Kensington Palace is more than 400 years old, but its style isn’t stuck in the past. In fact, we’ve spotted that the elegant main sitting room, where the royals have hosted prestigious guests including President Barack Obama and Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, has recently had an upgrade. The unusual octagonal ottoman that sits at the center of the room has been reupholstered in an opulent new fabric. From beige blot to a wow focal point, it’s now the standout feature in the room.

The standout ottoman: the details

Just like the best living room ideas, the ottoman in this formal living room has been designed to draw the eye and create a focal point in the room. With the couches grouped around it, it creates the perfect center for conversation to flow around. The large-scale fabric features a stylized tulip motif, and its shades of red, blue, green, and yellow on a cream ground bring color and drama to the predominantly restrained color scheme. ‘The colors are picked up in accents elsewhere around the room, in the lampshades, throw cushions on the window seat, and richly patterned ceramics, creating a sense of flow,’ suggests Sarah Spiteri, editorial director at Homes & Gardens.

Ottoman design: scale, size and shape

Apart from its fabric, the ottoman in Catherine and William’s Kensington Palace sitting room has another standout feature – its size and shape. The ottoman is a large-scale piece, suitable for the size of the room. And it is octagonal in shape, with eight angled sides that add another element of drama. Ottoman tulip motif heavy cotton for upholstery, curtains and cushions Suzani-inspired damask upholstery fabric made in Italy by Brunschwig & Fils Stylized floral, created for Liberty in the 1990s and inspired by ancient Tree of Life artworks ‘Ottoman ideas might include the fabric or covering; the shape of the piece, for example, circular, square, or rectangular; and details such as piping or button upholstery,’ says Sarah Spiteri, editorial director at Homes & Gardens. ‘This piece goes further, with an unusual shape that creates a talking point in the room.’

Ottoman style: a new look with upholstery

As you can see from the image above, which records the visit of President Obama to Kensington Palace in 2016, the ottoman hasn’t always looked the same. Previously, it was covered in a white and gold embroidered fabric that worked tonally with the room’s decor. The new upholstery creates contrast within the decor scheme and updates the scheme with the more maximalist decor trend that’s popular right now.

Get the other key design details

Why is Kensington Palace important?

Kensington Palace is steeped in history. It was the birthplace of Queen Victoria and has been the home to young royals for 300 years, including Princes William and Harry, who lived here with their mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and father, Charles – now King Charles – before their parents’ divorce. A hand-painted ceramic barrel seat that can also be used as a small side table. Classic Chinese porcelain spice jar lamp design with an antique gloss glaze background Ithaca Pillow Cover has been woven by hand, then embroidered with a traditional design Today, it is the official London residence of William and Catherine, and their children,  Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

Can I go inside Kensington Palace?

Visitors can tour Kensington Palace (opens in new tab) and its gardens, but there are some state rooms and private  areas that remain out of bounds for everyone except the royal family and official visitors. It’s in these elegant spaces that royal business takes place, such as the meeting between New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and Prince William, which took place earlier this summer.