House & Home

Versatile benches, ottomans add style and seating to any room

You can find ottomans made from just about any material, from seagrass to hides, wood to metal. Because they are small, you can cover them with a splashy fabric you might avoid on a larger, costlier piece of furniture.
You can find ottomans made from just about any material, from seagrass to hides, wood to metal. Because they are small, you can cover them with a splashy fabric you might avoid on a larger, costlier piece of furniture. Tribune News Service

In the sports world, being benched is a bad thing, I know. But after a day of sprinting around and up and down the stairs a jillion times, the thought of melting into a soft chair with my feet up on a bench or ottoman sounds amazing. Add a glass of wine and a good book, and I’m in paradise.

Once the right bench or ottoman enters your life, you will never want to be without it again. Often they can be used interchangeably and are at home in lots of spots in your home, providing a place to display treasures, rest your feet and welcome more guests.

My favorite ways to use benches and ottomans:

▪ Add a splash of style. When we design rooms for customers, you can bet there will be at least one ottoman or bench in the floor plan. For a small piece, they pack a lot of style. And they are a welcome addition to just about any space in your home. My favorite use is to place an ottoman in the center of a conversation grouping.

You aren’t limited to upholstered ottomans or benches with fabric seats or cushions. They’re made from all types of material, from seagrass to hides, wood to metal.

Because they are small, you can cover an ottoman or bench with a splashy fabric that you might not otherwise dare to use on a bigger, costlier piece of furniture. If you can’t make up your mind on what fabric to use, have a reversible slipcover custom-made.

Rug-covered ottomans are some of our most popular sellers, and I have one in my own home that I adore.

▪ Use as a side table. A short bench makes an interesting side table and offers extra seating in a pinch.

▪ Break up wall space. Put a narrow bench in your hallway to break up all that wall space.

▪ Toss stuff on them. Benches and ottomans were made to lob your purse and coat onto as you walk in the door. They’re also great in bedrooms for keeping stuff off the floor.

I love the luxurious look of beds finished off with rows of accent pillows. A bench or ottoman at the end of the bed does a lovely job of finishing off the look of a great bedding ensemble and at night is the perfect place to pile up your accent pillows.

I’d suggest one that is backless, so it doesn’t stick up over the top of your bed. Also make sure it’s narrower than your bed and not too deep so as to hamper movement around your room. You’d hate to hammer your toe on it when you get up at night!

▪ Add extra dinner seating. A bench or two along the sides of your table will allow you to get more friends around it. At Thanksgiving dinners, when I’ve had to shoehorn in friends and family around our dining table, I’ve added small benches to the head and foot of the table so two can sit there instead of one.

  Comments