I know it’s fairly unlikely that you will come across these admittedly obscure furniture terms at any point in your furniture experience, and if your in the kind of business were you will, chances are you already know the definitions of these terms. Anyhow, we’ll give it a shot in the off-chance that this post will somehow result in you impressing a friend or a colleague…
A tuffet, pouffe or hassock is a piece of furniture used as a footstool or low seat. It is distinguished from a stool by being completely covered in cloth so that no legs are visible. It is essentially a large hard cushion that may have an internal wooden frame to give it more rigidity. Wooden feet may be added to the base to give it stability, at which point it becomes a stool or a footstool. If the piece is larger, with storage space inside it, then it is generally known as an ottoman.
The names “tuffet” and “hassock” are both derived from English names for a small grassy hillock or clump of grass, in use since at least the sixteenth century. The word tuffet comes from Anglo-French tuffete, from *tufe tuft. The first known use of the word tuffet was in 1553.
“Pouffe” is a nineteenth century French import for “something puffed out”.
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