Sometimes, one common thread keeps popping up again and again as I work for clients. Recently, many of them have requested a cocktail ottoman instead of a coffee table. Though I haven’t usually recommended a cocktail ottoman in the past, I have found myself drawn more and more to the idea, and started recommending them myself.

modern cocktail ottoman 1
Source: Brittany Siles, Portola Springs
A cocktail ottoman can have the same functionality of a coffee table, but provide a more comfortable place for casual extra seating, or a more natural place to put your feet up on. Some cocktail ottomans come with a large shelf underneath, which can even provide the same storage capacity of a coffee table, and some pull out into smaller pieces for flexibility. Using a tray that you love on the fabric top will further utilize the surface area, and using that as a place to keep your remotes and coasters can even make a cocktail ottoman look more organized than your coffee table would have been.

Sometimes it is hard to find what you are looking for by searching just for “cocktail ottoman.” I have definitely spent hours scouring companies website, thinking: they must have one here. Searching for “large ottoman” or “grand ottoman” can bring up more options. Finding something in the 36″ – 48″ size range will be comparable to a coffee table or cocktail ottoman. Make sure you find one that fits perfectly in your space though – ottomans come in many shapes and sizes! Above all, finding one you love, in a material you love, is what will bring your room all together.

Traditional Cocktail Ottomans are definitely easier to find. They come tufted, with skirting, colorful, with patterns, and in many shapes and sizes. Since the idea of a cocktail ottoman is more traditional in and of itself, this is no surprise.

traditional cocktail ottoman
Source: Architectural Digest, Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos’s New York Apartment
These more traditional cocktail ottomans can be found in a formal living room, or library. They are a place to relax and lay back a little, but to keep up appearances. They come in beautiful fabrics, woods, and metals, and spruce up a room by being the final formal touch.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

Traditional-Cocktail-Ottomans

  1. Wayfair / Connely Upholstered Ottoman / Ivory – Since this is a smaller ottoman, using 2 together in front of a large couch would really make a statement. I love the velvet – the color and softness of it add lightness, making it not too heavy for a space.
  2. Layla Grace / Brownstone Lorraine Brown Cocktail Ottoman – The linen and wood of this ottoman just add a beautiful warmth to a room, and the amazing turned leg details are beautiful final touches.
  3. Crate & Barrel / Dolce Black Walnut Cocktail Ottoman / Belem Pebble – These cabriole legs are perfectly complimented with warm grays and tufting. The feminine curves and lightness of this cocktail ottoman brings detail to any space.
  4. One Kings Lane / Dandee Skirted Cocktail Ottoman / Ivory – One Kings Lane has amazing cocktail ottomans. If you want a fun pattern or bright color, you can certainly find one here, but this understated cocktail ottoman definitely has an amazing airy lightness.

More modern cocktail ottomans can be harder to find. Since the coffee table has become a prevalent staple in modern and contemporary living rooms, cocktail ottomans have slowly been forgotten about. But some modern ottomans have become a definite part of trendy, and more casual living rooms. By adding fabric to the center of a space, instead of wood, metal, or glass, your room is transformed into more a relaxing and personable room.

modern cocktail ottoman 2
Source: Architectural Digest, Jewelry Designer Ippolita Rostagnoโ€™s 19th-Century Brooklyn Townhouse
These modern cocktail ottomans can add interest to your main living room or bring casual comfort to a seating area in your office. They are an inviting place to sit, and guests can feel comfortable throwing their feet up even without your permission. With side tables to aid in holding drinks and mugs, having a cocktail ottoman will definitely help the whole space feel more casual, even with more formal furniture.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Modern-Cocktail-Ottomans

  1. Article / Ceni / Ottoman / Volcanic Gray – The mid-century modern shape and wood with amazing grain to it adds warmth and texture. Though casual, this is a put together look, which goes perfectly with Article’s other mid-century sofas, bringing the whole room together.
  2. Ethan Allen / Miles Leather Cocktail Ottoman – Whether your adding a little lodge to your living room, or bringing a masculine loft feel, this warm leather ottoman’s simple shape and beautiful top stitching can settle into any room.
  3. Jonathan Adler / Giant Leather Moroccan Pouf / White – Just like it’s smaller counterparts, this moroccan pouf can add a little California cool, or Moroccan casual feel, but is large enough to act as a cocktail ottoman.
  4. Bo Concept / Hampton / Salto Leather, Snow White – Customizable in a ton of different fabrics and leathers, this urban cocktail ottoman has bookcase style storage on the side. The wheels on the bottom add to its casualness and flexiblity, and whatever upholstery you choose, the rounded sides will bring contemporary softness to any space.

I hope your appreciation for cocktail ottomans has grown like mine did! The possibilities are endless for a large ottoman in your space. Since interior design is such a tactile art, adding more texture to a room also adds to the layers of comfort and warmth. Fabric, being a primary texture bringer, is always welcome.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Anthropologie / Velvet Edlyn Grand Ottoman – Of course, so much velvet in a space might seem indulgent, especially in a forest green, or eggplant purple, but in the right space, this piece will be the statement of the year. This cocktail ottoman comes in so many colors, one is probably the right one for your space, and the perfectly detailed gold legs add just a little glam to a space.
  • The Khazana Home Furnishings / Ashford Isle Ottoman – Perfectly angled corners, an open iron base, and a cream tufted top puts this cocktail ottoman right between modern and traditional. It could work in a ton of different spaces, and though it is on a rather large scale, the openness and lightness of the fabric keeps it from dominating and overwhelming a space.
  • CB2 / Kilim Pouf – for an ultra casual look
  • ABC Carpet & Home / Charpoy Coffee Table/Bench – This Indian coffee table equivalent brings airy texture to a room through the amazing weaving technique and light wood legs. Also can be used as a daybed!

Other ideas:
For those who want a cocktail ottoman but don’t have the space, think of using a bench instead, they come in many sizes, and materials. They can also be tufted or smooth, and some benches come with storage or a shelf, to act just like a smaller version of a cocktail ottoman.

For a more flexible set-up, try using multiple smaller ottomans. Square storage ottomans nest nicely together, or 2 round ottomans next to each other add interest – and extra seating.

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