Kick your colour pho­bia

Try an ot­toman to brighten up mid­dle of room

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - SAMANTHA PYNN

Q: I hate colour and printed up­hol­stery. This fact is re­flected in my small condo, as all my fur­ni­ture is grey and non­de­script, and I have white walls.

As a guy in my of­fice pur­ports, if you go to some­one’s place and they have no books, you shouldn’t sleep with them be­cause they have no colour and no soul. I now have a slightly more dar­ing feel­ing, re­sult­ing from re­cent sunny days. I’m not so em­bold­ened as to try wall­pa­per or a colour­print sofa, but pos­si­bly a large chair in a con­tem­po­rary pat­tern. Sug­ges­tions wel­come.

A: I nearly choked on my tea from laugh­ing so hard when I read your bit about the books. I couldn’t tell whether you have books or not, but you can cer­tainly ex­press your colourful per­son­al­ity with a lit­tle colour in other things in your home.

An up­hol­stered chair is a great way to add some colour to your space, but for people with colour pho­bia, an ot­toman is even bet­ter. You can al­ways throw a pat­terned pil­low onto a grey arm­chair to add some life, but an ot­toman will bal­ance your space, giv­ing you a nice shot of colour in the mid­dle of the room.

There are plenty of pat­terned ot­tomans on the mar­ket (I’ve done a lit­tle shop­ping for you), but if you find a solid one in a style you like, you can choose any colour of fab­ric.

Also keep in mind that re­uphol­ster­ing an arm­chair will cost twice as much as an ot­toman would, given that an ot­toman would be much eas­ier to re­uphol­ster. In fact, if you buy an ot­toman that doesn’t have tuft­ing or pip­ing, you could re­uphol­ster it yourself.

When choos­ing a fab­ric, note that stains and spills are much less no­tice­able with darker tex­tiles. An ot­toman sim­i­lar to the one in Ju­lia Black’s home (as seen in the photo here) will work well in your space be­cause the fab­ric’s grey back­ground will pick up on your other grey fur­ni­ture. (Be­cause you’re coloura­verse, I thought you’d ap­pre­ci­ate that the only colours present in Ju­lia’s den are on the two large paint­ings on her white walls and her broad-striped rug.)

In small liv­ing and loung­ing spa­ces where you can’t fit a sec­tional, an ot­toman is a comfier place to put your feet up than a cof­fee ta­ble.

An ot­toman with stor­age will give you a place to stow blan­kets, cush­ions or maybe your collection of soul­ful ro­mance nov­els. And, if you en­ter­tain of­ten, a group­ing of cube ot­tomans can be sep­a­rated dur­ing par­ties to give guests el­e­gant spots on which to perch with a cock­tail.

Fi­nally, let’s talk books. With the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of e-read­ers, there are plenty of people who don’t have books. How­ever, if you’re still con­cerned about your soul and de­sir­abil­ity, stack a cou­ple of cof­fee ta­ble books in­stead of a tray atop your colourful new ot­toman.


Thresh­old Yel­low White Trel­lis, $69.99 is at Tar­ In small spa­ces, an ot­toman is a comfy place to perch feet.

Salema cot­ton stor­age ot­toman in Marimekko Pienet Kivet, $749 at


Kelton cube ot­toman, $995 at

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