How To Decorate With Stools In Your Home

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Odds are you have heard of an accent chair, but have you ever heard of an accent stool? Not the ones you have at the kitchen counter or dining table –- accent stools are typically shorter, crafted in different shapes, and made in different materials. Accent stools are that versatile decorative item you never knew you needed in your home.

They are an interior designer's "secret weapon," as this tiny piece of furniture can be tucked into just about any area of the house. Not only does it fit nearly anywhere, it also goes with just about anything — any style preference, other pieces of furniture, and in any room. The style of the accent stool varies, but regardless of which one you choose, be sure it fits the flow of the space (via Studio McGee). Used as a footstool, extra seating option, side table, or art form, stools are an excellent addition to boost functionality and visual texture in a home.

Move them around when you want

Accent stools are the design element that just keeps on giving. You want your furniture to be flexible and adapt to your needs, especially since design tastes tend to change over time. Decorative wooden stools, or ones crafted of metal, are just that — a piece of furniture that will timelessly evolve with you and your interior. These decorative small furnishings will fill a space when and how you want, just as the wooden cube is pictured for painting supplies above.

"A wonderful aspect of stools is they can be any design and they are very flexible," interior designer Fawn Galli told 1stDibs. "I normally buy several styles and move them around the home where needed." Try decorating with a stool in a few different places or, if you have succumbed to having more than one, put a few in a couple different spots. Wherever you think it may be the most useful or stylish, you simply move it. How many pieces of furniture do you currently own that you can do that with?

At the side of a chair

If you have accent chairs in your home right now, you know that the odds are pretty favorable that they are the furthest seat from any table (if there is one). Typically, an accent chair is tucked in a corner, sat at the edge of a bed, or placed in the living room. These areas are commonly used for lounging, but where do you put a drink? A book? Don't you worry — the interior decorators for today's homes found a solution for 21st-century problems such as these.

When a larger table simply won't do, there's always a stool. The simple design fix is for you to place a stool like the trendy antique stools on Etsy next to the chair. Any stool that has a flat-top surface would be just what you need for it to pose as the perfect little table. You could nestle it alongside a solitary chair, or put it in between a set of chairs for the perfect pairing. This piece is the ideal small table for one or two guests to share.

In front of the fireplace

The fireplace has long been an area for families and friends to gather. It is often a focal point in the living room, drawing the eye's attention to anchoring a design. Its presence begs for décor that can take the heat so whatever your style is, grab a stool. One or two stools placed here can be the ideal seat for cozying up right in front of the warm fire.

Rather than curling up on the floor in front of the fireplace, take a seat on a stool instead. Fireplace décor allows you to mix and match textures to bring visual appeal to the room. You could keep this spot ultra comfy and consider upholstered stools for a traditional seating option, a contemporary style like pictured above, or a stump stool from that Pottery Barn fits a rustic aesthetic right in front of the burning wood logs. Accessorize your fireplace with fireside stools to create a visual moment and increase functionality in your space. It will become the best spot in your home for roasting marshmallows and staying warm.

In the bathroom

Increase the functionality in your bathroom by adding some furniture to it. Yes, you read that right, but it's not quite what you're thinking — add something a bit smaller than the sofa or bookshelf that you envisioned. Transform your bathroom space by adding a stool to it, just like the wooden one in the image above. Stools can be the ideal compact decorative piece for bathrooms, so long as you choose a shape and material of stool that complements your space.

You could use a wooden accent stool as seen on Wayfair as an extra perch for possessions in your bathroom. Set it right next to the tub for a close table while you relax in a bubbly bath, or as a spot to sit when bathing the littles. Choose an empty corner of the bathroom and style the stool with a small candle and some rolled hand towels for a spa-like vibe. You could even set one in the shower to act as a ledge. There are limitless possibilities when it comes to styling a stool in this interior space.

