A fabric-covered, tufted bench may seem like the obvious choice when it comes to adding something decorative at the foot of your bed, but there are a few other options to consider…

Chests, trunks and suitcases – Adding a vintage chest or weathered trunk at the end of the bed can help create a beautiful focal point and a sense of charm. You can even use it to store extra linen or sentimental heirlooms, like your grandmother’s collection of knitting patterns. Old suitcases, stacked one on top of the other, can also bring back memories and add a hint of nostalgia. And you can use them for storage too.

Baskets – From woven sea grass, wicker and white cane baskets to sturdy canvas ‘bins’, pull-out baskets and baskets with lids, a cosy collection of baskets at the end of the bed can look amazing and be functional at the same time.

Daybed – If you have a little more room to spare, consider a daybed at the end of your bed. It can turn any bedroom into a cosy retreat. You can sit there and read a book or even take a little afternoon nap. Make it more inviting for lounging or napping by layering it with pillows and bolsters. If you have a backless daybed with low sides, it may not look right with bolsters and pillows, so simply drape a colourful throw across it.

Wood – If you need a more practical solution at the foot of the bed, consider a small chest of drawers for added storage, a glossy wooden coffee table for stacking books, a set of nesting tables, old pallets or crates, or even a shelving unit on casters. Or line up two or three wooden cubes to add interest. The great thing about wood is that it can bring wonderful texture into a room, as well as a hint of the outdoors.

Ottomans – A cube ottoman is one of those furniture pieces you can’t go wrong with. They can easily be moved around, they make for great extra seating and can even offer storage. And there’s no end to the fun you can have with them. It’s easy to get away with bright, bold prints and interesting materials. Plus they’re affordable enough to buy a few at a time to group together.

Chairs and stools – Placing two chairs or short stools at the foot of the bed not only creates a sense of symmetry, but they can also be moved around easily when needed.

Pet bed – If you’re an animal lover and your pets sleep in the room with you, use the foot of the bed to create an elegant pet bed that matches the rest of the room’s decor (think similar materials, colours, finishes, shapes and textures).

Five reasons to place a piece of furniture at the foot of your bed:

1 It offers you a spot to sit and read.
2 It offers you a spot to stack books and magazines.
3 You can pack and unpack suitcases here (which makes it particularly handy in a guestroom).
4 You can use it for storage (from linen, towels and blankets, to photo albums and other sentimental items).
5 In larger bedrooms, it helps the space appear visually balanced and cosier (as large empty spaces can often look cold and bland).

Tip: Pick something with a length that is two-thirds the width of your bed. The height is a bit more forgiving – anything from around 5cm to 30cm below the top of the bed will work. Also, you need at least a metre of free space opposite the bed or the room will feel too cramped. And make sure it blends in with the colour scheme and/or theme of your room.

Photograph by Chris Allan

Photograph by Chris Allan