How to make a Mid-Century-Modern inspired stool.
It is so easy to make a small round stool, and with the types of furniture legs out there, you can go for any style you like. You can use stools like this basically anywhere in your home. As extra seating in your lounge or family room, in your kids’ rooms, as a vanity stool or even on your porch. I’ve always loved angled furniture legs of the mid-century modern style and have some furniture pieces in my home with angled legs. And for that reason, I decided to make a small, round, mid-century-modern inspired stool.
Gather your supplies and do prep work
The supplies list is short for this project:
- A wooden base in the shape and size of your choice
- High-density upholstery foam, cut to the shape and size of your base
- Batting or felt for an extra comfort layer (optional)
- Fabric in the colour and style of your choice and a sewing machine
- Staple gun
- Three chair legs – style of your choice
- Three splayed (for the angled legs) or straight leg plates and the screws needed to attach them
I asked my husband to cut a base for me. We just traced the circle off one of our kitchen bar stools, and he cut it with his jigsaw and sanded the edges smooth. Next, I cut the upholstery foam to the size of the base. I decided to give an extra layer, to prevent abrasion between the cover fabric and the wood base. I did not have batting on hand but did have a big enough piece of felt. Firstly, I made covers out of the felt and my cover fabric, mainly using the steps in this tutorial, just without the piping. I put in a seam in my cover fabric to make sure I would have no frayed edges at the bottom.
Stain or paint your chair legs to your preference. And now, you are officially done with the prep work. You are ready to assemble your small round stool.
Assemble your DIY round stool
First, insert the cushion into the felt or batting cover – make sure your seams are neat inside and that you won’t have any funky folds showing through. You can also glue the wood base to the foam – but you don’t have to. I just inserted the wood base on top of the foam. I used my measuring tape to make sure I fastened the felt at equal distances from the sides with my staple gun. When attaching your fabric with the staple gun, start with one staple in each quarter. Then continue filling in the gaps; halving the intervals each time with a staple. Make sure you keep the fabric smooth and even. I also trimmed the felt a bit.
After you fastened your felt or batting, you can pull your outer-cover onto the base and continue with the staples as you did before. You might need to make folds in the fabric, but keep them evenly spaced to keep it neat.
I determined the spacing for the legs with some simple geometry, and then we fixed the leg plates in place with screws and added the legs. And that is it; your DIY round stool is finished.
Am I happy with how it turned out?
Not entirely, no. I wanted to use this stool at my dressing table, but the stool is not the right height for the table. The scale is also off – it is just too small for the table. They do not feel like they belong together. You see, I did not plan properly. I knew how to make the stool, but I did not plan out the proportions.
I’m also not too fond of the orange stain colour on the legs – it came out a lot lighter than I wanted. Even though I saw that it was too orange, I did not use a different stain; I kept on working. It also feels like the legs aren’t angled enough – maybe I needed to move them a bit more to the outside so that they are more visible at the angle. And lastly, my sewing could have been neater. So, although it is cute, I won’t be using this DIY stool where I planned on using it.
So where will this small DIY stool end up?
I’ll figure out where to use the stool instead. I have two possible locations, but either way, I’ll have to make some modifications. I will definitely be staining the legs darker and less orange and might make a different cover to use in our upcoming home office revamp. Or I might paint the legs white and use it on our back porch. But I do know that I will test it out in the spaces first before I do the alterations.
It is still an easy DIY project. But this DIY flop goes to show that you sometimes need to make those mistakes. We need to make mistakes, to learn from them. I’ve realised once again that you do sometimes need that visualisation to figure out if your planned project will suit the purpose. And secondly, that even a seasoned designer and DIY’er like me, still make mistakes.
My advice to you is to think about the scale of such a small stool in relation to the furniture around it. If you think it will work, go for it. But be sure to measure and plan out the height of the legs and final height of the stool itself. If your scale is ok, and you get the height right, yours should turn out great!
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What do you think of this mid-century inspired DIY round stool? Do you like it, or do you feel the same way I do? Please spill your décor flops down in the comments below, and let’s see what we can learn from those mistakes together.