Use them to hold your flowers

Decorating requires knowing when to use furniture for creative moments. Not all design ideas are entirely focused on functionality — some are purely for show. Consider using a stool as the base for a vase of flowers. A ceramic stool as seen on Anthropologie would accompany a vase of flowers beautifully tucked into a corner, on the side of a sofa, or around the edge of a bed.

Opt to keep the look fresh longer by choosing flowers that will never lose their luster. "Not everyone can afford fresh flowers on their bedside, so adding a bowl of artificial peonies or roses is a cost-effective way of brightening up the space year round," interiors blogger Victoria Jackson told Good Housekeeping. Artificial blooms are a favorite for those who don't necessarily have a green thumb, but still want to introduce natural beauty into their space. Set this vase or bowl of blooms atop your favorite decorative stool for an organic touch of beauty in your residence.

Style it as a table

When it comes to versatile furniture in the interior, it's nice to have a stool or two on hand for an effortless way to elevate your style. If you have a space in your house where a regular-sized side table won't fit, try to work in an accent stool or two. A sturdy oval stool like the wooden ones available at Target can act as the perfect side table next to an accent chair or sectional sofa. Ones crafted of metal or ceramic are ideal, as well, as these materials can withstand daily use. For softer materials, place a tray as pictured above for a firmer foundation to set drinks and trinkets on. 

When selecting which stool to set next to your furnishings, there are several key elements to factor into the design. Material matters, but height is important, too. The stool's height needs to be tall enough to reach for what you need comfortably. Factor in the height of the sofa or chair before finalizing your stool purchase. Typical accent chairs are under 30 inches (via Scout and Nimble), so try to source a stool at or below this threshold.

Decorate with stools outside

If you have a covered patio, balcony, or outdoor seating area of any kind, adding a decorative garden stool like these seen at Pier 1 will only enhance the space. Adding a few stools makes the space more comfortable for your guests, family members, and yourself. You can use these versatile seats as tables, foot rests, and plant stands, and they make hosting easy while adding an extra level of functionality. They make hosting in this environment easy and instantly boost functionality in the space.

You can choose from a mixture of woven, ceramic, and concrete styles to complement any existing woven or teak wood outdoor furniture. Try to use stools that are easy for people to move around, as this may be a smaller area. Decorating with flexible pieces allows you to get the maximum out of your furnishings, yet still maintain a stylish setup. If you have a garden area or lawn to spruce up, consider adding log stools as shown in the image above for a whimsical touch.

Opt for stools as symmetrical decor in the bedroom

Glance around your bedroom. You have two nightstands, don't you? This is often the case in bedrooms, as the double effect instantly balances the overall aesthetic. Use the same idea when decorating with stools in the bedroom. The key to accessorizing them in your bedroom is symmetry. "Symmetry creates a sense of balance and order and is calming to the mind," designer Sophie Burke told Homes & Gardens. "You see lots of examples of symmetry in nature and it is an important principle generally in design."

If you don't need a new nightstand, consider the foot of the bed or an empty corner in a room, as a potential spot for a pair of decorative stools. Keep the heights the same, or add two of differing sizes. Either way, stools are an ideal alternative in smaller rooms to accent chairs, which tend to be larger and take up more floor space. In these areas of the home, simple accent stools transition from just another seating arrangement into a place for clothes, keys, blankets, and all random bedroom items.

Slide them under a console table

Stools can also look great in a foyer or behind a sofa, depending on the type of console table you have at either of those spots. If you happen to have a console table that has no bottom shelf and is otherwise open underneath, then slide one or two stools like these rectangular Avalon style ones at Serena & Lily right under the table top. The duality will create balance and fill in the void.

There is more than meets the eye when decorating with stools in this area. Not only are they highly decorative and functional, but they are stealthy concealers. Utilizing this decorative technique is very useful in hiding lamp cords and electrical wall outlets you may otherwise see behind the entry table. When they're not covering up wires, you can slide them out to use as storage, or for additional seating in the living areas.

