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Updated on May 31, 2013

Every home should have a pouf. Yes indeed, I'm talking about a soft, cushiony place to rest your feet and relax. Apart from their therapeutic value, poufs are a hot home furnishing item and add an emphasis of colour and interest to room. These days they come in all shapes, sizes, patterns, textiles and colours -round, square, oblong, heart-shaped, triangular...well you get the picture.

Also known as an ottoman, the versatile pouf has been an integral part of home furnishing since the eighteenth century. Poufs are generally knee high, easy to move around and can be used as a footstool, seat or makeshift table.They are genrally rounder and softer than a traditonal ottoman, but both styles had their origin in the exotic Ottoman Empire.

Why they should be called 'poufs' is something of a mystery but it may have something to do with the eighteenth century French pouf hairstyle, popularised by Marie Antoinette. The hairstyle required the insertion of a thin metal framework to create a base for the puffed up, rounded highrise style, which was an interwoven blend of hairpieces and the wearers own air. It took hours to achieve and the finished style was often decorated with a sprinkling of white or grey powder and an array of jewellry.

Classic pouf design in soft Moroccan leather.
Classic pouf design in soft Moroccan leather.

Moroccan Leather Poufs

The Moroccans have been making beautiful soft leather for centuries and are known the world over for their quality textiles and colourful designs.

Interestingly, a secret to the Moroccan tanning process lies in their use of bird droppings. The droppings contain an enzyme that breaks down the hide, to create beautifully soft, luxurious feeling leather.

The same method has been used for centuries - cow hide are treated in huge vats of dyes, to which the droppings are added. Young men then climb into vats and stomp on the droppings, crushing and blending as they go.

Blue Moroccan pouf.
Blue Moroccan pouf.

Style Features

The quality Morrocan leather poufs displayed on this page feature traditional Islamic silk embroidery patterns and have a shredded fabric filling which means they wont collapse when you sit on them.

You can also purchase some of the poufs unstuffed and fill them yourself with hight density foam or even old clean clothes. Beans are not recommended as they tend to flatten with constant use.

there's a wide variety of poufs to choose from at Amazon and you can even get a pouf with a sense of humour, such as the Sushiami, Cucumber with Salmon Rice pouf at right.

For cleaning purposes just wipe down your pouf with a damp cloth. Like most high quality leather products, these only look better with age. Look after your pouf and you'll be handing it down to the next generation.


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