Ottoman Beds: the Pros and Cons

An attractive cream ottoman bed, with a lift-up lid and bedding stored in the base.

When it comes to our bedrooms, it can sometimes feel like we’re in a battle for space. Whether you’ve had to set up a home working space, or your wardrobe is starting to overflow with clothes, we could all probably do with a little extra storage.

This is why so many people are opting for storage beds – and, particularly, ottoman beds. These handy bed frames not only give you a place to sleep, but some sleek hidden storage space that can be used in a variety of ways.

But before you take the plunge on such a big purchase, it’s worth knowing about the pros and cons of ottoman beds, as well as which styles there are to choose from. In this guide, we cover everything you should know about ottoman beds, so you can decide whether this clever storage solution is the right choice for you.

What is an ottoman bed?

The term “ottoman bed” refers to a bed frame where the top of the frame (where the mattress sits) can be lifted away from the base. This is normally assisted by a hydraulic mechanism, to help you to lift and lower the base safely. The easy-to-access space in the base of the bed can be used to store bedding, out-of-season clothing, or anything you like.

Despite the name, ottoman beds don’t necessarily share the aesthetic design of the Ottoman Empire, with its intricate wood carvings, tassels and regal colours like red and gold. However, the furniture of the Ottoman Empire has inspired the design of modern ottoman beds, as furniture of this period often included hidden storage.

Pros of an Ottoman Bed

There are a number of benefits to choosing an ottoman bed, which is why many people choose them over more traditional bed frames. If you’re intrigued by the concept of an ottoman bed, here are the main pros of an ottoman bed – as expressed by those who have taken the plunge!

Extra storage, without taking up any more floor space.

In most bedrooms, the largest amount of floor space will be taken up by your bed. An ottoman bed gives you the option to make better use of the space that’s already been occupied, rather than having to crowd your bedroom with even more furniture.

Plenty of room for bulky, hard-to-store items.

As anybody who’s tried to cram a winter duvet into an airing cupboard will know, some items are almost impossible to store neatly or compactly. The wide, deep storage space that an ottoman bed offers can easily house your whole family’s winter wardrobe, out-of-season sporting equipment, and more.
With plenty of room to lie things flat, an ottoman bed can even be a great place to store hanging suit bags, which can eat up wardrobe space. And, If you invest in vacuum storage bags, you can fit even more!

Accessible, and easy to lift without assistance.

Some people worry that if they get an ottoman bed, they will struggle to lift it. However, most models come with hydraulic mechanisms which take the weight of the mattress, allow for smooth lifting, and hold the lid open at its highest point.

The easy-lifting mechanism means that ottoman beds are suitable for older people, people with muscle weakness or limited mobility, and even older children. Having a bed that doubles as a toy chest is another great way to cut down on clutter!

Safe and slow-closing.

The hydraulic mechanism of an ottoman bed also gently lowers the mattress back down, so even if you lose your grip, you won’t end up with a bumped head or trapped fingers. Again, this can be extremely handy with curious kids around.

A soft-closing ottoman bed can also be the perfect choice for new parents. It’s a great space to store bulk items like nappies or formula, and there will be no sudden bangs to disturb your little one once they’ve finally drifted off to sleep!

Stylish and functional.

With many people keen to keep their houses free of clutter, as well as the recent trend for down-sizing and tiny houses, ottoman beds are making quite the comeback! Whereas some people feel they went out of style for a while, storage beds are growing in popularity due to their dual usefulness.

In the words of the acclaimed British designer William Morris, “’Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be beautiful or believe to be useful”. Ottoman beds hit the perfect balance between function and style, with a range of finishes, materials, and designs to choose from.

Cons of an Ottoman Bed

Although the accessible design and large storage space are a huge selling point for ottoman beds, there are still some things to be aware of before you make the choice to purchase one. Although they can be a great space-saver, these are some potential drawbacks that you may want to consider.

Tricky to move between rooms or houses.

Ottoman beds, even in single sizes, can be quite heavy and once they are assembled, they are very difficult to move in one piece. Whereas smaller, metal bed frames can be moved from room to room with reasonably little fuss, an ottoman bed will likely need to be dissembled to fit through the door frames in your home.