Get the most out of them in the living room

In living room décor, though, could the accent stools be more than a side piece? While accent furniture like stools are generally complementary to the overall design scheme, they can be used to create focal points. Rather than tucking the stool away in the corner or alongside a larger piece of furniture, opt to stick it right in the center of the room. You could position one or two stools adjacent to the coffee table, or in place of it. Decorative items like stools help boost the room's functionality and enhance the interior's overall aesthetic.

"Ensuring the layout is spot on in terms of style and function is key to success," Emma Sims-Hilditch, founder of interiors brand Neptune, told Real Homes. "Living rooms are often one of the trickiest rooms in the home to design, because they're usually the one that multi-tasks the most." Stools are just what a space that has many jobs needs. "Paint color, fabric choice, and flooring aside, what to put in your sitting room and where to position it all are two of your main considerations," Sims-Hilditch said. Make the accent stools the shining star amongst the décor, and pick ones fit for daily use.

In the corner for a cozy look

If you don't have much space in your humble abode, every little nook and cranny counts. No corner is off-limits when it comes to decorating with stools. Add a small, round stool like this one made of teak at Serena & Lily to a corner in the room for when and how you need it. Instead of trying to fill up the entire corner, occupy just some of the space for a contemporary, chic look.

Decorate with accent stools in any corner of the house, from the bedrooms to the living rooms, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. Use this interior treasure as a great addition to ordinary and odd spaces alike. Corners are naturally utilitarian in interiors because of their versatility. When decorating with stools in these spaces, the design should be based on how you plan to use the space. Drape a blanket over the stool, stack some pillows, or pile books on it for a cozy look in any corner of your dwelling.

Introduce ones with a pattern

Decorating with stools doesn't have to be boring. They don't take up much space, so they may as well look pretty while they sit there. Try to choose a stool that is upholstered, like the Lynwood cube designed by Studio McGee at Target. Adhering to a simple pattern makes the stool beautiful and timeless. The small-sized design ensures whichever pattern you choose will not overwhelm the space.

These decorative stools can be poised at the edge of a bed, placed in the center of a room, or slid under a console table. Placement is key as you want the design to be seen. The areas mentioned allow spectators to admire the pattern you pick. Layer in patterns that will modernize your look, and introduce color into your interior. Whether it's striped, floral, or checkered, let the texture be visible in the environment. Patterned pieces will help break up space and add dimension to the interior.

Choose one for a splash of color

While interior designers find their versatility attractive, there is another attribute that makes stools so loved in home décor — the variety of colors. What brings a look full circle better than rich shades of color? Based on the pattern you selected in the room, pick a color that is the most dominant hue in that print to accent a stool with it. For pops of color without the pattern, you could add a little splash of solid color to your décor with a Minelli cube stool from Covet House.

Decorating with color can be daunting, even in a neutral color palette. If you are unsure of what shade to add to your space, rely on the 60-30-10 color rule. This interior designer's rule states that 60% of your main color choice should be dominant in large furnishings, 30% is for accent items such as lamps and stools, and the remaining 10% is for adding pops of color in small accessories like trinkets (via ConfettiStyle). Source stools with the desired shades of color to brighten up your interior without overwhelming the look.

Choose a shape that fits the space

When decorating a room, the forms of the pieces you select will affect the design. "They're all these shapes coming together to tell a story and to create movement and magic in the room," interior designer Kelly Werlster told MasterClass. Create the magic in your space by choosing the right shaped stool to accent your design scheme. The geometric-shaped stool in the image above is a statement piece amongst the layout. A stool's functionality and purpose is only beneficial if you choose the right shape fit for your room.

So what shape fits? Consider the shapes that already exist in the room you are decorating so you can choose an oval, rectangular, cylindrical, curved, wide, or drum-shaped stool that is completely cohesive in the space. The final shape should parallel any item it's near. A stool is just like any other piece of furniture and needs to be the right shape to fit your interior style. You can update your space without going broke, just add a few select stools as decorative pieces to make your house a home.