All Propped Up And Sitting Pretty: Upholstered Ottomans, Footstools and Benches

Upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches are not merely an all propped up and sitting pretty home furnishings accent piece anymore.

Chinoiserie-upholstered-ottomanNew England Home

Now for a few words of ottoman wisdom from Jerry Seinfeld:


“I did this thing on the Ottoman Empire. Like, what was this? A whole empire based on putting your feet up?”


Style and taste answered the call from function, comfort and storage with a big hello, decoristas.  

I’m listening!  

There has been a palpable shift towards a broader use of upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches over the last few seasons and trends.  

Thank goodness the furniture designers and home furnishings world is answering the call with gorgeous offerings in a wide range of style, shape and fabric selections.  

Non-traditional placement accompanies this look with a blended balance starring pattern, color, form and the crucial decorative eye candy, the mixing of styles. 


A gorgeous first impression in your entry or foyer whets the appetite for the interior design and decorating curious.

Never discount the power of the small space nor the big statement these areas of the home are capable of making.

An entry or foyer is such a space, and often the initial preview of the decorating style of the home.

The entry or foyer interior design and decorating layout is prime real estate for an upholstered ottoman(s), footstool or bench to call home.

A statement piece should be considered a decorative investment, a front and center accent designed to enhance the look you want to convey and placed to visually impress.


Upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches crafted in wood and leather in shapes of round, square or rectangular, upholstered in designer fabric, chic upholstery patterns and textures or vintage textiles and tufted, embellished or trimmed to bespoke specifications define unique utility.


A cocktail ottoman well-placed in front of sofas, settees or stylish accent chairs can easily transition into the ultimate entertainment center.

Coffee table, guest seating, cocktail station, game table, textile storage- an ottoman offers versatility and functionality with a sense of style and multipurpose. 


upholstered ottomans, footstools, and benchesDecorPad

Upholstered cocktail ottomans pull decorating double duty as both stylish accent piece and functional home furnishing.

upholstered-cocktail-ottomanWalter E. Smithe

upholstered-round-ottomanBetter Homes and Gardens

upholstered ottomanHome Bunch

I am a big fan of placing a matched pair of upholstered X-bench ottomans side by side, stepping back and letting the accomplished look produced and spot-on placement precision impress.

That is the visually rewarding moment in decorating we strive to reach.


Antique Russian benches upholstered in luxurious Fortuny fabric  become the focal point extraordinaire in polished pairing perfection by capturing the eye and complementing the accent palette through pattern and proportion.

antique-Russian-benchesAtlanta Homes & Lifestyles

In the world of decorating, two can be better than one.

upholstered-ottoman-matching-pairMy Design Chic

The bigger and bolder the statement the better.


lucite-ottomanTaylor King


Lovely, indeed, in European artisan splendor and simple elegance.

Swedish-ottoman-accentGoods Home Furnishings

Dave the Builder, DIY guy extraordinaire, walked in one afternoon and placed before me a salvaged antique burl walnut sewing cabinet with one drawer, porcelain castors, and no top.

My words said thank you, Dave, but my mind thought what in the world am I to do with this?

Dave proceeded to fill me in on his vision for this piece.

The “eyedea” was to have our upholsterer build a padded form to secure to the top to create a custom upholstered footstool.

The unforgiving lighting and cell phone image do not do the finished footstool justice, but trust me, the piece was a work of accent art.

It sold within a week of being introduced into inventory.

I regret not keeping it, but am currently on the hunt for another you say trash and I say treasure piece to repurpose into a footstool.


The thinking outside the design box treasures, the noteworthy accent pieces that accentuate our home decor choices and capture the essence of personal style with a “that’s it!” exclamation mark is what distinctive decorating is all about.

Unique upholstered ottomans, footstools and benches definitely fall into that category.






*** this is a refreshed post ***

Design Show and Tell

A wonderful opportunity and prospective client may be in my future. It is crazy busy, crazy beautiful at Places In The Home, and I’m loving every minute of it- multitasker extraordinaire that I am.

The world of interior design and home decor is a beautiful place to resource in.

With swatches, fan decks, caffeine  patience, eye drops, and Tylenol keeping me company,  the moodboards and mock-ups featuring dining room tables and chairs are under design and decor construction.

Dave the Builder knows it serious when I break out my readers.

