How Far Should An Ottoman Be From A Chair?

Getting an ottoman to place in front of a chair can be a wonderful addition to your living room. You will appreciate putting your feet up while you relax with a good book or watch your favorite TV show. Before you decide if you have space for an ottoman, you need to know how far an ottoman should be from a chair. We've done the research and have all the answers for you to layout furniture.

An ottoman should be 12 inches away from a chair. This distance will allow your feet to reach when using it as a footrest while still providing enough space to get in and out of the chair. 

Keep reading for more information on ottoman placement. We'll discuss the best height for an ottoman, whether to use an ottoman as a chair, how to space an ottoman with either a sofa or coffee table and more!

A modern blue themed living room with blue colored walls, a gray sleeper couch, and a matching gray ottoman, How Far Should An Ottoman Be From A Chair?

What Is The Ideal Distance Between An Ottoman And A Chair?

When arranging furniture in your living room, one of the most important rules to keep in mind is how much space you need between pieces. If you want to use your ottoman as a footrest with a specific chair, it needs to be close enough for your feet to reach while seated comfortably, but also allow enough space to move around it when you need to get in and out of the chair.

Too far away, and you may have difficulty using your ottoman to rest your feet without constantly making adjustments. Too close, and your ottoman could become a trip hazard. Also, crowding pieces of furniture too close together can make the room look cramped and cluttered.

Twelve inches apart is a reasonable distance to aim for when placing your ottoman in front of a chair. This distance should allow the right amount of space for most people to reach with their feet while still allowing enough room to stand up and maneuver around the chair.

Click here to see this yellow reclining chair with matching ottoman on Amazon.

What Is The Best Height For An Ottoman?

An ottoman should be either the same height or shorter than the seat of its paired chair or sofa. It should never be taller than its matching furniture companion. Since an ottoman is primarily used as a footrest, you want to make sure it can comfortably serve this purpose. If your ottoman is too tall, it could strain your back or legs while your feet are lifted.

Most people will find it comfortable to have an ottoman at the exact same height as its matching chair or couch. However, an ottoman can be an inch or two lower than your chair if you find that more comfortable for your back and legs. If possible, try out ottomans at different heights so you can determine what measurement you prefer when resting your legs. You could also stack boxes and books at varying sizes to test out your ideal ottoman height for comfort.

Click here to see this accent chair with matching ottoman on Amazon.

You also don't want your ottoman to be too short. An ottoman often serves double duty as a coffee table or end table, so you don't want it to sit too low in comparison to your couch or chairs. You want to make sure your ottoman is at a comfortable height to reach your drink, remote control, or anything else you might place on it.

Can You Use An Ottoman As A Chair?

Because ottomans are extremely versatile furniture pieces, use an ottoman as a chair. If you occasionally need extra seating, an ottoman is a perfect item to serve this purpose. If your ottoman sits typically in front of a chair for use as a footrest, you can shift it around to another spot when you need an extra seat. Ottomans are usually easy enough to move that you can reconfigure the placement for whatever use you need at any given time.

You could also get an ottoman that solely exists as a chair. It's your decision on how you use your ottoman, and depending on where you choose to place it, your ottoman could be used only for seating instead of as a footrest.

What Is The Difference Between An Ottoman And Footstool?

Ottomans and footstools are both used as footrests, but they are not the same. Ottomans can often serve multiple additional purposes -- as coffee or end tables, extra seating, and sometimes extra storage spaces, but footstools are usually only suitable to use as footrests.

Ottomans come in various shapes and sizes, but they are always upholstered and usually close to the same height as the seats on the surrounding furniture. Footstools can be upholstered or simply made out of wood. They are generally smaller and shorter than ottomans. If the item is 12 inches or shorter, it would generally be considered a footstool and not an ottoman.

Click here to see this brown footstool on Amazon.

How Much Space Should Be Between Ottoman And Sofa?

The amount of space you should have between your ottoman and sofa depends on how you primarily intend to use the seating area. The general rule of thumb to space furniture is to have enough room to effortlessly move around it, while still maintaining a close enough distance between pieces for convenient use.

You also need to keep in mind the size of the ottoman. A larger ottoman may require a bit more space to step around while a smaller pouf tucks in closer without creating any issues or looking awkward.

Sofa And Ottoman Spacing:

  • For a larger ottoman doubling as a coffee table, set 14 to 18 inches apart from the sofa.
  • For a smaller ottoman serving as a side table, set close enough to the sofa to comfortably place a drink. 
  • For an ottoman providing extra seating, set at least 30 inches apart from the sofa.
  • For an ottoman used only as a footrest, set 12 inches apart.

Can You Have An Ottoman And Coffee Table?

You can have both an ottoman and a coffee table in your living room. If your space allows, having both an ottoman and a coffee table can be a convenient solution. Just make sure you keep the same spacing rules in mind and allow enough room for getting around your furniture.

When you need extra seating, having an ottoman or two next to your coffee table is a terrific option.

Smaller ottomans can almost always fit along with a coffee table.

Ottomans can also be a fun way to add a little personality to your living room.

Tucking an ottoman or two under your coffee table when not in use will let you have the best of both worlds.

The choice is yours on how you arrange your coffee table and ottomans.


When arranging your ottoman with your chair or other furniture, keep in mind how you intend to use the ottoman to determine the appropriate spacing. As long as your ottoman is convenient for you to reach while providing enough space to walk around it, you will be happy with the layout. For more ideas on how to use an ottoman, check out our article on using an ottoman for sitting.

If you're ready to add an ottoman to your living room decor, check out our top 40 places to buy an ottoman online.

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