Learn From Vern: Ottomans

Vern Yip, host of Live in Vern’s House , shares his top tips for choosing the right ottoman with HGTV Magazine .
By: Vern Yip Bio

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufactuer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Photo By: Courtesy of the manufacturer

Two for One

One of my favorite ways to use an ottoman is as a coffee table. Look for one the same height as your sofa or an inch or two shorter. To make a cushiony surface sturdier, top it with a tray, leaving 8 to 10 inches all around so you have room to put up your feet. Emily 32"W x 23"D x 18"H cotton blend ottoman in blue 8638-49, $429, broyhillfurniture.com for stores

Play With Pattern

An ottoman doesn’t attract the attention a sofa would, so you can take a risk with it. Try one with a lot of tufting, patterned upholstery, or nailhead trim. Loop 18 1/2"H x 33 1/2"-diameter cotton blend ottoman in sugarland, $589, la-z-boy.com

Aim for Contrasts

Although there are plenty of chair-ottoman pairs, I prefer an ottoman that doesn’t match the seating. For example, team an overstuffed sofa with an ottoman that has a flatter top and narrow legs. Or choose contrasting colors or a mix of materials, like a linen sofa with a leather ottoman. Strandmon 23 1/2"W x 15 3/4"D x 17 1/2"H polyester footstool in skiftebo orange, $79, ikea.com

Pick the Right Fabric

Since you put your feet on an ottoman, you’ll want one in a durable fabric. Leather lasts forever and looks better the more beat up it gets. Other smart options: treated, stain-resistant cotton; microsuede; indoor/outdoor fabric; and machine-washable slipcovers. Emma 26"W x 22"D x 19"H leather ottoman, $749, ethanallen.com for stores

Short on Space

An ottoman with built-in storage is super handy. Use it to stash toys, throws, or books and magazines. A model with a hinged top offers easy access, or try a removable top if there are kids in the house. Jasmine 19"W x 19"D x 19 1/2"H microfiber ottoman in mandarin, $271, ballarddesigns.com

Versatile Piece

Ottomans don’t just belong in the living room. Try one at the foot of your bed or in a kids’ room. It looks more relaxed than a bench. Cube 18"W x 18"D x 19"H cotton ottoman in like a diamond, $279, hgtvhomefurniture.com for stores

Don't Forget About Poufs

The ottoman’s laid-back cousin typically measures 13 to 14 inches high and doesn’t have framing, so it’s squishy, which makes it great as extra seating. Treat a pouf like a throw pillow—go for embroidery, bright colors, or unexpected materials, like chunky knits. Pull Up a Pouf 11 3/4"H x 23 1/2"-diameter braided pouf in yellow, $129, landofnod.com