Love the world wide web contacts and convenience, but  computer time wreaks havoc with my eyes!

Anywho, the original concept for this blog remains near and dear to my heart- a design show and tell.

dining room tables and chairs

Be steel my heart!

On trend for 2013 is the mix and match styles of dining room tables and chairs.

I discovered the decorative and design impact of this one afternoon at Hopefully Classic, details here.

This option may not fly with the client(s), but I’m considering  these metal dining chairs from Masins Furniture Classics Metal Collection.

Masins Furniture metal chair

I have a vintage china cabinet with double arch pediment in storage that is a candidate for an update in the style of this Thomas bookcase in dark grey with antique pearl grey inside from Blanc d’Ivoire.

gray bookcase

The beautiful thing about sourcing for potential projects is I never get bored with it,  regardless of the outcome.

Keep plugging, keep sourcing, keep stylish, and keep beautiful- the mix and match of life and design.

I’ll share more later of this design show and tell project.

Formal Dining Chairs and Primitive Dining Tables

Formal dining chairs and primitive dining tables alone catch the eye, but when paired together the outcome qualifies as visually fascinating.

peach-pink-burgundy-wedding-inspiration-kelly-oshiro-elizabeth-messinaSBChic- Pinterest

Fabulous, by my design definition, is being anything but in accordance with the usual requirements or customs.

Pairing formal dining chairs and primitive dining together brings about conversation and focal point contrast, giving the space a unique personality- the quintessential element of design and decorating.

I highly recommend seizing every opportunity to show and express personal style through home decor and home furnishings in an original way.  

There’s a place and a time for keeping with well, that’s the way it’s always been done, so…  

The cure for decorative complacency can be found in the mixing of styles. 

Geschke Group Architecture

Geschke Group Architecture

Flattering in presence and stunning in design execution, the pairing formal Louis XV-style dining chairs with a 19th-century French farm table is a stroke of tasteful genius.


House Beautiful

As showcased in Atticmag,  formal Chippendale dining chairs paired with a primitive three plank farm table equals a comfortable formality that steps out of the expected comfort zone.


The first primitive dining table I purchased was at an antiques auction in 1999.

farm table Jan Jones LLC

Jan Jones LLC

Dave the Builder and I previewed like it’s 1999 the night before the Saturday afternoon auction, and as my eyes zeroed in on the mark, a late 1800’s primitive harvest table in pristine condition, my antiques loving heart began to race.

Dave the Builder, who questioned my judgement, thought I was crazy as I wrote the item number down in my notebook.

“Why do you want a picnic table?”  he asked.

elegant-refusal-dining-room (1)

Country Living

That picnic table, which I won at the auction, turned out to be a magnificent addition to the Hopefully Classic inventory.

It sold within the week, and remains the primitive piece that got away.

I definitely regret selling it.

Mix Match Chairs

One Kings Lane

The next year we purchased a late 1800’s Cypress farm table.

The grayish patina threw me a curve in the pairing department.

I recently brought in a set of six Mahogany Regency Sabre leg dining chairs, not really knowing what piece to pair them with, but knowing I could not pass them up.

Dave the Builder was arranging items, and I was with a client so I was not paying much attention.

Dave had placed the chairs around the farm table and the look blew my mind.

The woods, patinas, and styles played perfectly off each other and hit a note of design accord.

The set sold the next week.

The Regency dining chairs and Cypress farm table were great stand alone pieces, but when matched together the look was flawless.


Austin Architect

Dave the Builder and I were drinking coffee one evening and found our conversation focused on a recent buying trip. 

Authentic antique farm and harvest tables are becoming more scarce and prove difficult to locate.  

Artisans, custom wood and furniture makers, and DIY aficionados are rising to the occasion to produce gorgeous interpretations and meet demand.

Dave the Builder has built farm tables for 4 of our clients.  

Our school of thought is to introduce a new twist on an old way of doing things. 

One custom table was built from Victorian square grand piano legs and Louisiana reclaimed Cypress planks. 

He dry brushed the piano legs with paint to match the patina of the Cypress. 

The table now resides at a cattle ranch in West Texas.  

Talk about formal meets primitive!  


Country Living Magazine

The table featured below is the most current one he has built. 

We purchased the antique legs and married them to our first choice, Louisiana reclaimed Cypress planks. 

