Foot stool to ottoman: the most versatile piece in your home

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • December 2, 2017

It began its life many years ago as a “foot stool.” Functional, dependable, forgettable, maybe a little bit shabby, with only one purpose in life: to give folks a place to rest their feet at the end of a long day.

Fast forward to present day and it has morphed into an “ottoman,” the most versatile (and chic) piece in your home. If you don’t have one, you need one. Keep reading! 

 Thibaut-designed round ottoman coffee table styled with a tray and flowers. Photo courtesy of Thibaut Design

Thibaut-designed round ottoman coffee table styled with a tray and flowers. Photo courtesy of Thibaut Design

For my readers who may have been expecting yet another article on how to decorate your home for the holidays (without stress), this is not it.  The holidays are not a likely place to think about doing more with less. We haven’t quite figured out how to make that happen. But as a Southwest Florida interior decorator who loves multi-purpose items, I can tell you, that an ottoman, done well, is the must-have piece for your home. And yes, coincidently, it will come in handy for your holiday gatherings. Trust me.

The ottoman fills in those places where you may need a small table, extra seating, storage or even a foot rest. It’s unobtrusive and doesn’t take up a lot of space.

It can be dressed up or down. You can spend as much or as little as budget permits. It can take center stage where it commands attention with a “look at me, I am gorgeous” attitude. Or it can be tucked away where it’s hardly noticed. Until it’s needed. It has infinite possibilities. Here are a few:

Extra seating that can be tucked away.

If you’re short on space but need more seating, this is the answer. A pair of small ottomans can be placed under an entry table or sofa table in the living room. They’re ready when needed but don’t take up space when they aren’t. And they look great tucked away.

 A pair of small ottomans can be placed under an entry table or sofa table in the living room. They’re ready when needed but don’t take up space when they aren’t.  Photo courtesy of Thibaut Design

A pair of small ottomans can be placed under an entry table or sofa table in the living room. They’re ready when needed but don’t take up space when they aren’t.  Photo courtesy of Thibaut Design

Bench seating.

Add ottoman benches to two sides of a dining room table and you have instant extra room with generous seating that makes everyone comfortable for a holiday gathering.

As a coffee table.

My favorite use of an ottoman. An alternative to a hard-surfaced table, I do this one for many of my clients. An upholstered ottoman (one large or two small) round or rectangular depending on your space, adds style and personality to your living room décor. Style a beautiful tray in the middle of the ottoman and voila! Instant wow.

At the end of a bed.

Who needs a footboard when you can add instant chic to your bedroom with a pretty ottoman? A larger rectangular size or two small ottomans is a great place to drop shopping bags, arrange books or a place to put the comforter or extra pillows during the night. Note: a bedroom ottoman bench (or benches) should be six to eight inches narrower than the bed.

Pairing with your favorite chair.

The original use is still a popular design element for any room. Design an ottoman with gorgeous fabric, trim, fringe, or nailheads to compliment a chair. Sit back with a good book and enjoy the holidays!

Sources.

Depending upon the purpose and budget, you can shop for the perfect ottoman in lots of area stores. HomeGoods, West Elm, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Pottery Barn, Pier 1. If the fabric is not right, you can have it reupholstered. It’s a small item so you won’t need much fabric. One of my favorite online sources is Ballard Designs. And be sure to check Wayfair. I also work with Thibaut Designs and Kravet (both trade only) to create beautifully upholstered custom ottomans.

All photos courtesy of Thibaut Design.

           

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog