Searching for a piece of accent furniture to rest your tired legs at the end of the hard work day? Or a place to rest your glass of wine, tea or coffee while you watch your favorite TV show? Or an extra seat for that unexpected guest?
What you need is an ottoman…or should I say, pouf.
But, wait a second, you say? You mentioned 2 different types of accent furniture – ottoman and pouf. Just which one is it?
Confusion over ottoman versus pouf, no longer.
I am here to show you the difference between an ottoman and a pouf and which one is better for you.
So…first let us get to the definition of these home decor accent pieces – an ottoman and a pouf.
What is an Ottoman?
An ottoman is a piece of accent furniture designed to function much like a low seat without a back. Hence, you can surmise that you should be able to sit on them.
Because it was designed to act like a low seated chair or small sofa, an ottoman will have legs. It will also be upholstered – either with a smooth padded top or a tufted upholstered finish – much like a sofa.
The uses for an ottoman are many. You can use an ottoman as extra seat or as a footstool – a place to put your feet up.
An ottoman can also act like a coffee table – a place to rest your books and magazines, your reading glasses, your cup of tea or coffee…or glass of wine – just be sure to use a tray on top of the ottoman to ensure you have a flat surface (no one wants to waste any wine on a needless spill :-).
What is a Pouf?
A pouf, also sometimes referred to as a pouffe, is in the same family as an ottoman. The main characteristic of a pouf, though is that it does not have legs.
Not having legs is key to its design and functionality. A pouf is sort of like it sounds – puffy. Puffy and legs just don’t go together.
The puff of the pouf implies that there is no solid structure to the pouf – somewhat like a pillow. A pouf is not constructed with a wooden or solid frame. Instead, it will have a shape but, it will be much less structured – with the shape stabilized by materials other than hard wood.
As such, the uses of a pouf are a place to rest your feet upon. As well, it can act as a comfy and soft extra seat in just about any room.
Ottomans versus Poufs – What’s the Difference?
Now that you know what an ottoman is as well as a pouf, you can probably see some of the differences already. But, let’s discuss the differences even further.
We can classify the differences between ottomans and poufs into 4 categories: their design, their style or looks, their size and their function.
When you look at pictures of ottomans and poufs, you can see the difference in design.
As mentioned above, an ottoman has a solid frame which is covered in upholstery. In comparison, while a pouf will be covered in fabric, it does not have a solid structure making it much less sturdy than an ottoman.
As well, an ottoman may be designed in such a way that it incorporates some storage space. Often, you will find ottomans where the top can be opened et voila, storage. This can be very handy for storing extra blankets or pillows in a bedroom, books or magazines in your living room or even shoes, boots and accessories in a large entryway.
To put it bluntly, a pouf will never have any storage capabilities.
Differences in Look and Style
Mostly as a result of the design differences, there is a big difference in the look and style of an ottoman versus a pouf.
The look you will get with an ottoman is much more structured and solid making it more suitable for more structured interiors. That is to say that the ottomans will fit into rooms which tend to be more tailored and formal.
So, maybe it goes without saying that a pouf, on the other hand, because it is very unstructured, fits well into an unstructured decor such as a kids room, cozy cabin or cottage.
With this in mind, it is not hard to imagine that poufs can generally incorporate more whimsical designs. For example, you can find poufs with specific themes such as cow themes, ethnic and unique prints, and even baseballs.
For the most part, an ottoman will be larger than a pouf. Or, perhaps you could say, an ottoman can be larger than a pouf.
On the other hand, a pouf will almost never be larger than an ottoman – unless you somehow found yourself a very small ottoman, or conversely, a very large pouf.
A pouf will generally be of a size to fit one person seated whereas an ottoman can be large enough to seat several people.
Because of the smaller size of poufs, they can easily be found in pairs or groups and spread around a room for extra seating when necessary.
On the other hand, depending on the size of the ottoman, you will often only ever find one ottoman in a room due to its larger size and presence.
While both an ottoman and a pouf can be used for extra seating or as a footrest, this is where the functionality of a pouf ends. There are a few extra things that ottomans can do that poufs just cannot.
Because ottomans are generally larger than a pouf, they can incorporate storage – something a pouf will never give you.
As well, because of the harder structure of an ottoman, they can be used as a coffee or side table. While you may be able to put a tray on top of a pouf and set your drink down, the pouf will have to be one which is solid enough to hold the tray flat. It will also have to have a top surface large enough to hold the tray.
And in general, an ottoman is, when purchased for a living room or seating area, is often intended to act as a soft sided coffee table.
Semantics…semantics…At any rate, it is just generally easier to use an ottoman as a coffee table versus a less-than-solid pouf.
Ottoman or Pouf – Which one is Better for You?
As with any piece of furniture, your best choice is based on a few criteria – your needs, your desired style and your budget.
I will leave the budget aside. That is up to you. However, note that an ottoman will generally cost more money due to it’s more structured and practical design.
If you need some extra seating, then either a few poufs or a large ottoman will do.
However, if you would like a piece of furniture which double duties as extra seating and a coffee table, then an ottoman is the way to go. A pouf is less likely to be able to serve as a coffee table – at least if you want a more stable coffee table.
You can also make use of an ottoman with storage in a foyer. An ottoman with storage provides essential storage as well as a sit down place for removing shoes and boots.
If you need some extra storage, then, again, an ottoman is better for you. A pouf will never provide you with any storage capacities whatsoever.
If you really don’t need the extra functionality of an ottoman versus a pouf – larger size, storage capability, and sturdy surface – then it really is only the style which matters.
A pouf has a much more relaxed style – great for carefree and casual rooms such as kids rooms, rec rooms or basements. Even casual or unstructured living rooms look great with a few poufs scattered here and there.
Poufs, due to their smaller size, can also be useful in entryways. They can easily be placed under a console table for seating when putting on and taking off shoes and boots – and then easily stored away under the table when finished.
Ottomans, on the other hand, tend to have a more structured and tailored look and feel. They work well in classic, tailored rooms.
Great for a bedroom, a storage ottoman is perfect for storing any extra pillows, blankets and bedding.
However, I have to say, that with the wide variety of pouf and ottoman styles available today, you can find the perfect style for your room whether that be an ottoman or a pouf.
Whichever one is right for you, when you get your ottoman or pouf home, get ready to put your feet up.
Think only poufs can be whimsical? Think again…check out this cow themed ottoman – perfect for any future cowboy or cowgirl’s room.
Shop more Ottomans and Poufs here.
Shop more Accent Furniture here.