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Dining chairs are one of those things that seem unnecessarily expensive. You want a solid, comfy seat when you’re eating — or working — at your kitchen or dining room table, but I feel like that should be possible for far less than $500 a pop. Yet, many styles retail for way above that, and the fact that you often need multiple chairs only exacerbates the sticker shock. Sure, you can go the mismatched dining chairs route to save on cost, but that takes an extra level of planning and coordination. That’s why when I saw Taylor Evans’ small space-friendly dining chair hack in her recent house tour, I took notice.
Instead of splurging on bulky but comfy, grand dining chairs, Evans went with a set of four ottomans from Amazon. “We had a hard time finding chairs for our dining table,” she said. “I started testing multiple chairs around the apartment, pulling them up to the dining table to determine measurements for the best seat height. An ottoman we already owned ended up being the perfect height, and I thought, why can’t I use ottomans as chairs? Ottomans as chairs isn’t a traditional ‘DIY,’ but it’s a creative solution that I love sharing.”
This decorating move makes sense on three different levels. First, there’s price. You’re still getting great seat cushioning with these barrel-shaped ottomans, but because they require less material and fill to create, they cost much less than chairs do. Some people might need backs for support, but if you know you’re compatible with stool seating or don’t use your dining nook all that much, then this is a great solution. In Evans’ case, the stools were actually an ideal height for her table, so don’t discount an unconventional dining seating idea until you try it.
Secondly, ottomans can be better than chairs in terms of sight lines. When you’re dealing with a small space and a fairly open layout, visual weight counts in making your home feel less crowded. Not every piece you use has to be low to the ground like these ottomans, but backless seating certainly takes up less visual space around a table, and these ottomans have fewer “limbs” to speak of to muck or clutter up the view.
Lastly, these ottomans offer a bit more flexibility than traditional dining chairs. Really large, throne-like upholstered chairs might make you feel like a king at your table, but but they’re harder to pull up around a sofa if you have company coming over and need a few extra spots to sit.
The next time you’re shopping for dining chairs, why not look in the ottoman section? You just might find the perfect solution for a steal.