Shopping for Footstools - The New York Times

When it’s time to kick back and put your feet up at the end of the day, one piece of furniture is essential: the footstool. But the use...

When it’s time to kick back and put your feet up at the end of the day, one piece of furniture is essential: the footstool.

But the usefulness of a footstool, sometimes called an ottoman or pouffe, doesn’t end there. It’s a versatile piece of furniture that supports any number of activities.

“They’re very multifunctional,” said Renée DiSanto, a founder of Park & Oak, a Chicago-based interior design firm. “You could use it for seating, as a little coffee table or end table, or it could just be decorative.” Some footstools even have compartments inside to provide extra storage.

And much like a throw pillow, a footstool is small enough that it’s an ideal way to introduce an eye-catching material, shape or fabric to a room. “You can add color, texture and pattern, without it being too overwhelming,” Ms. DiSanto said, as it might be “if you put it on a sofa.”

Footstools, she added, “have a lot of impact for their small size.”

  • How tall should it be? Compared to the seat height of a sofa or chair, “either the same height or a little bit lower is ideal,” Ms. DiSanto said.

  • Is weight important? “You want to make sure that it’s sturdy enough you can sit on it,” she said, “but not so heavy that you can’t move it around.”

  • Should it be cushioned? “Not always,” Ms. DiSanto said. “We’ve used wood stools and woven stools.”

Walnut or oak footstool with cushioned top

From $975 at Lawson-Fenning: 323-934-0048 or

Footstool with storage compartment by Leanne Ford

$399 at Crate and Barrel: 800-967-6696 or

Folding wood stool with leather-sling top

$598 at Serena & Lily: 866-597-2742 or

Upholstered footstool with powder-coated steel frame

$195 at Industry West: 800-382-9303 or

Handcrafted rattan footstool from Indonesia

From $255 at the Citizenry: 866-356-4284 or

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Newsrust: Shopping for Footstools - The New York Times
Shopping for Footstools - The New York Times
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