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Footstool Decor
by Yuwanda Black -

Description: Tips on decorating your home with footstools.

The footstool started out as something practical, but over the years has evolved into simply "decor." For centuries, the theme of footstools seemed pretty consistent: small, made of wood, used as a foot propper or a stair stepper. Emerging as a class of furniture in its own right, the footstool can now be used to sit on, place something on, hide something in, or as a decor piece for an entire room. The footstool was one of the earliest pieces developed by Egyptian culture.

Historical furniture remains show the ancient Egyptian chair as being quite high off the ground, in stark contrast to other furniture of the era, which had smaller dimensions. The highness of the chair required a footstool to be reached. Once seated, the footstool was used to support the sitter's feet. Available in a menagerie of fabrics, colors and sizes, one recent phenomena has been the cube-shaped footstool.

Found in everything from simple cotton to velvet, leather and faux fur, prices range from $19.99 to well over $1,000. Patterns are limitless and hues are off the color wheel! Aztec-weaves and animal-print patterns appear to lead the pack in ethnic-style footstools. But Ethnic Home Decor, a catalog and online retailer of ethnic-themed home decor, has gone a step further and designed a line of footstools using mudcloth, an authentic African fabric. "Versatility was our guiding design factor," says Cassandra Black, partner and furniture designer for Ethnic Home Decor. "We wanted to create stools that could be used for dual purposes informal seating, accent tables in addition to its original use. All are designed to make a decorating statement."

Here are some decorating ideas using footstools:

Bedroom: Place two small footstools at the bottom of the bed in punchy colors. Tie the look together by placing a velveteen throw at the bottom of the bed or across a nearby chair.

Living room: Replace the coffee table (the one taking up all that space in the middle of the living room floor) with two flat-top footstools. Experiment with a unique theme weaving them into your current decor with coordinating accent pillows for nearby sofa and chairs. They can then be moved and used as extra seating.

Hall: Halls are usually a neglected decorating space. Place a footstool in a corner and adorn it with a pillow, place a mirror or hang a piece of wall art above it. With your family room decor in mind, choose a stool that complements it. This will enlarge the room. And, there's that extra seating again!

Porches: Porches can also benefit from footstool decor. The crafty decorator can reupholster a wooden footstool with an outdoor-weight fabric or canvas cover fabric. Bathroom: A small footstool here can double as an accent table for magazines and bathroom accessories. Covered with a favorite fabric, extra storage space can be created underneath.

Kitchen: Remove that old step stool from under the kitchen counter, paint it a vivid color, place a pail of dried flowers on it, and slip it into one of the empty kitchen corners.

Shoe Shelf: Stack three flat-top, wooden footstools on top of each other (hot gluing at legs) and use as shelving for mud-stained shoes. This is a shoe shelf that may actually get used! Whatever your personal decorating style, you're sure to find a footstool to match. And, oh yeah, don't forget it's original use to simply, 'er, prop your feet on!

Reprinted with permission.

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