Put Your Feet Up: All About Footstools

9th November 2023

Comfortable enough to lounge on, yet firm enough to support a tray of culinary delights, a footstool is both a practical and beautiful addition to your interior. Standing proudly in the centre of the room as an eye catching focal point within your scheme, or tying seamlessly into the overall interior design of your living space, footstools and ottomans can be upholstered in either plain or patterned fabrics to suit all types of home. With a variety of different styles to choose from, read on to discover the very best footstool ideas and how to style them...

The History of Footstools

According to the history books, footstools were first introduced in Ancient Egypt to help individuals ascend and descend from their chairs with ease.

Offering a platform to rest ones feet during long sedentary periods, these purely practical pieces were constructed to match the throne of the king or self-important individual who sought to use it.

Usually made of bronze or iron, these footstools were transportable and could be folded up to be carried by a servant to the next occasion.

It wasn't until the 18th and early 19th centuries that the footstool realised its place in the everyday home. As furniture became more sophisticated, so did the footstool, with intricately designed wood inlays, luxury fabrics and decorative embellishments.

Fast forward to today, and footstools are still a highly sought after piece of furniture within the home. Generally used to put one's feet up, they are also known as footrests and are decorative pieces in addition to serving their functional purpose, most commonly used whilst relaxing on the sofa or in a comfy armchair.

Footstool HistoryFootstool History
History of FootstoolsHistory of Footstools

Self portrait of William Notman by McCord Stewart Museum under the access number I-24152.1

Different Types of Footstool

Your choice of footstool will depend on your specific needs, style preferences, and its intended use within your home. Here are examples of the most popular types...

Large FootstoolsLarge Footstools

Large Footstools

Large footstools provide extra comfort and support. Handmade and upholstered by our skilled craftspeople, they can be designed in various shapes and designs, adding a focal point to your living space. Covered with plain or patterned fabrics to provide a soft and comfortable surface for resting your feet, a large footstools' sizable proportions allow for longer legs and a larger stool which can accommodate two or three people.

Small FootstoolSmall Footstool

Small Footstools

A smaller footrest typically has short legs and provides enough room for one person, or two at a push. Generally placed in front of armchairs or larger love seats, they can be upholstered to match, or contrast against the surrounding seating in the room.

Velvet Ottoman FootstoolVelvet Ottoman Footstool

Trefoil Footstools

A symbol of perpetuity that are often passed down through generations as a treasured possession, trefoil stools can be styled to sit perfectly among both antique and contemporary furniture alike.

Image credit to La Casella, Cote d'Azur

Pouffe StoolPouffe Stool

Pouffe Footstools

Often a round and legless place to rest your feet, pouffes footstools can be made in a range of different sizes and with useful hidden compartment within. Doubling up as extra seating, they are very popular in living rooms with modest proportions, or spaces that require extra storage.

Different Ways to Use a Footstool

Serving both decorative and functional purpose, a footstool can offer multiple uses within the home. Firstly, the most obvious being a comfortable place to rest your feet. Like any other piece of furniture, a footstool can be chosen to suit your interior and how you intend to use it, so its important to consider its functions.

Neutral FootstoolNeutral Footstool
Long FootstoolLong Footstool

Footstool coffee tables are a popular choice as they have a dual purpose. Dressed with flowers, books and a tray of delicious nibbles, their convenience is that they combine both a table and a stool into a space. As they are used as a surface for food, we would recommend considering a performance fabric for upholstery as they are designed to withstand scuffs and spills.

A footstool with legs can double up as seating. Floor cushions can be stored on top, or underneath, and add even more spots to sit down. Alternatively, a pouffe can be used for a single seat that can be moved around at a moment's notice, or a larger ottoman can be used as a bench.

Many types of footstool can also be made with storage in mind. Strong lift hinges make opening and closing the lid a breeze, whilst stools with removable lids that slot snugly into place, can be removed for quick and easy access.

Striped FootstoolStriped Footstool
Red FootstoolRed Footstool
Footstool Coffee TableFootstool Coffee Table

Footstools Inside Our Customers Homes...

As all of our footstools are built and upholstered by hand, here in Britain, you can work with our expert team and our craftspeople to completely customise your design. 

Designed to Your Liking...

Beginning with its physical form, we can guide you through choosing the right size, shape and height for your room. Depending on the style of your interior, we offer a choice of shaped legs; from turned, to tapered, to fabric covered, that all come in a variety of finishes. We can also include details like decorative nailing, plus the option of adding caster wheels.

How you envisage using your footstool will also affect how firm you would like the top to be. A softer cushioning would suit a bench footstool or pouffe intended for resting ones feet on or seating. Alternatively a firmer finish would be best for a footstool coffee table, or for those who simply prefer a stable cushion.

Finally, its intended use will also affect the fabric that you choose. We would recommend a durable upholstery or performance fabric for a highly trafficked living room, or children’s playroom. On the other hand, decorative embroidery or a colourful weave would fare better through occasional use. The addition of trimmings can also be hand-picked to suit its overall aesthetic, from elaborate fringing and tassels, to a simple complementary cord, we can help you to create a footstool that is truly unique.

foot rest ottomanfoot rest ottoman
round footstoolround footstool
footstool legsfootstool legs

Shop Our F&P Footstools

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