In this post: An ottoman bench is a versatile piece that can enhance the functionality and style of your home. Here are tips for selecting and styling them.⇒
Have you got anything at the foot of your bed?
Unless a room has absolutely no space, I always prefer the finished look of a piece of furniture at the foot of the bed. A small bureau, a couple of chairs with a petite table, or my favorite option: a bedroom bench.
It’s a great place to sit to put on shoes, a catchall for extra pillows while you sleep or a lovely spot for a pretty vignette. Whether you choose one long bench or a few smaller ones, an ottoman bench in the bedroom is one of those little luxuries that can add grace to your day.
And what could be better than one with affordable French style?
French Style Ottoman Benches
But what makes such a simple piece of furniture “French style”?
French-style ottomans possess elegance and timeless charm. Here are some common characteristics of these French-inspired benches:
- Ornate details: Intricate details such as carved wood accents, decorative moldings, and turned legs are typical features. These details add a touch of sophistication to the design.
- Curved lines: Graceful lines are often present. From curved legs to the rounded edges of the upholstery, the design exudes a sense of softness and femininity.
- Luxurious upholstery: These benches are traditionally upholstered in luxurious fabrics like velvet, silk, or damask, which offer a plush and opulent feel, but they can just as often be modernized with linen or burlap.
- Button-tufting: A classic feature in French design, button-tufted upholstery creates a plush and textured surface while adding a note of vintage charm.
- Light and neutral colors: Pale colors, such as ivory, cream, or pastel shades are prominent in French decor. These colors contribute to a sense of airiness and elegance.
- Cabriole legs: A signature feature of French furniture design, elegantly curved cabriole legs are often showcased. They bring a hint of grace and sophistication to the piece.
- Louis XVI or Louis XV influences: Inspiration may drawn from the refined designs of the French kings, seen in the overall silhouette, details, and fabrics used.
- Versatility: French-style ottomans can seamlessly fit into various interior styles, including traditional, vintage, or eclectic. Their classic and versatile design makes them a timeless addition to any room.
French-inspired pieces exude an air of refinement and romanticism. They are perfect for enhancing a gracious ambiance in your home.
While I particularly love French style pieces, there are many alternate styles that can work well in your home, regardless of the overall style. An accent piece is a great place to bring a contrasting design style into your decor.
Here are some popular styles of ottoman benches:
- Traditional: This style features classic elements like tufted upholstery, decorative legs, and rich fabrics in simple colors.
- Contemporary: Contemporary ottomans have sleek lines, clean designs, and minimalistic features. They often use materials like leather or microfiber and come in neutral tones or bold, contrasting colors.
- Mid-Century Modern: Inspired by the design trends of the mid-20th century, these pieces feature geometric shapes, tapered legs, and retro-inspired upholstery. They are characterized by a combination of simplicity and functionality.
- Industrial: Industrial-style benches incorporate updated elements like metal frames, distressed leather or rugged fabrics, and exposed hardware. They have a raw and edgy aesthetic, often featuring reclaimed materials.
- Bohemian: Embracing a free-spirited and eclectic vibe, bohemian ottomans are characterized by vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and a mix of textures, such as woven fabrics, fringes, or tassels.
- Scandinavian: Reflecting the Nordic design ethos, Scandinavian ottoman benches prioritize simplicity, clean lines, and light colors. They often feature natural wood accents, minimalist upholstery, and a focus on functionality.
- Rustic Chic: Rustic-style ottomans have a cozy and warm feel, typically comprising distressed or reclaimed wood, earthy colors, and natural fabrics. They can incorporate elements like nailhead trim or rustic stitching.
- Moroccan: Similar to Bohemian but inspired by Moroccan design, these poufs showcase intricate patterns, vibrant colors, and luxurious textiles such as silk or velvet. They may feature ornate wooden or metal accents.
- Coastal: Coastal-style embraces a relaxed and breezy aesthetic, with light-colored upholstery, natural materials like rattan or wicker, and nautical-inspired elements like stripes or seashell motifs.
- Vintage: These benches reflect the charm of past eras. They can feature antique or retro upholstery fabrics, decorative carvings, and elegant details like turned legs or claw feet.
As it turns out, the ottoman bench is not limited to the bedroom. In fact, I use them all over our home.
The same piece might be used at one point as a coffee table and at another time as seating. Toss on a lot of pillows and it can double as a sofa in a pinch.
