Ottoman vs. Pouffe: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to home decor, even the smallest details can make a big difference. Pouffes and ottomans are two such details that can add both functionality and style to your living spaces. 

These upholstered wonders are often used interchangeably, but they do have distinct differences that can influence your choice. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of pouffes and ottomans, exploring their definitions, key differences, and how to use them to elevate your room’s aesthetics.

Ottoman and Pouffes Definition

An ottoman is a low, upholstered stool with legs that has evolved beyond its initial purpose as a footrest. Ottomans serve as versatile pieces of furniture, offering comfort for propping up your feet, functioning as coffee tables with a flat top, providing extra seating, and featuring hidden storage options. They come in diverse shapes, sizes, and materials to match various decor styles. 

On the other hand, pouffes, rooted in French design, are cushioned, low-to-the-ground seats that offer comfort and versatility. They can be used as footstools, makeshift chairs for limited seating, and even as side tables. Pouffes vary in size and firmness, with options ranging from pillow-like plushness to firmer support, adding a touch of whimsy to any room.

Key Differences Between Ottoman and Pouffes

At first glance, pouffes and ottomans may seem like close cousins in the world of home decor. Both share the common thread of being low stools that can serve as footrests, extra seating, and side tables. However, it’s the subtle differences that set them apart:

  • Appearance: Ottomans tend to be firmer and less pillowy in appearance, often resembling a traditional stool or mini sofa. In contrast, pouffes embrace their plushness, looking more like oversized cushions.
  • Legs vs. No Legs: Most ottomans have legs, which raise them slightly off the ground. Poufs, on the other hand, sit flat on the floor.
  • Size Matters: While larger ottomans can easily double as coffee tables, most pouffes are too small for this purpose. Ottomans are generally more substantial in size, making them better suited for holding trays and serving as a central surface in your living room.

How to Decorate A Room With a Pouf or Ottoman

5 Styling Tips with Ottoman

  • Balance and Symmetry: If you’re using an ottoman as a coffee table, consider symmetry when decorating its surface. Place a decorative tray in the centre with a vase of fresh flowers and a couple of neatly stacked books. This creates a visually pleasing focal point.
  • Colour and Texture: Ottomans come in various fabrics and finishes. Choose one that complements your existing decor. Consider adding throw pillows or a cosy blanket to tie the ottoman into the room’s overall colour scheme and texture.
  • Use as Extra Seating: When you have guests, move your ottoman closer to your seating arrangement to provide extra seating. It’s a versatile addition that can be easily incorporated into your living space.
  • Functional Storage: If your ottoman has hidden storage, make the most of it. Keep items like blankets, magazines, or board games inside for quick access while maintaining a clutter-free look.
  • Mix and Match: Don’t be afraid to mix and match ottomans with other furniture pieces. They can complement sofas, accent chairs, and even work as standalone seating in cosy corners.

5 Styling Tips with Pouffe

  • Layered Comfort: Enhance the comfort of your pouffe by layering it with throw blankets and decorative cushions. This not only adds visual interest but also encourages guests to cosy up and relax.
  • Colour Pop: Poufs can inject a burst of colour into your decor. Choose a pouffe in a bold, contrasting colour to make it a focal point in your room.
  • Create a Lounge Area: Arrange multiple pouffes in a circle to create an informal and inviting lounge area. It’s perfect for casual gatherings and game nights.
  • Bohemian Vibes: Poufs are a staple in bohemian-style decor. Embrace this aesthetic by mixing and matching pouffes with vibrant patterns and global-inspired textiles.
  • Versatile Side Tables: Use pouffes as versatile side tables that can be easily moved around. Place them next to your favourite reading chair or beside your bed to hold a book and a cup of tea.


1. Can I use a pouffe as a coffee table?

While pouffes can serve as low side tables for holding smaller items, they are generally too soft and low to function as a traditional coffee table. If you need a stable surface for drinks and snacks, opt for an ottoman instead.

2. Are pouffes and ottomans suitable for outdoor use?

Most pouffes and ottomans are designed for indoor use, as they are upholstered and not built to withstand the elements. However, some outdoor-specific ottomans are available, so be sure to check the product specifications if you’re looking for outdoor furniture.

3. Can I use a pouffe as a seat?

Yes, pouffes can be used as seats, especially in more casual settings or when you need additional seating for guests. They provide a comfortable and relaxed seating option.

4. Are ottomans and pouffes easy to clean?

Cleaning requirements can vary depending on the material and fabric used. Most ottomans and pouffes come with care instructions that you should follow to ensure they stay looking their best. Typically, you can spot clean them with a mild detergent and a damp cloth. Some covers may also be removable and machine washable, making maintenance easier.

5. Are there different styles of ottomans and pouffes to choose from?

Yes, there is a wide variety of styles available for both ottomans and pouffes. You can find them in different shapes, materials, and designs to suit your personal taste and home decor. From modern and minimalist to traditional and eclectic, there’s a style for every preference.


In the battle between ottomans and pouffes, the decision ultimately comes down to your personal style and what works best for your space. When decorating your room with these upholstered pieces, remember to think about things like size, colour, and texture to make sure they blend well with your decor. 

So, the next time you’re deciding whether to get an ottoman or a pouffe, consider how each one fits your lifestyle and style preferences. Whichever option you decide on, you can find a wide selection by browsing online furniture stores, and it will make a delightful addition to your home.

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