When you order your ottoman, make sure you’ve measured the space you’d like it to fit thoroughly, and know which room you’d like it to be in once it arrives. It’s possible to move them, but not without some careful planning!

Can be expensive.

Due to the extra design features that go into an ottoman bed frame, like the hydraulic lifting mechanism, ottoman beds typically cost more than a standard metal bed frame. They can also come with extra delivery fees, as they are heavier and sometimes come in larger pieces. This means you may need to pay for a specialist 2-man delivery.

However, there are still ottoman beds to fit a range of budgets. For instance, there are luxury ottoman beds made with premium materials like velvet, as well as cheap ottoman beds that still provide plenty of storage space, but may be made with less expensive fabrics.

Can be some risk to small children and pets.

Whilst modern ottoman beds have safety features, like the soft closing, weight-bearing mechanisms, they can still pose some risks to pets and small children. The big storage space can be very tempting for toddlers to climb inside, and pets – cats, in particular – love to find small spaces to hide inside.

They’re very unlikely to come to any harm if they do climb inside, but ottoman beds aren’t really built to be played in. It’s much better to keep your young children and pets away from them, and keep your wits about you when you have it open in case somebody chooses to sneak inside!

How do ottoman beds work?

Ottoman beds use gas-lift hydraulic systems which bear the weight of the mattress as you open them, hold them open at their highest point, and lower the mattress back down to a gentle close. These mechanisms help you to open and close the ottoman bed safely, and allow you to use both hands to arrange things inside them as the mechanism holds the bed open.

These reliable gas lift hydraulic systems can be fitted in different places within the bed frame, depending on how you want your ottoman bed to open. The most popular types of ottoman bed openings as side lift, where you lift the mattress up from the side, or end lift, where you lift it from the foot of the bed.

It’s worth thinking about what type of ottoman bed opening you’d prefer, based on the layout of the room you’re in. For instance, if the foot of your bed touches, or comes close to touching the wall, we wouldn’t recommend an end lift ottoman bed.

Wherever you place your ottoman bed, make sure you have enough room to get good purchase while lifting, and can easily get in and out of the storage space to fetch things.

Are ottoman beds sturdy?

A well-made ottoman bed will be just as sturdy and reliable as a traditional bed frame, or other storage bed options like divans. Whether you opt for a slotted or non-slotted ottoman, a side lift or end lift, if it has been constructed with good quality materials, you should have no concerns about your ottoman bed breaking.

Some people worry that having the empty storage space under the bed will make the sleeping surface, where the mattress sits, weaker. However, most ottoman beds have an additional metal frame attached to the bottom of the ottoman lid to reinforce it. So never fear – your ottoman bed will be equally sturdy as a standard bed frame.

Are ottoman beds dangerous?

Modern ottoman beds are built for the home, and have a number of safety features to keep both you, and your loved ones safe. The gas-lift hydraulic system carries the weight of the mattress, and will slowly lower the lid of your ottoman bed closed if you drop it by mistake. This means there are far fewer risks, and trapped fingers and bumped heads are a thing of the past.

However, ottoman beds do have some minor hazards to be aware of. The gas-lift hydraulic system is what makes the ottoman bed safe, but ensure that you keep all fingers, loose clothing and hair away from the mechanism. Although it’s unlikely, these things could get trapped in the system’s moving parts.

You should also encourage children and pets not to hide in the storage space of your ottoman bed. They may find it tempting, but the bed hasn’t really been designed for this purpose. If they climb inside without anybody noticing, they may find themselves stuck in there until somebody realises they’ve gone.

Where to Buy Ottoman Beds

It’s important to always purchase ottoman beds from a reputable seller. Although purchasing a bed second-hand from online marketplaces can be a cheaper option, you don’t know the history of the bed or if all the parts are functioning.

For instance, some sellers will remove the gas-lift hydraulic mechanism if it is broken, which can make ottoman beds much more dangerous and difficult to use. If the bed has a fabric bed frame, there’s a chance that the fabric could be unclean, or worse – carry invisible nasties like allergens, or even bed bugs!

