What Is an Ottoman Bed?

By Geoff McKinnen Certified Sleep Coach

Last Updated On January 4th, 2024
What Is an Ottoman Bed?

Key Takeaways

  • Stylish and Functional Design: Ottoman beds seamlessly blend style with functionality, featuring a lift-up storage compartment beneath the mattress. This design, inspired by hidden storage in the Ottoman Empire, provides a discreet and spacious solution to declutter your bedroom.
  • Versatility and Aesthetics: Ottoman beds come in various sizes, lifts, colors, and materials, allowing them to match any bedroom decor. Whether you prefer a side or end lift, an upholstered divan, or an exposed wood frame, ottoman beds offer versatile options to suit individual preferences and room layouts.
  • Practical Benefits and Popularity: The key advantages of ottoman beds include abundant storage capacity, easy accessibility with lift mechanisms, and a streamlined appearance that conceals belongings. These beds simplify access to bulky items, minimize clutter, and eliminate the need for additional storage furniture.

The ottoman bed has become an increasingly popular furniture choice, offering style and functionality. Ottoman beds feature a lift-up storage compartment under the mattress, operated by a gas spring or piston mechanism.

When closed, the bed appears as a typical upholstered bed frame or divan. Upon opening, ample storage space is revealed to neatly tuck away extra linens, clothing, shoes, or anything else you might want close at hand but out of sight.

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Ottoman beds trace their origins to the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century, where furnishings often incorporated hidden storage compartments. The key design element has endured over time, allowing today’s ottoman beds to provide both form and function. Models now come in a wide array of bed sizes, lifts, colors and materials to match any bedroom décor.

So what sets ottoman beds apart? Key benefits include abundant storage capacity compared to divans, easy accessibility with lift mechanisms, and streamlined style hiding all your belongings.

Read on to learn all about the many advantages of ottoman beds and what to consider when shopping for your perfect storage bed.

Quick Guide: A 30-Second Summary

Best Mattress for Ottoman Bed Amerisleep AS3

What Is an Ottoman Used for?

Beyond use in beds, the word “ottoman” refers to a footstool or other upholstered seat without a back or arms. Ottomans are most commonly employed as a flexible piece of occasional seating in living rooms, family rooms, and other gathering areas.

The compact size and lightweight frame make them easy to move around. Some feature attached trays to serve as side tables next to a chair. Others open up to offer concealed storage for items like blankets or board games when not in use. Some may even be a suitable place to store books in the bedroom, pairing a small ottoman footstool with a reading chair or tucking an ottoman bench away in a reading nook.

In the bedroom, the core ottoman design translates well to a storage bed. Rather than acting as a separate seat, the lifting compartment is integrated below the mattress. The storage space adapts to standard bed frame sizes and dimensions while maintaining the key functional element.

The storage space is typically put to good use for larger, bulkier items you want accessible but out of the way, such as extra bedding, off-season clothing, or travel luggage. Such a space can be where you store the bulky blankets that complete a winter bedroom during the summer. Some models even allow you to customize storage trays or dividers to organize the contents.

With creative design making the most of available space, today’s ottoman beds merge versatility, convenience and aesthetics into one furniture piece. The multipurpose possibilities explain their surging popularity in contemporary bedrooms, from the master room to guest bedrooms.

Benefits of Ottoman Beds

Ottoman beds offer significant practical advantages over other bed styles. Naturally, their primary benefit is how they provide abundant storage capacity without claiming additional floor space. Opening up the compartment under the mattress creates a large area to tuck away belongings conveniently, such as a place to store bedding out of season.

This helps minimize clutter in the bedroom. It also reduces the need for free-standing storage furniture like dressers or chests which consume precious room real estate.

Storage beds simplify access to bulky, hard-to-store items. The spacious compartment can readily fit off-season clothing, bedding for overnight guests, sporting goods with odd proportions, and similar items that usually prove difficult to organize.

Having designated space for the overflow helps maintain tidiness across the whole bedroom, while still keeping essentials within easy reach.

Operation remains easy courtesy of the integrated lift mechanism. Gas springs or dampened pistons on each side gently bear the weight of a mattress to lift open smoothly, requiring minimal physical effort. Handles or straps offer a good grip. Once raised, the top stays up securely until closing. This free hands to arrange contents below unencumbered. Lowering again just takes a light push down until latched shut.

Other advantages of ottoman beds include a streamlined, built-in appearance. There are multiple styles to match any decor from traditional to contemporary, and durability supporting every type of mattress thickness and weight, even heavy mattresses.

Units come in all standard bed sizes to match the usual mattress sizes, from twin up to super king. Many allow the choice of side or foot opening to fit different room layouts. With such practicality and versatility combined with visual appeal, it’s no wonder ottoman beds grow more popular every year.

Different Types of Ottoman Beds

The range of ottoman beds available encompasses various designs suited to individual needs and tastes, just as there are many types of bed frames for different bedrooms. Choices include side opening versus end opening mechanisms; upholstered divans or exposed wood frames; compact sleepers to expansive storage capacity; and much more.

Side lift ottoman beds attach the hinged top to one long side. Gas struts help lift that side and the mattress clear of the base compartment below. This style fits well when room layout or access restricts reaching the foot of the bed. The side lift works equally well against a wall or out in the room. It’s often chosen when considering guest room ideas.

End lift remains the most common style, with the top hinged at the foot of the bed. It’s similarly assisted by internal struts, the mattress lifts from the end upwards, remaining securely propped open until ready to lower back down. The end lift is ideal for foot-of-bed access. It also tends to have greater storage capacity than a side lift.

