How to Decorate a Living Room Ottoman

An ottoman, also known as a pouf or footstool, adds versatility to your living room.

Arrange a decorative serving tray on your ottoman.
An ottoman allows a chair or sofa to serve as a chaise lounge and provides an additional seat. In contemporary decorating, large ottomans often take the place of a coffee table. A serving tray on your ottoman adds a useful and decorative element to your living room. Position the ottoman for practical use and decorate it with accessories to create a harmonious design. .

Center the ottoman in the location where you'll get the most use from it. A living room ottoman provides double duty as a footstool and cocktail table. Arranging it at the middle of the main conversational seating area achieves the aims of adding comfort to the room and providing a convenient surface for beverages and reading material.

Cover the ottoman with a slipcover designed for an ottoman or with a decorative scarf. For example, use a printed or embroidered shawl that includes one of the main colors of your living room. This offers a convenient way to decorate a faded, worn or mismatched ottoman. If the ottoman is in good condition and goes well with your living room, leave it uncovered.

Add a serving tray to the ottoman. Set it off-center, in reach of the main seating. For example, place the tray to your right-hand side of the center of the ottoman, in reach of your favorite place on the couch.

Arrange accessories on the tray, such as coasters, a vase, tea set or decanter and glasses. Check that you can reach the accessories.

Display three art or photography books on the other side of ottoman. For example, place them to the left of center as you face the ottoman from the couch. Overlap the books like fallen dominoes so that the titles show from the couch.

Things You Will Need

  • Ottoman cover or decorative scarf (optional)
  • Serving tray
  • Vase
  • Coasters (optional)
  • Decanter and glasses or tea set (optional)
  • 3 art or photography books


  • If the ottoman is small, use only the tray and refrain from adding books. The arrangement looks most inviting if it isn't crowded. Use a heavy tray to provide a secure surface for drinks if the ottoman surface is soft. A heavy tray will help protect a quilted-top ottoman from spills by remaining firmly in place. Add fresh flowers, bamboo, peacock feathers or silk flowers to a vase to add height to the ottoman decoration.


  • Don't leave glassware on the ottoman when not in use in households with pets or children to help reduce the risk of injury.

About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.