Chances are you’re sitting down if you’re reading this right now. I understand that many of you might be browsing from your tablet or God forbid, reading a blog post while you’re driving. As much as we place an emphasis on the aesthetic appeal of furniture, we also have to consider how it affects our bodies. This practice is called ergonomics and it’s been neglected in many ways.
An ottoman is a piece of furniture consisting of a padded or upholstered seat usually having no arms or back. Ottomans are used as a footstool and can be adopted to be used as an extra chair when seating is unavailable. By kicking up your feet, ottomans also relieve back pain more than you think.
Ottomans received their name because were first used by the Ottoman Turks. Ornate textiles were used as decorative features to cover footstools. This is how the name Ottoman came about. Deborah Martin from Deborah Martin Designs brought this to my attention. You can learn more about the history of the ottoman by reading her post entitled, “Ode to the Ottoman.”
Ottomans Improve Posture for All Shapes & Sizes
An ottoman can help you relax in a more natural position. For people who are taller/shorter than normal, an ottoman can change that awkward feeling you get when you sit down. For tall people, sitting in a small chair makes your knees go up since the seat of the sofa is too low. By placing an ottoman in front on the chair, you’re able to relax your feet in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you’re squatting.
Ottomans can help shorter individuals whose feet aren’t long enough to reach the floor. When this happens, your legs dangle from the chair, your lower body weight is pulled forward to compensate for the imbalance, and you bottom tends to slide forward, creating an unhealthy curve in your back. With an ottoman, your legs stay in place you’re able to maintain correct posture.
How it Affects Your Body
When your body is out of alignment, stress is placed on both ligaments and muscles. This can decrease blood flow through your body. Low blood flow can lead to pains in your lower extremities, numbness, weakness, and difficulty breathing. Seating that includes an ottoman will promote a body posture that is similar to your posture when sitting up in bed.
The Acapulco Chat Set was designed with an accessory item that can be used as a side table or an ottoman. You can swap out the glass top when you need an ottoman or revert back to the side table when you need a place to hold refreshments. The set comes with 2 chairs so the only thing you have to decide on is who gets the ottoman.
If you’re interested in learning more about the ergonomics of furniture design, I recommend checking out Il Treno Fuori. It was designed to recreate the intimate space created on trains. Below are a few other custom pieces that step outside the box.
More on Furniture Design
- Il Treno Italian Outdoor Furniture
- A Walking Table that You Won’t Want to Miss!
- An Innovative Magnetized Floating Table
About the Author
Cheryl Khan is able to lend her insight on this topic after spending years in the design field. She has learned that all outdoor furniture is not the same. She is a contributing author to the Patio Productions Blog where she shares outdoor living tips to transform your backyard!