The simple act of putting our feet up is known to relieve stress and anxiety, so after the year we’ve had it’s little wonder this diminutive furniture piece is getting a fresh look-in.
Often multifunctional, an upholstered footstool can offer a relaxed place to perch, while a large circular pouffe can act as an informal coffee table… The beauty’s in the versatility – anything goes.
With that in mind, there’s a wealth of diverse designs and materials on offer, whether you’re kitting out your boho-inspired bedroom with a low-lying pouffe in natural jute, or looking to style your mid-century wingback with a sharp-angled stool in smart upholstery fabric.
A pouffe can either blend in or stand out. Many sofa and armchair brands offer a perfectly matching footstool as an add-on when shopping for seating. But if you prefer a statement piece, a stylish footstool in a bold hue can really pop out against an otherwise neutral scheme.
Whatever you have in mind for this small but mighty piece, you’ll need to think about shape and size – and importantly, the seat height of your favourite armchair, to ensure the perfect elevation, and ultimate lounging spot.
We put our top pouffes and footstools to the test, looking for a balance in form and function, top craftsmanship versus affordability, and of course, the most relaxing recline.
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Sternzeit Design retrostar footstool, turquoise
Dimensions: H 45cm W 43cm D 45cm
This is a brand that playfully exaggerates the lines of classic mid-century furniture pieces, reimagining them for today. The retrostar footstool is designed to complement the armchairs and rockers in the same series – with angles so sharp they could take your eye out. But the stool stands up – and stands out – in its own right. We loved its gravity defying shaping: slim arrow-like legs support a plump square cushion. The legs are crafted from stained and lacquered solid beech while the upholstered fabric is soft to the touch, but sufficiently durable. This is a strikingly handsome piece, not unlike an old school gym horse in miniature.
Dunelm Oswald check storage footstool, natural
Dimensions: H 41cm W 54cm D 49cm
You don’t have to live out in the sticks to achieve country cottage charm – or “cottagecore” as it’s now dubbed. Upholstered in a soft but hard wearing checked woven polyester fabric, Dunelm’s versatile footstool fits right into a city pad, too. The lidded stool boasts a foam filled top, which we found ideal for cushioning our tired feet, while inside there’s handy storage space for magazines and remote controls. We do like a furniture piece with dual functionality. The footstool is elevated with turned wooden feet, further adding to its homely and traditional look.
Cult Furniture marie pouffe luxe boucle, grey
Dimensions: H 40cm W 60cm D 60cm
Mixing cosiness and glamour with aplomb is this circular pouffe from Cult Furniture – a brand that’s always on point with the latest interior trends. And a big trend right now is boucle. The deeply textured fabric proved perfect for sinking our toes into, while aesthetically, it gives a homely warmth. In contrast is the Art Deco-inspired band of gold, which offers understated elegance and brings the piece together beautifully. This one’s available in a small range of neutral hues – but the grey is our favourite. Effortlessly chic.
French Bedroom Company ashtanga pom pom pouffe
Dimensions: H 23cm W 58cm D 58cm
At just 23cm in height, this boho-inspired number doubles as a luxuriously laid-back floor cushion. The drum shaped pouffe has a cotton cover that’s reliably durable given the amount of heavy use it’ll happily take. Its bright blue embroidery is dazzling and intricate, while its pom pom trim adds a nice textural touch. This is a piece that immediately sets the mood, whether that’s in the living room, conservatory or yoga studio. We’d even be tempted to take it out onto the patio, but only when the sunshine’s guaranteed.
Loaf stasher storage footstool
Dimensions: H 43cm W 94cm D 64cm
This is another footstool with handy hidden storage. The aptly named stasher provides a commodious trough-like space for all the living room or bedroom bits you don’t want on show. The lid comes off completely, rather than on hinges, which we found great for a speedy de-clutter from every angle. (Throw it all in!) The footstool is highly functional, but scores big on form, too. It is a luxuriously plush affair with sumptuously deep buttoning and comes in a choice of 152 fabrics, from velvet to cord to linen. This one is handmade to order, so you won’t get it straight away, but we think it’s worth the wait.
Lime Lace square velvet footstool, mustard yellow
Dimensions: H 45cm W 43cm D 43cm
In an arresting mix of materials, this contemporary footstool juxtaposes plush velvet with rustic mango wood finished in a warm walnut stain. We loved its boxy shaping, and the way the wooden frame simply supports the velvet cube with its four symmetrical struts. This one is on the taller side, therefore suited to sofas and armchairs with a bit of seat height. It’s also dense in makeup, so one for propping your feet up rather than sinking them into it. Small but mighty, we found this bright mustard footstool provides the perfect colour pop in the living room.
Oak Furnitureland New England pawpaw teal fabric footstool
Dimensions: H 33cm W 97cm D 97cm
Designed to accent the fresh New England range of sofas and armchairs is this pattern-heavy pouffe. It’s upholstered in a soft chenille velvet with painterly strokes, that recall a mottled watercolour, giving it an eye-popping visual texture beyond its obvious tactile appeal. What we loved most about this piece though was its dimensions. At 97cm in diameter it is as large as a circular coffee table – yet it stays luxuriously low down and offers a relaxing place to perch. We loved the way its discreet wooden feet elevate it off the floor just enough to give it the illusion of floating. And as with all of Oak Furnitureland’s offering, this quality footstool is made to last.
Homescapes natural knitted flat footstool with wooden large legs
Dimensions: H 30cm W 62cm D 62cm
There’s nothing like a chunky knit to induce feelings of comfort at home. This disc-shaped piece is a low-sitting footstool designed with ultimate relaxation in mind: not only does it allow you to put your feet up but, it’ll give them a good massage too. This is thanks to its intricately knotted cover in a heavy-duty cotton. The cushioned top is supported by stubby wooden legs, angled like a traditional milking stool to ensure a solid grounding. Fun and affordable, the stool comes in a range of colours, from soft and nature-inspired to eye-catching contemporary brights.
Made elian pouffe, natural & midnight blue
Dimensions: H 30cm W 60cm D 60cm
Handmade from natural jute and densely packed with polystyrene beads – just like a beanbag – this versatile pouffe acts as a coffee table, an extra seat or a handy footstool. While it brought an instant bohemian feel to our living space, its geometric patterning awards it a contemporary edge. We loved the contrast between the natural material and the bold block printing in navy blue too. This is another piece suited to bedrooms, nurseries, garden rooms and living room set-ups alike.
The verdict: Footstools and pouffes
We loved Sternzeit’s retrostar footstool for its unusual design. With its sharp angled legs and boxy cushioned top, it proved a fun and functional addition to our living space. Dunelm’s Oswald check storage footstool and Loaf’s stasher storage footstool were impressive for their generous storage – a stylish option at either end of the price scale.
For more furniture that’s as functional as it is fabulous, we’ve rounded up the 9 best sofa beds that are both trendy and practical
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