Hassock vs Ottoman: Understanding the Differences

Hassock vs Ottoman
Images / pexels.com/@emrecan

Hassock vs ottoman – understanding the differences.

When it comes to choosing furniture for your home, you may come across the terms “hassock” and “ottoman”.

While some people use these terms interchangeably, they are not actually the same thing.

In this article, we will explore the differences between a hassock and an ottoman, including their functions, sizes, shapes, and more.

So, whether you’re looking for a comfortable seat or a versatile storage solution, read on to learn which one is right for you.

What is a Hassock?

A hassock is a low padded or upholstered stool that is primarily used as a leg rest or seat. Unlike an ottoman, a hassock does not have any storage space.

It is usually smaller in size compared to an ottoman and can come in various shapes, although circular hassocks are quite common.

The legs of a hassock may or may not be present, but if they are, they are always covered with fabric.

Hassocks are known for their thick and hard cushions, which make them ideal for kneeling or using as low seats.

Due to their relatively short height, hassocks are often used in churches as kneeling surfaces, particularly in confession booths.

In some cases, hassocks may also be referred to as poufs, but poufs are generally larger and taller in comparison.

What is an Ottoman?

An ottoman is a low upholstered seat without arms or a backrest. Unlike a hassock, an ottoman usually comes with storage space, making it a versatile piece of furniture.

The name “ottoman” actually originates from the Ottoman Empire, where low wooden platforms covered with cushions were used as seats.

Over time, this style of furniture was exported to Europe and gained popularity.

Ottomans are typically larger and taller than hassocks due to their storage capabilities. They come in various shapes, with rectangular being the most common.

The feet of ottomans are usually bare, without any fabric covering. They are padded or upholstered, providing a comfortable seating option.

In addition to serving as a footrest or seat, ottomans can also be used as coffee tables or larger footstools, depending on their size and design.

The Differences Between Hassocks and Ottomans

Now that we have a general understanding of what a hassock and an ottoman are, let’s delve deeper into their differences.

While both fall under the category of footstools and share similarities in terms of padding, upholstery, and lack of arms or backrests, there are several key distinctions between them.


The primary difference between a hassock and an ottoman lies in their function.

A hassock functions primarily as a leg rest or a seat, providing a comfortable surface for resting your feet or sitting.

On the other hand, an ottoman not only serves as a leg rest and seat but also offers storage space. This makes ottomans more versatile in terms of their usage.

Size and Shape

Hassocks are generally smaller and shorter compared to ottomans. While they can come in different shapes, circular hassocks are more common.

Ottomans, on the other hand, are typically larger and taller. Rectangular ottomans are the most prevalent, although they can also be found in other shapes.


Hassocks may or may not have legs, but if they do, the legs are always covered with fabric. These legs provide stability and rigidity to the structure of the hassock.

Ottomans, on the other hand, have legs that are usually made of wood and are bare, without any fabric covering.

The exposed legs of ottomans give them a more sleek and minimalist look.


One of the key features that sets ottomans apart from hassocks is their storage capability.

Ottomans are designed with hollow bodies, allowing you to store small items such as blankets, pillows, or magazines inside.

Hassocks, on the other hand, are not designed for storage as their bodies are not hollow.

Table Use

While not a universal feature, some hassocks can be used as side tables due to their flat and sturdy surface.

Ottomans, on the other hand, are often used as coffee tables when paired with a tray or as a surface for placing drinks or snacks.

Special Use

Hassocks are sometimes used in religious settings, particularly in churches, where they are used as kneeling surfaces.

Ottomans, on the other hand, are versatile enough to be used in any room of the house, from the living room to the bedroom to the gaming room.

To summarize, the main differences between hassocks and ottomans can be seen in their function, size, shape, legs, storage capability, table use, and special use.

While hassocks primarily serve as leg rests or seats, ottomans offer additional storage space, making them more versatile.

Hassocks are usually smaller and may or may not have legs, while ottomans are larger, have exposed legs, and can be used for storage.

Cleaning and Maintenance of Hassocks and Ottomans

Cleaning and Maintenance of Hassocks and Ottomans
Images / unsplash.com/@giorgiotrovato

Proper cleaning and maintenance are essential to keep your hassocks and ottomans in good condition.

While the cleaning process may vary depending on the material and manufacturer’s instructions, here are some general tips to consider:

  1. Read the Manufacturer’s Instructions: Always start by reading the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your specific hassock or ottoman. This will ensure that you follow the correct cleaning process and avoid damaging the furniture.
  2. Check for Cleaning Tags: Many furniture pieces come with tags that provide cleaning instructions. Look for these tags on your hassock or ottoman to get specific guidance on how to clean it.
  3. Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions: Strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintaining your hassock or ottoman. This may include using specific cleaning products or following a particular cleaning method.
  4. Dust the Furniture: Before cleaning, dust the hassock or ottoman using a brush or a vacuum attachment. Pay attention to the legs and feet, as they can accumulate dust and dirt.
  5. Vacuum Crevices and Cracks: Use a vacuum hose attachment to clean the crevices and cracks of the furniture. This is especially important for ottomans, as they often have hollow bodies where dust and dirt can accumulate.
  6. Use a Fabric Cleaner: If your hassock or ottoman has fabric upholstery, use a fabric cleaner to remove stains and dirt. Mix the cleaner with warm water according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it to the furniture using a sponge or soft cloth. For leather-covered ottomans, use a cleaner specifically made for leather.
  7. Dry the Furniture: After cleaning, dry the hassock or ottoman using a clean, dry towel. Make sure to remove any excess moisture to prevent damage.
  8. Clean the Legs: Don’t forget to clean the legs of your furniture. Use furniture polish for wooden legs and metal polish for metal legs.

By following these cleaning and maintenance tips, you can ensure that your hassocks and ottomans stay in great condition for years to come.

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between hassocks and ottomans, let’s explore some top picks for both pieces of furniture.

These recommendations offer a combination of comfort, style, and functionality, making them excellent choices for any home:

  1. Christopher Knight Home Carlsbad Bonded Leather Storage Ottoman, Espresso:
    • Features: This ottoman features a stay-open lightweight lid, providing ample storage space. It is upholstered with espresso bonded leather and can fit any room decor.
    • Recommended for: Those looking for a classic and functional ottoman that can also serve as a storage solution.
    • [Check it out on Amazon]
  2. Walker Edison Tufted Upholstered Fabric Ottoman:
    • Features: This ottoman is made of reclaimed barn wood and upholstered with woven linen fabric. It has a tufted design and comes with a low shelf for additional storage.
    • Recommended for: Those who prefer a versatile ottoman that can be used as extra seating, a footrest, or a coffee table.
    • [Check it out on Amazon]
  3. SIMPLIHOME Owen 34 inch Wide Rectangle Coffee Table Lift Top Storage Ottoman:
    • Features: This ottoman is upholstered with distressed chestnut brown faux air leather. It comes with a lift-up lid, providing easy access to the spacious interior storage.
    • Recommended for: Those seeking a modern and stylish ottoman that can also serve as a coffee table.
    • [Check it out on Amazon]

These top picks offer a range of styles, materials, and functionalities, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences.


In conclusion, while hassocks and ottomans may appear similar at first glance, they have distinct differences in terms of function, size, shape, legs, storage capability, table use, and special use.

Hassocks primarily serve as leg rests or seats, while ottomans offer additional storage space, making them more versatile.

When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consider the specific requirements of your furniture.

By understanding these differences and following proper care guidelines, you can make an informed decision and enjoy the comfort and functionality of either a hassock or an ottoman in your home.

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