I use smaller ottomans in place of chairs, such as at a desk or vanity when I don’t want to block the view with a high seat back, or to vary the heights when there are too many other chairs nearby.
I even use them in our bathrooms, at the side of the tub as a convenient place to hold bath products, or simply tucked beneath a pretty gallery wall, to soften the look with feminine accents.
In a guest room they can provide extra storage for pillows and spare linens. At an entry they provide a place to sit, for a last minute opportunity to pull yourself together.
Here are 20 ways to use ottoman benches in your home:
- Extra seating: Use ottomans as additional seating in the living room, dining area, or even the bedroom.
- Coffee table replacement: Place a tray on top of an ottoman bench to create a stylish and functional coffee table.
- Footrest: Relax and put your feet up on an upholstered bench while watching TV or reading a book.
- Storage solution: Many ottomans come with hidden storage compartments, making them perfect for stashing blankets, pillows, or other items.
- Entryway organization: Use a bench in the entryway to provide a convenient spot for putting on and taking off shoes, while also storing footwear inside.
- Vanity seat: Place an ottoman in front of your vanity or dressing table to create a comfortable and elegant seating option.
- End-of-bed bench: Position a bench at the end of your bed to add a touch of luxury and provide a practical spot to sit while putting on shoes or clothing.
- Kids’ play area: Create a cozy and comfortable play area by using ottomans as seating options for children.
- Reading nook: Pair an ottoman with a cozy chair and a bookshelf to create a relaxing reading nook in any corner of your home.
- Window seat: Place bench seating near a window to create a cozy spot where you can enjoy natural light and a view.
- Dressing room accessory: Use an ottoman bench in your dressing room or walk-in closet to provide a seating area while getting ready or trying on clothes.
- Extra table surface: When needed, an ottoman bench can be used as a temporary table surface for holding trays, laptops, or even board games.
- Pet lounging area: Let your furry friends enjoy a comfortable spot by placing an ottoman in their favorite corner or near a sunny window.
- Meditation or yoga support: Utilize a tufted bench as a support for meditation or yoga, providing a cushioned and stable surface.
- TV stand extension: Extend the length of your TV stand by placing an ottoman beside it, providing extra space for gaming consoles, sound systems, or decorative items.
- Home office seating: Use an ottoman bench as a stylish and comfortable seat for your home office or workspace.
- Outdoor seating: Choose benches with weather-resistant materials to create additional seating in your outdoor spaces, such as patios or balconies.
- Guest bedroom addition: Place an ottoman bench in the guest bedroom as an elegant and functional addition, providing guests with seating and storage options.
- Decorative accent: Use ottomans as decorative accents by incorporating them into your overall interior design scheme, adding texture, color, or pattern to a room.
Whatever the function, these tiny pieces of furniture can add style and personality to your home. Here are some ideas for styling your bench to reflect your unique aesthetic.
- Tray display: Place a decorative tray on top of the ottoman and arrange a curated collection of decorative accents on it. You can include items like candles, small potted plants, a stack of books, or a decorative bowl filled with ornaments or natural elements like shells or stones. This creates a visually pleasing and organized display.
- Textured throw and pillows: Add texture and comfort by draping a cozy throw blanket over your bench. Pair the throw with a few decorative pillows in complementary colors or patterns. Mixing different textures, such as faux fur, knits, or embroidered fabrics, adds visual interest and enhances the overall style.
- Artistic vignette: Create a mini art display on the upholstered bench by leaning a framed artwork or a decorative mirror against the wall behind it. Enhance the vignette by adding smaller decorative accents like sculptural objects, a vase with fresh flowers, or a small table lamp for ambient lighting. This creates a focal point and adds a touch of artistic flair.
- Color coordination: Choose decorative accents that match or complement the color scheme of the room. This creates a cohesive and harmonious look, tying the ottoman bench into the overall design scheme.
- Seasonal decor: Change the decorative accents styled on the bench to reflect the seasons or holidays. During the winter holidays, adorn the bench with festive-themed cushions, a garland, or holiday-themed decorations. In spring or summer, opt for lighter and vibrant colors, fresh flowers, or seasonal greenery. This allows your ottoman bench to be a versatile and ever-changing focal point in your decor.
However you dress it up, a charming bench is one of those small pleasures that can add a note of grace to your home.
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