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Must Ottomans Match?

Although many chairs come with matching ottomans, you may come across an ottoman that you simply can’t live without. While it isn’t necessary to have matching furniture, it should at least look as if it belongs in your living area. Here are eight tips for matching an ottoman to your existing furniture.

Match Chair Height

Since the idea behind using an ottoman is to relax and be comfortable when propping your feet up, an ottoman’s height should match the height of a chair’s seat. If the height of the ottoman is too high, your legs may be at an uncomfortable angle, which causes pain in the hips and back. 

To get the correct height for an ottoman, measure the chair seat height from the floor to the top of the chair’s cushion. 

However, for people with knee problems, propping their legs up at the same height could be painful as their knees would lay straight. To prevent pain, choose an ottoman an inch or two lower than the chair, so the knees bend slightly.  

Use boxes and a pillow to test different heights to find the one that’s most comfortable for you. Then, after finding the best height for your legs and feet, measure the boxes from the top of the pillow to the floor. Use the measurements to shop for an ottoman.

Consider Furniture Styles

match ottoman with furniture style

Unless you’re fussy about having matching ottomans, you can place almost any ottoman with any chair. However, if the styles are drastically different, the duo can be distracting instead of harmonious. So, try to choose pieces from the same era or with the same fashion concept.

For instance, a traditional-style chair may not pair well with a contemporary ottoman. Many traditional furniture pieces are large, heavy and have tufted cushions covered in darker jewel-tone fabrics. Contemporary pieces are known for their sleek, clean lines, and neutral colours. 

However, a contemporary ottoman may look great with a mid-century modern chair to create a cohesive set. Both styles of furniture centre around clean lines, unique shapes, incorporating wood and other natural materials into their designs, and use neutral or soft colours.

Choose the Same Scale

The scale of the furniture is also an important consideration when trying to create a cohesive chair/ottoman set. If you live in an apartment and the furniture is apartment size, then the ottoman should be as well. 

Placing an over-sized ottoman with a smaller chair would make the pair look out of balance. So, if you have an over-sized chair, buy an over-sized ottoman. If the chair is a smaller scale, such as an apartment-sized piece, then the ottoman should be the same size.  

Mix Shapes

ottoman shapes

While an ottoman that comes with a chair is usually the same shape as the chair, there isn’t a rule that states a square ottoman must be bought for a square chair. A round ottoman could pair well with a square chair as long as the heights match and the furniture styles are similar. 

In addition to pairing ottomans with chairs, consider sharing foot space with your children or partner by purchasing an ottoman for your sofa. Sofa ottomans often double as tables and as storage for throws and extra pillows for cuddling during family movie night. 

Show Some Leg

It isn’t necessary to buy ottomans with the same base style as your chair. Most chairs with legs will have them on display, whether they are short, sturdy legs or longer, ornately carved ones. However, some chair bases are covered by fabric because the base isn’t meant to be seen.

When shopping for an ottoman for a chair, don’t worry if it has exposed legs or not. In fact, it isn’t necessary that the frame is made from the same material. If the height of the ottoman is appropriate for the chair, you can mix wood and metal or expose the legs or cover them as per your personal preference.

Colour and Fabric Combinations

If you buy a chair and ottoman set, of course, the fabric and colour or pattern is going to match. It isn’t necessary for them to match if you’re buying the pieces separately, but, unless you enjoy chaos, the colours should be similar.

Matching a brown chair with a neon green ottoman may make a statement, but probably not the one you’re imagining it’s making. Try matching shades of brown or choose an ottoman in a neutral colour, so the colours don’t clash.

Unifying Textures

The fabrics of the two pieces needn’t have the same textures. However, if you are using different textures, unify them with colour. 

For example, if you have a black leather chair, choose a fabric ottoman that’s black or with black as a dominant colour within the pattern. For instance, a black leather chair may look stunning with an ottoman upholstered in a zebra print fabric.  

Matching Colours or Patterns

Keep in mind, some colours are difficult to match like blues, reds, and greens, so you will need to be careful when trying to match fabrics of one colour. If you want a blue ottoman to match your blue chair, consider a pattern with several shades of blue in it or a blue that is several shades lighter.

It can be frustrating to try to match a Wedgewood blue fabric only for you to get the ottoman home and discover the colour is off by one shade. Choosing a patterned fabric or a neutral colour, like off-white or grey, can keep this problem from occurring.

ottoman colours and patterns

You don’t need to find matching ottomans for chairs if you consider:

  • Chair height
  • Furniture styles
  • Furniture scale
  • Ottoman shape
  • Colour and fabric combinations

Keeping these factors in mind when you're shopping for an ottoman will help you find one that is attractive, goes well with your chair, and keeps you comfortable while propping your feet up.