Half lift ottomans open only about halfway up at the foot of the bed. This allows partial access without fully clearing the compartment. The style can also incorporate partial drawers, offering a versatile compromise of lift style beds.

Upholstered ottoman divans mimic traditional padded headboards and footboards, tailored with skirting fabric. They coordinate well with bedroom sets. They are more costly but a versatile match for room décor.

Alternately, there are exposed wood frames available to display visible joinery supporting upholstered mattress platforms. Metal bases are also available. They tend to cost less than upholstered divans.

Ottoman Bed Buying Considerations

Several factors come into play when selecting an ottoman bed to best meet your needs. The ease of use is important, and it is impacted by lift mechanism type, noise, weight and safety. The type of mattress paired with it also affects comfort and performance. Other aspects include quality of construction for durability.

The integrated lift mechanism ranks as a top consideration. Piston or spring devices should be tailored to bed size and weight capacity, and they should lift smoothly, quietly, and vertically, and lock open securely. Included adjustable safety stops can prevent accidental closing.

The noise of the lift may concern some. Properly aligned, lubricated pistons inside the bed operate very quietly. Wood parts can creak lightly under shifting weight. Mattress materials can most affect noise – pocket springs muffle sounds better than foam alone. To maintain quiet operation, ensure no hardware loosens over time. Felt pads added during assembly can also help reduce contact noises.

Safety remains vital, of course. Look for a slow, controlled lift and close mechanisms to prevent sudden crashes down that can cause injury. Straps for grip can help prevent finger pinches. Still, keep your hands and limbs clear when operating, as some beds close midway and then finish the final distance more rapidly. Ensure pets or small children don’t climb in when open.

Give care to pair the right mattress type. Softer foam mattresses lack inherent structure, relying fully on the base below for support. Inner springs or latex better complement ottomans. Too thin a mattress also transfers impact through to the body. Allow reasonable depth for comfort.

Ottoman vs. Divan Beds

Ottoman and divan beds share similarities of integrated storage inside an upholstered base, covered with a mattress. From there, they differ primarily by storage access style.

Divans incorporate large capacity drawers built in below the sleeping area. Two to four drawers sit under the mattress, riding on casters. There is a smooth operation on quality sets. Open-ended drawers inside can also simplify storage of bulky items.

Divans offer generous space usable in varied ways. The drawer fronts allow owners to differentiate storage, and they are among the most affordable storage beds.

Ottomans, conversely, use the entire underside volume as one large compartment, hallmarked by the lift-open top. Their unrestricted storage space accommodates almost anything. It’s convenient for all sorts of bedding, from blankets to comforters and duvets, or more odd-use items like seasonal goods or sports equipment. An Ottoman bed provides the greatest storage capacity overall.

Their lift mechanisms enable self-contained use without impacting the surrounding floorspace. They have a stylish simplicity for contemporary rooms. They cost more than basic divans but many find one is worth it long-term when trying to find something that can maximize the limited space inside a studio apartment bedroom or otherwise tiny bedroom.


What is the purpose of an Ottoman bed?

An Ottoman bed serves the dual purpose of providing comfortable sleeping space and offering valuable storage solutions. The defining feature of an Ottoman bed is its hydraulic lift mechanism, allowing the mattress base to be easily lifted, revealing a spacious storage compartment underneath. This under-bed storage is ideal for stashing bedding, seasonal items, or other belongings, maximizing the use of space in a bedroom.

What are the disadvantages of Ottoman beds?

While Ottoman beds offer convenient storage, there are some potential disadvantages to consider. One drawback is the weight of the mattress and the effort required to lift it, which may be challenging for individuals with physical limitations.

Additionally, the storage compartment may have a weight limit, restricting the amount of items you can store. The design of Ottoman beds may also make them more complex to assemble, compared to traditional bed frames.

Can you put a normal mattress on an Ottoman bed?

Yes, you can use a normal mattress on an Ottoman bed. Ottoman beds are designed to accommodate standard mattress sizes. Whether it’s a memory foam, innerspring, or hybrid mattress, as long as it corresponds to the bed’s dimensions and isn’t above the frame’s weight limits, it can be placed on the Ottoman bed frame.

Do Ottoman beds stay down without a mattress?

Ottoman beds are designed to stay down without a mattress when in the closed position. The hydraulic lift system includes a locking mechanism that keeps the bed securely closed. This ensures safety and stability when accessing the under-bed storage or when the bed is not in use.

Are Ottoman beds okay for heavy people?

Ottoman beds can be suitable for heavy individuals, but it’s essential to consider the weight capacity limits specified by the manufacturer. The hydraulic lift system and overall structural integrity of the bed should be able to support the combined weight of the mattress for heavy sleepers, along with the sleeper(s).

Checking the weight capacity and choosing a bed frame that meets the required specifications is crucial to ensure durability and safety for heavier individuals.


Ottoman beds furnish an ideal two-in-one solution, delivering ample integrated storage alongside a comfortable spot to sleep. Making smart use of the space below your mattress creates room to organize belongings without clutter or added furniture and accessories like bed risers. Convenient lift-open access and large capacity can prove ideal for bulky linens, clothing, and gear.

With the right construction and mattress match, an ottoman bed promises years of reliable service while lending style to your décor. Once considered a novelty, they have now proved a staple. Reclaim your bedroom space and make a smaller bedroom feel bigger with the versatility of the modern ottoman bed.

About the author

Geoff McKinnen is a writer focusing mainly on the healthcare industry and has written articles on everything from foods to help you lose weight to the connection between Alzheimer’s and sleep. Geoff’s passionate about helping readers improve their well-being to lead happier lives. Outside of work, Geoff enjoys cycling and hiking and believes that by leading a healthy lifestyle, he can help others do the same.

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