Poufs vs. Ottomans vs. Footstools: What's the Difference?

Posted by Matthew Ressler on






A soft, cushion-like piece without a wooden frame, often used as a footrest.

A padded, upholstered seat or bench, often with a solid frame, used as a seat, footrest, or coffee table.

A low stool used to support the user's feet when seated.


Casual and versatile, available in various shapes (round, square) and materials (fabric, leather).

More formal and structured, can come with storage options, in various shapes and upholstery.

Typically smaller and simpler than ottomans and poufs, often made of wood or metal with a padded top.


Primarily used for seating or as a footrest, not suitable for storage.

Versatile: used for seating, as a footrest, for storage, and sometimes as a coffee table.

Mainly used as a footrest, too low to be used for seating.


Suitable for small spaces due to their lightweight and flexibility in use.

Can be bulky, better suited for larger spaces, or as a central furniture piece.

Compact and easy to move, fits well in small spaces.


Typically does not offer storage.

Often comes with a storage compartment.

Usually does not offer storage.


When you're searching for that perfect piece to finish off your living room or bedroom, you may come across three similar-looking pieces of furniture - the pouf, the footstool, and the ottoman. So, what's the difference?

The footstool is a general category of furniture that can include other pieces of furniture under its umbrella, including ottomans and poufs. Ottomans are a specific type of footstool, often serving dual purposes as additional seating or hidden storage spaces. Poufs, on the other hand, are typically lower to the ground and softer, offering a blend of comfort and versatility in their use. 

Deciding between a pouf, footstool, or ottoman depends on your specific needs for functionality and design preferences. Whether it's for storage, seating, or simply a stylish spot to rest your feet, understanding these differences can guide you to the perfect choice for your space.

What is a Pouf?

Poufs are often called "ottomans," but that's not entirely accurate. Poufs are more like The Little Black Dress of home decorating: versatile, stylish, and always in fashion. 

A pouf can be as much a statement piece as it is a functional part of your living space. With their unique shape and a variety of materials—from luxurious leather to cozy knits—they inject personality and style into any room. Whether used as a footrest, a spare seat, or even a side table with a tray on top, poufs offer an unbeatable combination of functionality and flair.

What sets poufs apart is their versatility. Available in an array of colors, patterns, and textures, they can complement any decor style, from bohemian chic to minimalist modern. Their lightweight design means they can be easily moved around, making them perfect for small spaces or as flexible seating options for gatherings.

So, when you're looking to add that extra touch of comfort and style to your home, consider a pouf. Whether you're propping up your feet after a long day or providing an extra seat for a friend, a pouf is the perfect blend of elegance and coziness that every home deserves. 

What is an Ottoman?

Originally named after the Ottoman Empire, where it was commonly used, ottomans have evolved to become a staple in homes worldwide. An ottoman is a multifunctional furniture piece that can be used as a footrest, seat, or even a coffee table. Unlike poufs and footstools, ottomans are often equipped with a solid structure and upholstered top, offering a sturdy yet comfortable surface. 

Some ottomans have legs (similar to footstools) that raise them off the ground while poufs sit flat on the ground. Ottomans are usually upholstered in leather or fabric, and they can be used as standalone pieces or part of a larger furniture set. 

Additionally, many ottomans come with hinged tops that can be used as extra storage. This design makes them an ideal solution for small living spaces or for anyone looking to reduce clutter while maintaining style. Whether you’re storing blankets, books, or board games, an ottoman can keep your living area neat and tidy. 

When shopping for poufs, footstools, or ottomans, it's important to keep in mind that anything that is more like a pillow is a pouf and anything that is more like a table is an ottoman or footstool. So, if you're looking for a little extra storage or an extra seat in the room, an ottoman is probably what you're looking for. 

What is a Footstool?

Footstools may not command your room’s attention like some of their larger counterparts, but their utility and charm make them an invaluable addition to any living space. A footstool is a low stool with legs designed specifically to support a person’s feet as they sit. 

This classic piece of furniture has been a part of home decor for centuries, tracing back to ancient Egypt where they served not only as a rest for tired feet but also as a symbol of status. Today, they continue to offer a blend of functionality and aesthetic appeal, with designs ranging from the simple and unadorned to the ornately crafted. 

One of the footstool’s most popular qualities is its versatility. It can easily be moved and placed wherever it’s needed, making it a perfect companion for sofas, armchairs, and reading nooks. Whether you’re settling in for a movie night, hosting a casual gathering, or simply enjoying a quiet moment of relaxation, a footstool ensures your comfort is never an afterthought. 

Despite their compact size, footstools can also play a significant role in the overall design and feel of a room. They come in a variety of materials, from luxurious velvet to rustic wood, and can be found in countless styles, patterns, and colors. This variety allows footstools to serve not only as functional items but also as decorative pieces that complement or contrast with the existing decor, adding depth and texture to the space.

