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Submitted by on Sep 11, 2021

An ottoman is a furniture item. In most cases, ottomans do not have backs or arms. They might be a low upholstered sofa or a smaller cushioned seat that can be used as a table, stool, or footstool. The seat could have hinges and form a lid, with the interior hollow being used for linen, magazines, or other objects. The smaller version is frequently utilised as a fireplace seat or positioned near an armchair or couch as part of living room décor.

Ottoman footstools are frequently marketed as a set with armchairs, couches, or gliders. Footstool, tuffet, hassock, pouffe (also spelt pouffe), tumpty in the British Isles, or humpty in New Zealand and Newfoundland are some of the other names for this piece of furniture.

The ottoman may be traced back to Ottoman Empire furnishings, when it was the major piece of home sitting, usually constructed as a low wooden platform with cushions heaped on top. It began as sectional furniture that wrapped around three walls of a room, before developing into smaller versions that fit into a room’s corner or circular cushioned chairs that encircled a column or pole in a public space.

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In the late 18th century, the ottoman was imported to Europe from the Ottoman Empire and given the name of its homeland. The word ottomane was first recorded in French in 1729, and over the course of a generation, it found its way into every boudoir, albeit it appears to have been considerably bigger than it is now.

“Pd. for an Ottomane of velours d’Utrecht,” one of Thomas Jefferson’s memorandum books dated 1789, is the earliest known recorded use in English. Through the 19th century, European ottomans evolved into a circular or octagonal design, with seats split in the middle by arms or a central, cushioned column that might contain a plant or statue. The ottoman began to feature hinged seats to make advantage of the empty area within that may be utilised to store goods.

The ottoman footstool, a similarly related item of furniture, was an upholstered four-legged footstool that could also be used as a fireside seat, with carpetembroidery, or beading covering the seat. The term ottoman has come to include both types by the twentieth century.

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