Ottoman Furniture - The ottoman is a versatile piece of furniture, both useful and decorative. Some of them were large enough to use as daybeds, but most, like this one, were smaller. They were sometimes made available as parts of suites of furniture. Even when they were bought separately, they were often reupholstered to match the rest of the decor and furnishings by their original owners. Chatelaine's Antiques Collectibles Appraisals


Click Here

Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Furniture > Expert Tip: Ottoman Furniture

Restoring old chests

Mother of Pearl

Appraisal Services

* Adjustable Chairs
* 1930s & Art Deco Bookcases
* Art Deco Console Tables
* Art Deco Dressing Tables
* 1930s and Art Deco Kitchen Furniture
* Art Deco Wardrobes
* 1950s Furniture
* Biedermeier Furniture
* Bureau cabinets
* Card Tables
* All about Chairs
* Chaises lounge
* Chest of Drawers
* Cheval Mirror
* Children's Furniture
* Chinese Furniture
* Chinese Lacquer Furniture
* Clothes Presses
* Cocktail Cabinets
* Commode Confusion
* Dating Furniture
* Buying Desks
* Directoire Furniture: 1790s France
* Drawer knobs and handles
* Dumbwaiters or dumb waiter furniture
* Early Dining Furniture
* A True Eastlake Table?
* Empire Revival Furniture
* Fake and Reproduction Furniture
* Folding Furniture
* Footstools or Foot Stools
* Furniture handle and knobs
* Garden Furniture
* Hall Furniture
* Hall Stands
* Indian Furniture
* Islamic Furniture from the Middle East
* Jacobethan Furniture
* Japanese Furniture
* Louis XV & XVI Furniture: Understanding the Obsession
* Louis XV and XVI Furniture Defined
* Lounge Furniture
* Mid-Century Modern Furniture
* Music canterburies
* Octagonal Furniture
* Office Furniture
* Ottoman Furniture
* Pedestal Desks, executive office desks
* Regency Sideboard Furniture
* Reproduction Furniture




The Ottoman

 The practical and adaptable ottoman was a popular piece of furniture in the 19th century, when it added a touch of the exotic to many different interiors.

 The ottoman is a versatile piece of furniture, both useful and decorative. Some of them were large enough to use as daybeds, but most were smaller. They were sometimes made available as parts of suites of furniture. Even when they were bought separately, they were often reupholstered to match the rest of the decor and furnishings by their original owners.

 An ottoman is an upholstered seat for one or several people, with little or no visible wood. A variation, the box ottoman, has a hinged top so that it can be used for storage as well as for seating. Though its name suggests a middle eastern origin, the ottoman was actually a European creation, inspired by the upholstered benches, covered with cushions, that were used in Turkey and other parts of the Ottoman Empire.

 The ottoman was first popularized in England at the beginning of the 19th century, with the publication of an influential book of designs by George Smith. Smith was cabinetmaker and upholsterer to the Prince Regent, whose well-known fondness for all things oriental influenced Smith's taste.


 Regency ottomans could be either round or rectangular. Most were upholstered in the ubiquitous striped cotton or in silk and looked like mattresses on low wooden plinths. The upholstery was held in place by tightly drawn threads prevented from pulling through the fabric by silk tufts. After 1820, it was more common to use buttons rather than tufts.

 Sprung seats were put on ottomans from around the 1830s onwards. The Victorians produced many variations on the basic design. A few Victorian ottomans had padded arm-rests and upholstered backs. Many were designed with attractively curved sides that made it possible for full-skirted Victorian ladies to sit more comfortably.

 The second half of the 19th century was the heyday of ottomans. They could be found in large and small houses, in reception rooms, bedrooms, smoking rooms - where they were a particular favourite - libraries and studies. Box ottomans were particularly popular.

 In the best houses, the ottomans were upholstered to match the chairs. Coverings included printed fabrics, carpet or embroidery, particularly the thick, plush Berlin woolwork. Sometimes the designs were embellished with decorative braid or ornamental brass tacks.


 There can be enormous variations in the quality of Victorian ottomans. The best examples had a solid wooden carcase, like a box. Most, though, have a lighter wooden framework, perhaps constructed by the upholsterer himself. Webbing was stretched across the frame and covered with hessian to support the stuffing.

 Sometimes you may come across a homemade version, where a basic frame box has been given a thinly-padded top and the interior has been lined with cheap cotton or even wallpaper. Professional work, including circular or bow-fronted examples and the elegant parlour ottomans with curved sides, had interiors lined with dark linen or cotton, the top edges of which were tidied up with simple braid or cord.

 Box ottomans remain one of the cheapest and simplest forms of storage, as an interesting covering fabric can transform a crude frame into an acceptable piece of furniture. They have remained in production through the 20th century, with particularly luxurious ones in buttoned leather, and enjoyed a come-back in the 1930s. Current variations are typically constructed from foam rubber, rather than wooden frames, and upholstered in hard-wearing woollen fabrics.


 Ottomans of all periods can be found in second-hand dealers and at small auctions. Antique models in good condition need not be too expensive, while ones that need a lot of renovation can often be purchased quite cheaply at house sales or in junk shops. If you're planning to re-cover a damaged ottoman, always do it in period style.

The Mother-Of-Pearl Overlay Furniture of Gujarat: A Sixteenth-And Seventeenth-Century Indian Handicraft and Its Markets in the Islamic East and Euro Simon Digby; Hardcover

Secrets of the Koran: Revealing Insight into Islam's Holy Book by Don Richardson; Hardcover

The Holy Quran: An English Translation by Allamah Nooruddin, et al; Leather Bound

The Koran: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Cook; Paperback

The Antique Hunter's Guide to American Furniture:
Chests, Cupboards, Desks & Other Pieces

by William Ketchum

Boxes & Chests:
How to Make and Decorate 15 Traditional Country Projects

by Alan Bridgewater

Painting & Decorating Cabinets and Chests
(Creative Finishes)

by Phillip Myer

Treasure Chests:
The Legacy of Extraordinary Boxes

by Lon Schleining, Randy O'Rourke

Repairing and Restoring Antique Furniture
by John Rodd, V. Taylor

Discovering and Restoring Antique Furniture: A Practical Illustrated Guide for the Buyer and Restorer of Period Antique Furniture
by Michael Bennett

Restoring Antique Furniture:
A Complete Guide

by Richard Lyons

Restoring Antiques

Furniture Repair and Construction: Styles, Restoring, and Projects-Step by Step

Restoring & Repairing Furniture
by Alan Smith

Restoring Wood
by Eva Pascual I Miro