Do Poufs Hold Their Shape?

You might be wondering, do poufs hold their shape? The answer is... it all depends. Some poufs are stuffed with polyester fill, the same material that can be found in your couch cushions or bed pillows. Over time this type of filling will become compressed, resulting in a less-than-inviting place to rest your tired feet. Other poufs are filled with fabrics like old t-shirts or blankets. These materials may provide a softer landing, but they'll also lose their shape more quickly.

At CordaRoy's, we know that a lot goes into a good pouf. It's not just about the style or the fabric - it's also about the filling. That's why we stuff our poufs with 100% eco-friendly polyfoam, the same material used in pole-vaulting mats. In fact, this high-density foam provides long-lasting comfort that our customers have come to love. This durable foam holds its shape well, meaning your pouf will stay looking full and fluffy for years to come. 

And if it does start to look a little flat, all you need to do is give it a quick flip and fluff to bring it back to its original shape. So go ahead and use your pouf as much as you want - we guarantee it will stand the test of time!

Can You Use a Pouf as a Seat?

There's nothing like coming home after a long day at work and plopping yourself down on a cozy chair. But is a pouf the best option? Poufs are one of the most versatile pieces of furniture you can own. They can be used as a footrest or even a makeshift table. However, there is one use for poufs that is often overlooked: as a chair.

While it may not be the most comfortable option for long-term sitting, a pouf can be a perfectly comfy chair in a pinch. Whether you're having a friend and family get-together or you're expecting last-minute guests, having an extra seat is always helpful. And if that seat just happens to be a colorful and stylish pouf, all the better!

Just don't forget to get up and move around every once in a while. After all, poor posture can wreak havoc on your health, especially after long periods of time. When you are slouched or slumped in a chair, your muscles and joints do not have the support they need, resulting in circulation problems, back pain, and even headaches. So next time you're looking for a quick place to sit, don't underestimate the power of the pouf!

Pair a Pouf with a CordaRoys Bean Bag Chair

At CordaRoys, we believe that comfort is key - which is why we offer a wide variety of lounge-worthy bean bag chairs and poufs. Our poufs are made of the same high-quality material as our bean bag chairs, so they coordinate perfectly. Plus, the removable cover is machine washable, making it easy to keep your pouf looking as good as new.

Whether you want to pair our Sueded Denim pouf with our Chenille Convertible Bean Bag Chair or match your Bunny Fur NEST Bean Bag with a NEST Bunny Fur Pouf, we have looks and styles to fit in seamlessly with your home decor.

Want to update your look? We even offer a variety of extra covers that you can purchase separately and swap out as often as you’d like. With so many colors, fabrics, and textures to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect pouf for your space. So go ahead and put your feet up - we won't tell!

Benefits of a CordaRoy’s Pouf

For over two decades, CordaRoy’s has been crafting unique and cozy furnishings that not only meet but exceed the expectations of our customers. And now we've taken comfort to the next level with our poufs collection! 

Manufactured in the United States, our poufs are designed to provide both comfort and style, and they come in a variety of colors, fabrics, and sizes. Plus, they come with a 100% Lifetime Guarantee, so you can be sure that your pouf will last for years to come. Here are just a few more reasons why our customers love our poufs:

  • Ultimate Comfort: Each pouf is filled with 100% eco-friendly polyfoam, chosen for its ability to maintain its shape and comfort over time. The carefully crafted stitch pattern isn't just for show; it's designed to offer additional support, ensuring that every moment of relaxation is as blissful as the last. And because they're lightweight and portable, you can move them from room to room with ease.
  • A Style Statement: Our poufs don't just blend into your home; they make a statement. With a wide range of fabrics—from the soft embrace of chenille to the luxurious touch of faux fur, and the timeless appeal of corduroy—there's a texture to match every taste. Our color palette is just as varied, allowing you to find the perfect hue to complement or boldly contrast with your existing décor.
  • Hassle-Free Maintenance: We understand that life happens, which is why our poufs come with removable covers that are as easy to clean as they are soft to the touch. Simply toss them in the wash to keep your pouf looking and feeling fresh, no matter what life throws your way.

So, what’s the verdict? Poufs excel in versatility, offering a chic seat or footrest on the fly. Ottomans shine with their hidden storage, perfect for tucking away essentials. And footstools? They're the straightforward choice for elevating your feet in comfort. 

All three are great options depending on your needs, but we think the pouf is a clear winner. It's versatile, stylish, and built to last - not to mention it comes with our Lifetime Guarantee. So if you're looking for a piece that does it all, look no further than a CordaRoy's pouf!


Foam Performance | Polyurethane Foam Association 

Antiques: Footstools have evolved ever since ancient Egypt | The Columbus Dispatch 

The Royal History of the Ottoman | Hunker 

10 Ways Poor Posture Can Harm Your Health | U.S. News & World Report

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