The Essential Ottoman and Stool

The low-pressure, high-impact way to make your house ROCK!

photo from Amy Berry Design
Inspo image by Amy Berry Design

I love ottomans and stools! Large, small, square, round, octagonal, hexagonal, rectangular, puzzle-shaped, oblong - you really can't go wrong. (Unless you make it too high or too low or too small or too big.) But that's why I'm here - I won't let that happen. But honestly, they're a quick way to amp up the personality and functionality of any space. They're a seat, a table, a foot rest, a drink drop, a magazine rack, an hors d'oeuvres holder, they serve so many purposes. I can find an excuse to squeeze them into almost any room, even if it doesn't really "need" one. Plus, you only need one or two to do the job. You don't have to redo your entire house - just treat yourself to an ottoman.

The Corona virus has changed how we work but it doesn't stop us from improving our homes and designing - we maintain safe social distancing while still achieving all of our goals. Don't you dare quit your dreaming.

This cerused oak stool is one of my all-time faves - I'm a sucker for this bleached effect which is gorgeous alongside orange. It would work in a multitude of scenarios. Entry hall. At the side of a desk. Next to a coffee table. Tucked under a console behind a sofa. There is always the chance you'll need to squeeze one more person into the seating area and these fit the bill.

I love these acrylic legs, perfect for small spaces or when there's a rug you want to see below. If you can't find the fabric you envision, consider using plain fabric and applying a decorative tape down the middle for a similar effect. I always recommend performance fabric so you can chill when people are eating and drinking on them. Life is too short to be worrying about spills.

Sometimes a great big tufted ottoman is the only thing that will do the job. Go big or go home, right? I took a photo of this ginormous beauty in the shoe department at Anthropologie in Westport. The scale is the first thing that got me. Then the fabric - another sunset-hued color palette that always catches my attention. I wanted to lie down on it and do a pretend snow-angel (it's that big) but my daughter would have cringed so I held back. Note the little details: the tufting, the modern wood platform. It all adds up to a great piece. Put something like this in your family room and it will become part snack table, part day bed, part foot rest, part nap zone, part stretching mat.

These swiveling leopard ottomans follow the rules of 1) more is more and 2) mix and match with fervor. No one can tell if they're new or vintage which is great when you're trying to create a curated look. You could pop these in front of a fireplace or between two seating areas so your guests can "turn" to face whomever they're speaking to. You can always opt out of the swivel if your kids will try to use them as their playground.

I spotted these equestrian-inspired ottomans in a showroom at High Point. They show how much you can change the feel of a piece with the addition of a few simple details. The leather band and buckle are an elevated touch that you won't see in everyone's house and that's what makes it special. If you can come up with one custom touch on every piece you bring into your home, you are guaranteed to be an original. That's why custom is the name of the game.

Some more eye candy. What's your style?

This starburst is super fun. I'd love it in a kid's room with contrast piping or in a living room to offer an unexpected shape. It could be made mini and beautiful as a pair with one fabric up the sides and a different fabric on top.

There are so many great ideas out there. Keep your eyes open. Take photos of things you like. Compile a Pinterest board. Inspiration is everywhere. Discover, design and enjoy. If your wheels are spinning and you'd like to start a project, take my design questionnaire and we'll chat. There's nothing I'd love more.

xo Ariane