guests over, many will see it as such; or simply as a place to kick up their feet. While you may be leaning toward one based solely on appearance, it’s important to bear in mind all the ways you will take advantage of this magic stool when making a decision. This is especially helpful in smaller spaces, as their multiple uses will enlarge your space. 

Ottomans are great for small spaces because of their functionality. Without taking up unnecessary room, they add: 

  • Additional Storage Space
  • Seating
  • Surface Area

However, selecting an ottoman with the function you need is more important than a do-all spend-all purchase. 

Coffee Table vs. Ottoman 

There are a few key differences between a coffee table and an ottoman. The first and foremost being that people often tend to keep their feet off tables, whereas ottomans are more inviting for a quick rest. 

Many people prefer to avoid eating where they rest their feet, but ottomans are, in some cases, designed precisely for that! Here are a few of the main differences:

  • Purpose – Ottomans are known for seating or resting; coffee tables are known for being a surface used to eat, drink, and place things.
  • Space – Ottomans can be selected for many different spaces and often provide storage, whereas coffee tables are primarily a living room piece of furniture.
  • Stability – As a backless couch, ottomans are definitely made with comfort in mind, while coffee tables are produced with sturdiness as the priority. 

Can an Ottoman be Used as a Table?

Despite these couch-like storage benches traditionally used for sitting and resting one’s feet, they have also evolved to serve as tables. Although it may seem hard to imagine a cushion being a sturdy enough surface to rest a glass of wine without fear of spillage, designers and innovative persons alike have modified this medieval seat to serve as a dining surface.

There is a multitude of ways to tweak your ottoman to also serve as a dining surface. Keep in mind, however, these pieces of furniture were originally designed for sitting. 

Check out some of these multi-purpose alternatives:

  • Party on Top, Business on the Bottom – This ottoman here offers a cushion to rest on at the typical footstool level. Still, the shelf below offers alternative storage to keep coffee table items or rest a glass when you’re not holding it. 
  • Slide Out – Artisans have even created a way to add a slide-out table that rests below the cushion providing a more stable, table-like surface without losing additional seating and your footrest. 
  • Tray – Perhaps the most affordable yet expressive option. Serving trays offer flat, sturdy surfaces to keep crumbs and spillage off your ottomans and furniture. When not in use, they’re a great piece of décor to make your space more inviting. Check out these options on Amazon
  • Best of Both Worlds – Check out this higher-end design, with a sliding table to move where needed that rests perfectly overtop the ottoman. Now your charcuterie board can be enjoyed without fear that fallen grape has touched where your toe just was. 

Can an Ottoman be Used as a Chair?

Do you have hardwood floors or a carpeted space? If you will be using your ottoman in the living room as a chair, you may want to avoid one that has wheels. It could be disastrous if someone were to try and sit while the ottoman rolled out from underneath them. Just imagine the mess if it got knocked into and sent your hot chocolate mug flying! 

Ottomans do not need to be isolated in the living room. Think outside the box with some of these alternative seating options:

  • Book Nook – Grab a book, open your ottoman to pull out a blanket, sit cozy, and escape the world for a while.
  • Breakfast Bar – Slide it under a table in your dining room or breakfast nook to have a quick bench for additional guests or to grab a quick bite! 
  • Closet – Ottomans are a great addition to closets and powder rooms. They add additional seating, storage, and a posh twist to the aesthetic.
  • Entryway – Shoe benches are great when you need to tie and untie laces but can often be bulky or uncomfortable. Use an ottoman to store winter hats and jackets and put on your shoes with ease.
  • Hall Bench – Take up some of that extra space by adding something practical, a place to sit, store, or pile up the things you’ve been nagging the kids to bring to their rooms. Maybe having it up off the floor will remind them to take it with them. 

Pro-Tip: Ottoman uses are infinite! Not just for extra seating or a quick make-shift table on move-in day, but they can even provide a little extra boost to change that lightbulb or even get something from the top shelf. 

How to Choose the Right Ottoman for You

It’s like magic; how many things an inanimate object like an ottoman can do. If you’ve decided you need one, you already have an intention for it, or perfect spot picked out. Fear of getting the wrong one? Below are some suggestions and questions to ask yourself as you work to select the best ottoman for your needs: 

  • Measure the space – height too!
  • For what else will the ottoman be used?
  • What material is best for your lifestyle and purpose? Wood, fabric, leather, etc. 
  • What color do you like the most? Some ottomans come with the option to remove and wash, or even replace the upholstery.
  • Wheels, or no wheels? Wheels can be great if you will need to move the ottoman frequently. Check if they have locking wheels or consider keeping it in a carpeted area.


Ottomans are excellent multi-taskers. You can easily add a seat to your dinner table, put your feet up after a long day, or keep your belongings safely tucked away and more with just one piece of furniture. 

Enhance your space without sacrificing any by taking advantage of these aesthetically pleasing pieces. An ottoman is one of those purchases that you will never understand how you ever lived without it once you have it. 



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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