Can You Sit On an Ottoman? [Solved]

Last updated on January 2, 2021

Yes, you can sit on an ottoman most of the time. If you’re unsure, follow our guide that explains how every type of ottoman can hold the weight. Read on!

The best ottomans will allow you to sit on them — it’s one of the main criteria that define a high-quality piece of furniture. But you still need to be aware of certain caveats.

If you’re ever broken a lid of an ottoman, you may now have this irrational fear of sitting on one of them. It happens to the best of us. But it’s not your fault. Indeed, not all units are meant to be sat on — this should be clear.

As a homeowner who accepts guests, it’s your duty to inform your guests to avoid breaking things. After all, you don’t want your cute little ottoman to break down under your 600-pound rowdy uncle. It can’t stand a chance.

(Note, we have included a couple of shopping links to show some examples. They may pay us a commission. It costs you nothing extra.)

What's Inside?

Can You Sit On Any Ottoman?

ottoman for sitting

Ottomans can be used in many ways, such as decorative pieces, chairs, and more. Ottomans with legs are preferred because they are sturdy enough to encourage people to sit on them.

Indeed, the unit is great for those who want a little extra seating. However, does it depend on the type of ottoman? Yes, it does — some ottomans are better fit for seating than others. Here’s the rundown:

  • As mentioned, the most suitable ottomans for seating are those with legs. Their construction is the sturdiest.
  • Storage ottomans can also be easily used for seating, especially if they are filled with sturdy things like books.
  • Poufs that are firm (or filled with bean bag filling) can also be sat on without any problems.
  • Ottomans that have caster wheels, on the other hand, should be treated for seating carefully. The small wheels rarely hold higher loads.

Can You Sit On a Pouf Ottoman?

bean bag pouf
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You can freely sit on the above pouf as it’s filled with bean bag filling.

A vast majority of common units sold as a pouf are approximately 20″ by 15″ in size. It would be best to sit on these larger poufs with your feet flat on the floor as a typical stool or chair. Otherwise, the construction might not hold heavy use. After all, these units are meant to be used primarily as a footrest.

Ultimately, it would help if you referred to the description provided by the manufacturer. The maximum weight should be indicated. Smaller units tend to withstand heavy use better.

Can You Sit On a Storage Ottoman?

Yes, sit on it. Many units with storage space have a lid or a cover that you can open and use as a coffee table. That means it’s more of a table than a chair. However, if you stuff it with things that can provide support (such as books, magazines, or even neatly folded blankets), it may become an excellent seat that can hold a lot of weight.

How Much Weight Can an Ottoman Hold?

Load capability has to do with the size and shape of the unit as much as its construction. Many ottomans can accommodate 200, 330, and even 660 pounds or more — that’s enough to hold an average adult person (or even two.) As a consequence, you should know the maximum weight your ottoman will handle before buying (it’s indicated in the description.)

For example, this ottoman can hold 330 pounds due to its small size and solid wood construction (even though it’s hollow in side):

solid wood storage ottoman
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Typically, ottomans that are capable of holding more weight are indicated as benches.

Meanwhile this ottoman can hold as much as 660 pounds (and seat two people):

ottoman bench 660 lbs
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You can easily sit on ottomans like these without fearing they would break.

Is It Bad to Sit On an Ottoman?

It’s not bad to sit on it as long as you are aware of its weight limits. Typically, it’s not the most convenient seat due to its size, but it can do as an extra seat. It’s important to understand that an ottoman will not replace a comfy chair or a couch completely.

The ottoman was intended to be positioned in front of a couch or comfy chair, that’s the perfect place for it. Ottomans are a piece of excellent furniture that can act as additional seating, nevertheless.

What Shape is the Best for Sitting on an Ottoman?

The most popular design shapes for an ottoman are round, rectangular, and square (although there are more creative options.) The shape alone won’t determine how good the unit is for seating. Although the closer it resembles a chair or a bench (pieces of furniture for sitting), the more convenient it is. Following that logic, a rectangular ottoman should be the best for sitting.

What Do You Store in an Ottoman to Allow Sitting?

Some ottomans have a hollow frame for storage within them to store small and large objects. You can use the oversize shelf to store throws, cushions, etc., in the living room or the bedroom. If you have children, then it is obvious to use the ottoman to arrange toys.

Having said that, soft and easy to break things won’t help you with sitting on an ottoman. On the contrary, it can pose a risk if the cover and frame is not sturdy enough. But if you fill it with books or other sturdy items, that can improve its capacity to hold weight a few times.

Can You Sleep On an Ottoman?

There are some great uses for the humble ottoman that people don’t recognize. You can sleep on some of the models. No one favors a larger ottoman, but some units can be folded and converted into beds. It’s known as an ottoman bed.

Here’s an example of this type of product:

ottoman bed
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The Takeaway

So, as we’ve seen, you can almost certainly sit on most ottomans. But always keep in mind the manufacturer specified maximum weight, and don’t abuse it. You can also increase this capacity by filling it with books or other sturdy items that might provide extra support.

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