Entertaining Rule No. 17: Buy This Particular Ottoman for Your Overnight Guests

New rules for guests and hosts.
Sept. 26 2013 12:59 PM

Rule No. 17: Buy This Ottoman

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It does everything!

Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photos by Getty Images (2) and courtesy Castro Convertibles.

If you often play host to overnight guests, and you don’t have a dedicated guest room, where should your guests sleep? The answer, clearly, is: the ottoman.

Don’t fret: I am not proposing that your visitors sleep curled up like little cats atop a mere footstool. I speak of the Castro Convertible Ottoman, which rather miraculously folds out into a twin bed. The advantage it offers over other venerable solutions to the where-should-guests-sleep conundrum—including the pull-out couch, the futon, and the Aerobed—is comfort. Featuring a firm foam mattress that rests atop sturdy wooden slats, the Castro Convertible spares your guests the special sensation of a metal crossbar prodding their lumbar regions, or the need to wake in the night to reinflate a leaky air mattress. And it spares you the college-dorm indignity of having a futon in your home.

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I was introduced to the Castro Convertible Ottoman by my mother, who has varsity-level retail research skills. She was trying to figure out where she would sleep when she (generously!) came to stay with my husband and me to help take care of our kids. Although I was initially skeptical, I was wooed by how easy the Castro is to unfurl and stow away—there is never that spine-seizing lunge-and-jerk you must perform when hauling a futon back into its locked and upright position. And I was also charmed by its ottomanitude. What is more useful than an ottoman? It becomes extra seating for your Super Bowl party. Put a lacquered tray on top, and you have a side table. In the corner of a bedroom, it collects discarded clothes until you’re ready to put them away. Because the Castro’s legs have wheels, you can roll the thing around your house and use it in all sorts of situations. And it means you aren’t stuck with a daybed or pull-out sofa taking up valuable real estate.

The Castro is not for everyone. At $799, it isn’t cheap. And it is also heavy. It probably makes more sense for a person settled in a semi-permanent home than a post-college group house situation. But it deserves more recognition. I had never heard of a pull-out ottoman until a few months ago, but it turned out to be the perfect solution for our guests and our space. Perhaps it can solve all your problems, too—or at least give you another place to rest your feet and head.

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

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