I've been thinking a lot about stools lately, you know, as you do! We looked at beautiful breakfast bars last week and saw a variety of great looking bar stools, and then I found myself in Harrogate drooling over a high back stool of exquisitely woven hot pink polyurethane (trust me) in a contemporary furniture shop, saying "if only..." Sound familiar? A (good) stool is one of those furniture items that is universally appealing, but actually found in very few homes. It's probably for the same reason as why I don't have one in our home: we don't think we have the space. I lamented this 'fact' to the owner of the shop I was visiting and he stated quite confidently, "You always have room for a stool." He wasn't a hard-selling kind of guy, he was simply stating a truth which has trickled through; I've since realised after coming home and scrutinising every room of ours for potential places to put such a stool, that it's not about shoe-horning it in to your existing decor for the sake of it, but rather seeing it as a replacement for an existing piece, or even as a foundation piece to build your space around and create a vibe that works for you. If a particular item excites us that much, it can be worth mixing up our traditional approaches and coming at our spaces from a fresh - and sometimes scary! - perspective.
Here's an exercise to try: Use your coveted stool (or any wish list item you have an enduring lust for) as a starting point for a particular room and think about what you can move, or get rid of - chances are you'll have at least one major thing that you live with that doesn't thrill you anymore (there's a joke in there I'm not going to touch). I'll use my living room as an example: I have a large sideboard that was once my pride and joy and now I see it as an eyesore, and also I'm bored with how I've decorated it on top; it served me well for a time but I've moved past the style altogether. Replacing it with another sideboard that's more my taste now is one option. But, what if I were to abandon the idea that a large, decorated, storage piece needs to anchor the view into my living room? And the armchair that looks nice but isn't sat in all that much? What else could I do with that space? This is where the scary and exciting makes an entrance - oh, the possibilities! But a clear focus is important. The ultimate goal here is to achieve a balance of function and flow; your space needs to be harmonious and comfortable to be useful and enjoyable.
Here are some ways you can create a stool feature in your home, starting with a living room in which the stool doubles as a table (above, notice how the odd proportions of the higher stool with the low sofa are balanced by the articulated desk lamp), and a secondary dining area in a contemporary style:
The table and high stool set give this workspace a unique industrial-meets-natural vibe:
I really love this alternative to the home office (below). Yes, having skyscraper ceilings and gigantic windows with a great city view makes this space magical, but you can create something similar in your own home - it's just a matter of priority! In fact, it has me thinking about how I work (I refuse to be stuck in our little office upstairs all day). That armchair I mentioned earlier that doesn't get a lot of action happens to be in front of our bay windows, and I'll bet that the stool that has me preoccupied would fit just perfectly in front of a charming table...
Sources linked from photos