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Ottoman Height & Size Guide

Putting their feet up on an ottoman after a hard day’s work is the perfect way to relax for many people. Fortunately, if your favourite chair didn’t come with an ottoman, you can purchase one separately so you too can enjoy this type of relaxation. 

These tips will help you find the right ottoman by considering its size and the available spacing for it in your home. 

Consider Ottoman Shapes

Since ottomans are available in several shapes, you can use your creativity by putting different shapes together to form furniture sets. Ottomans are available in three basic shapes:
  • Round
  • Square or Cube
  • Rectangular 

ottoman shapes

These shapes come in many sizes and styles, so you could purchase a small round ottoman for a living room chair or a large rectangular ottoman to match to a sectional sofa.

Balancing Shapes

When buying an ottoman for a piece of furniture, it is important to try to balance the sizes of the two pieces. Putting a large round ottoman with a loveseat could look odd if the other furniture in the room matches the size of the loveseat. It may also take up too much space and make it difficult to move around the room.

Balancing two pieces of furniture together, like an ottoman and a chair, involves considering the scale and proportions of the furniture. The scale of a piece refers to its visual size and its proportion in a room means to balance the sizes together. 

So, when you place an ottoman and chair together, and they don’t look quite right, then the two pieces are considered out of balance. Of course, there is some subjectivity to judging the scale of two pieces because you may like how a small ottoman looks with a large sectional, but someone else may cringe.

As long as you consider the scale and proportion of an ottoman to the piece of furniture for which you’re buying it, then you can have fun mixing or matching furniture shapes.

Consider Spacing

It is also necessary to consider the size of the room when choosing an ottoman for a chair or sofa. If the room is small, a large ottoman may take up too much floor space, making it difficult for anyone to move throughout the room.

So, if you want to buy an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table for the sofa, you may need to rethink its size. Instead of a wide, square, overstuffed ottoman, you may need to settle for a smaller rectangular one that fits the space better.

To avoid tripping over an ottoman, consider the size of the room and the size of an ottoman before purchasing one to go with a chair or sofa.

ottoman guide spacing

Choose the Right Height

An important part of being comfortable when putting your feet up on an ottoman is its height. If it is too tall or short, you won't be comfortable, and your back could start hurting if the ottoman is too tall.

Ideally, the height of an ottoman will be about an inch shorter than the chair or seat height of the sofa. To determine seat height, use a measuring tape and measure from the top of the chair’s or sofa’s cushion to the floor. Use this measurement, minus an inch, to find an ottoman that’s the right height.

You can test the height to make sure it is comfortable for you, or the primary user of the ottoman, by stacking boxes to the height you’ve measured. Then, the main user should sit in the chair or on the sofa and prop their feet on the boxes.

If they’re comfortable after a few minutes, you’ve found the right height for the ottoman. If not, lower the height an inch at a time to find the best height for the person who will use the ottoman the most.

ottoman height guide

Add Dimension to Room

Unless you’re a person who must match everything perfectly, consider using the size, shape, and fabric of an ottoman to create dimension in a room. If all the furniture in a room is of the same design, height, and scale, the room could look flat and boring.

Mix designs, shapes and scales to construct a visually interesting room. Try putting a round ottoman with your square sofa or an overstuffed square ottoman with a traditional wingback chair. You could also put an upholstered ottoman with a leather sofa for contrasting styles.

You should still consider how well the furniture pieces balance and the amount of available space in the room. However, with some creativity, you can design an interesting room people will want to spend time chatting and relaxing in.

ottoman gude add dimension to room

Double Duty Ottomans

An ottoman's only purpose needn't be to prop up people's feet, but they can store throws and pillows, act as a coffee table, or double as extra seating for parties or family get-togethers.

As an example, if you’re purchasing an ottoman for the sofa in the family room, choose one with a hollow centre for storing throws so everyone can cuddle together while watching a movie.

Consider putting a long ottoman in the bedroom to double as a bedroom bench. When you’re getting ready for work, you could sit down on it to put on clothes or shoes. Double duty ottomans are a great way to keep a room looking tidy when they are not in use.

It isn't necessary to perfectly match ottomans with the furniture they will be paired with in the living or family room. The shapes, sizes, and fabrics of two furniture pieces can vary to create a visually interesting space people will enjoy spending time in.

However, remember to buy an ottoman that’s the right height, so the user is comfortable when relaxing and balance the furniture together by taking their scales and proportions into consideration. Otherwise, you can be as creative as you like when matching ottomans to sofas, chairs, or beds in your house.