There’s also a chance that the previous owners have not cared for the bed well, by applying too much weight and weakening the structure, or not using the storage space appropriately. If damp items have been stored in the bed, then allergen-releasing mould may have formed inside the bed, under the lid where it is hard to notice.

Of course, many people purchase second-hand beds and don’t report any serious issues, but it has to be a chance you’re willing to take. We would always recommend going with a trusted furniture retailer, who can tell you the bed’s history, features, and how best to care for it in the future.

Our Top 3 Ottoman Beds

Our Most Affordable Ottoman Bed: Slate Grey Fabric Ottoman Bed with Headboard

A slate grey fabric ottoman bed, with a lift-up base and bedding stored underneath

If you’re looking for a budget ottoman bed that’s stylish and made with great quality materials, look no further! At less than £250, our handsome slate grey fabric ottoman bed includes an integrated headboard, and all the under-bed storage you could ever need.

Available with both end lift and side lift options, you can choose the best ottoman bed for your space, without breaking the bank. Like all of our beds, this one has been safety-tested and the superior hydraulic pump mechanism allows for easy lifting and closing.

This ottoman bed could be a great addition to your guest room, a student flat, or rental property. Slatted for a more comfortable night’s sleep, you’ll also sleep soundly knowing that you made a truly smart purchase with this bed.

Price for a double: £229.99

Our Most Stylish Ottoman Bed: Pettine Pink Scallop Ottoman Bed

A pink velvet fabric ottoman bed, with a scalloped headboard and gold mental legs

If your bedroom could use a touch of luxury, our Pettine Pink Scallop Ottoman bed will make you feel like you stepped from your hallway onto the set of a classic Hollywood film! With plush, soft pink fabric, a scalloped headboard and gold metal legs, this ottoman bed certainly isn’t one to miss!

This decadent design is also available in royal blue and sumptuous grey, and boasts incredible storage for clothing, linens, and more. Although this appears a very delicate piece of furniture, it features a strong structure and sturdy slatted base for your mattress. It also features a hydraulic lift system to ensure total safety for you, and your loved ones.

If you’ve fallen for this heartthrob of an ottoman bed, why not take a look at our matching Pettine scalloped armchair and pink ottoman bench (if you’re in need of even more storage)? You could even turn your bedroom into a pastel pink paradise, and pick up the whole set!

Price for a double: £369.99

Our Classic Ottoman Bed: Como White Wooden Ottoman Bed

A white, shaker-style wooden ottoman bed with a slatted headboard

For a simple, yet classic ottoman bed design, you may like to opt for our Como White Wooden Ottoman Bed. With a flawless, bright white finish, this bed fits seamlessly alongside most modern home decor, with a slatted base and end-lift mechanism to reveal the storage space underneath.

This bed is easy to lift, no matter your age or strength level, and features a gas lift mechanism for both safety and support while lifting the lid. This ottoman bed frame is also available in a soft grey finish, and is part of our Como furniture range which includes the Como console tables, in both 2-drawer and 3-drawer designs.

With the slatted headboard and attractive wooden frame, the Como ottoman bed could be the perfect addition to your bedroom – and a great place to stash away winter duvets, extra cushions and guest bedding.

Price for a double: £367.99

We hope that this article has left you feeling a little more knowledgeable about ottoman beds, and the pros and cons that come with them. At Big Furniture Warehouse, we’re huge fans of storage furniture, and we’re proud to offer a range of ottoman beds at prices to suit every budget.

Feel free to browse our full range of beds, alongside several options for matching bedroom furniture, to really tie your bedroom together. And if you’re shopping for your kitchenliving room, or bathroom, we have plenty of bargains in store for you as well. Kit out your entire house for less with BFW!

And if you’d like more home ideas and advice, you can read more of our expert-written articles and furniture guides at the Big Furniture Warehouse blog. And if storage is on your mind, you may like to get started with 7 bedroom storage solutions that save space.

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