The  patina is achieved with a two step process. 

He begins with a dark stain application until the desired patina is reached.

The  formal introduction was complete upon returning from a friend’s antique shop with the finest set of six formal white washed wheat back rush bottom dining chairs.  

A designer friend scooped the set up for a client.  

The chairs did not stay in the shop long enough for me to photograph.  

I like that!

The final step is the trick.

We recommend and use Johnson Paste Wax. Available at hardware and home improvement stores, Johnson Paste Wax gives furniture a safe, hard, and protective  finish with a soft luster.

Don’t be afraid to blend formal with primitive pieces.

The contrast surprises, complements, and is easily capable of becoming the focal point of the space.

Love your style!




DIY Dining Room Chair Redo Considerations

DIY dining room chair redo time is coming around again at Places In The Home.

DIY time is born out of I know exactly what piece, accessory or accent I want, but can’t find it necessity.

The following custom detail must have requirements apply as well to the DIY dining room chair redo considerations checklist:

A supreme case of sticker shock aka having a there is no way  I’m paying   that moment.

The piece would be perfect if only the finish was________  and the   upholstery was________.

Not one nailhead in sight.

Dave the Builder’s mad building, refinishing and reupholstering skills.

Patience is the virtue of a determined interior designer and or do-it-yourself aficionado.

I try not to allow decorative compromise into my vocabulary.

Here at Chez Places In The Home the mantra remains have ideas, will repurpose redo-renovate-reupholster or re anything.

We like to “re” things.


This picture is about three years old, and the only one I can quickly locate showing the first of two sets of six dining chairs I have in my DIY sights.

The upholstered chairs around the oak dining table are one of Dave the Builder’s “you need to get these” fueled purchases.

On a antiques buying trip and between antiques shop and antiques auction shopping.


Let me explain.

Between antiques shop and antiques auction shopping is the time in our treasure hunting day before the antiques auction begins when we scope out antiques shops for shop ready to go pieces.

Time is money, and in many cases it’s a better deal for us to purchase shop ready to go pieces from fellow dealers.

Repair , refinishing and reupholstering costs can negate the deal you think you’ve gotten on a piece purchased at auction.

The Walnut set is Circa early 1900’s.

Each chair has decorative marquetry inlay with  mother of pearl below the arch.

I’ve lost count of how many times I have pulled them from inventory to use at home and added them back to the shop inventory.

Currently they are pulled and first in line for “re” consideration.


The second set of dining chairs under consideration presently reside in Dave’s man cave.

As you can see in the above image, this particular chair will require a fair amount of diy tender loving care.

Our dear friend and fellow antique dealer purchased a container of English antiques over ten years ago.

She hit the dining room chair mother load with this container- hundreds (and I do mean hundreds) of dining chairs in the container.

Dave the Builder swung by the shop to pick up a delivery and our friend asked him if he wanted a set of the chairs.


Dave brought the chairs home and asked me the famous question, “do you think we can do anything with them?”

We can sure try!

Under consideration is a combination of colors from the Annie Sloan line.

French Linen, Country Grey, Louis Blue or Paris Grey will be the most effective in achieving a country French result.

A half and half “recipe” may produce the desired color I have in mind for the chairs.

The colors mix well together to fine tune and produce the color which is best for your project.


This is what I have planned for the chairs.

First and foremost, we will be de-Englishing (my term) the heck of these babies.

It will require removal of the ornamental fan wood pieces below the seat.

Some of the stretchers are missing, and in order to keep the integrity of the look we will have to replace all the stretchers.

On second thought, I may not even use stretchers on the redo.

Dave can remove the stretchers, and if need smooth over the area with filler.

Did you notice the water damage on the front legs?

Fine sand paper and a KILZ stain blocker will fix that right up.

Although not always a necessary step, it makes me feel more secure to go ahead and do it in order to eliminate any bleed through.

Nailheads no more will be the next step.

French Antique Hemp, Upholstery, Craft Panel

French Antique Hemp, Upholstery, Craft Panel

Farmhouse fabulous with a touch of French flair.


Although the style of these chairs by no means lives up to this gorgeous source of inspiration seen below, modifications and applications can be made to introduce style options.

antique accent chair zebra upholstery



I’ll soon share images to help show the general idea of where I’m going with this project.

Love your style!