Don’t overlook the lowly ottoman; you might trip

Oh, man.

Make way for the ottoman.

This is the perfect furniture: Easy to move. Affordable. Comfy.

Ottomans have come a long way since Dick Van Dyke tripped over one in the opening scene of the 1960s TV sitcom.

The once lowly ottoman — aka a hassock or footstool — has emerged as a centerpiece with form and function. They store stuff, flip over as trays and double as coffee tables.

Even so, these armless, backless thingamajigs still get taken for granted.

“They’re the afterthoughts when you go out and buy furniture, and it’s the thing you actually wind up using,” said Pete Falleen, a retired Boeing production manager.

He uses all five ottomans scattered throughout his Whidbey Island home.

“I use them to put trays on,” he said, “and my feet.”

Think of it as healthy loafing.

“It’s good for you. That’s what we learned as stewardesses,” said his wife, Carole, who worked for Pan American Airways. “The worst circulation for people’s bodies is the sitting position. It is much better circulation for people to stick their legs out and have them propped up. When we’d come off a flight, we’d flop down and put our feet up.”

The Falleens, now Windermere Real Estate brokers, rely on ottomans when entertaining grandkids, friends and clients.

“They expand your seating capacity without having to have a lot of chairs around,” Carole Falleen said.

Ottomans are a cheap fix. Fifty dollars buys a decent ottoman at discount stores, often in an array of colors and fabrics. Or you can spend $500 for a high-grade leather square.

Pretty much anything goes. Ottomans are tufted, knitted, skirted, studded, sequined — even hairy. Some makers are leaving the fur on the cowhide and dyeing it into different patterns and colors, said interior designer Heidi Beegle, owner of H. Beegle &Associates in Edmonds.

Ottomans are often ottomen. “I have ‘ganged’ them,” Beegle said, “taken several small cubes and added them together in a longer line for a coffee table.”

She said storage ottomans are especially popular in rooms with limited space to stash linens and toys. Beegle, a designer since 1981, has seen the ottomans expand to just about every room in the house and even on the patio.

“It’s so versatile,” she said.

The word pays tribute to the Ottoman Turks, who covered footstools with ornate fabrics. From there, the ottoman made its way to Europe and beyond.

American settlers liked its practicality, and furniture designers cashed in by matching colors and fabrics with sofas. Then along came Dick Van Dyke and great rooms and giant TVs and …

The rest is history in the making.

More in Life

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

Hau Tran sings as Vietnamese seniors eat at Homage’s Center for Healthy Living on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. Each weekday the center offers its room for various cultures to get together for activities and lunch while speaking their native languages. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Seniors of four cultures gather for food, fitness and fun

Homage’s Center for Healthy Living offers a venue for programs in the seniors’ native languages.

Ethnic communities eagerly await Lunar New Year on Feb. 16

By Homage Senior Services Ethnic communities around the world are getting eager… Continue reading

Kia Rio subcompact takes a classy step up in 2018

A new design, roomier cabin, and better fuel economy are among the improvements on the 2018 Kia Rio.

What’s new for 2018 for travelers in Scandinavia

Sweden, Norway and Finland have embarked on many urban, cultural and transit projects.

Most Read