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The Ottoman Empire Invades Modern Living Spaces

Ottomans have gone by many names since they were first used to accent living spaces. But today, this interesting piece of furniture refuses to be a mere accessory.

As living spaces shrink, furniture designers continue to look for functional furniture that will do double duty. Although ottomans have been on the scene for years, this often overlooked piece of furniture is taking up some of the slack -- rising to the occasion by taking the place of a coffee table, extra seating and cupboards all rolled into one.

These upholstered free-floating seats pay homage to the decadence of the Ottoman Empire and have been used as decorative and functional furniture pieces since the Victorians romanticized the Turkish couches described in Lord Byrons epic poem chronicling the adventures of the fashionably naughty Don Juan.

The ottoman was eventually stripped of excessive ornamentation by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who pared down the moveable ottoman and used it to punctuate his built-in seating groups. And so, the ottoman rose to a new challenge adding function to form as one of the most nobly romantic additions to contemporary design.

Without the sharp edges of a traditional coffee table, an ottoman provides a stylishly safe alternative for families with young children. It also gives designing minds an opportunity to introduce an accent color into the room. Best of all, many ottomans found on showroom floors have the added benefit of providing extra storage space with hidden built-in cabinets. And because of the many shapes and sizes available, ottomans can be used in just about any room of the house. You can furthermore find Ottomans in a wide range of beautiful fabrics - I always use this site to buy for the home online.

Contemporary living doesnt come cheap, but you can still get this modern style at a moderate price with ottomans from the casual collections at La-Z-Boy (www.la-z-boy.com). Or to jazz things up without breaking the bank, check out the diverse selection offered by Ottomoms.com online (www.ottomans.com). Simple square cubes in a mix of stripes, solids and polka dots can stand solo or be grouped together as a funky coffee table whereas other casual contemporaries show their inner beauty with clever storage compartments.

Todays ottomans come in all shapes and sizes. They can be curving and feminine or bold and masculine. They can be round, oval, square, rectangular, octagonal, triangular or free form. They can be used as extra seating, pushed against a wall, tucked under tables or used as a footstool or coffee table. And so, even though an ottoman is traditionally defined as an upholstered seat without arms or a back, this changeable piece of furniture defies being locked into a specific function. Don Juan would be proud.