The Ball Is Back, and It’s Coming for Your Living Room Furniture

published Jan 6, 2024
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Head on view of a living room with white walls, a low couch with printed yellow and white ruffled cushions, two patchwork stools, and a small bistro table and chairs in the front right.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Prop Stylist: Sophie Strangio

Circles, spheres, ovals: These shapes have been seen in design over the years, and they come in and out of popularity. Furniture enthusiasts will likely be familiar with the most famous iteration of this trio — ball feet — which historically both grounded and added a touch of detail to William and Mary-style furniture (named after Queen Mary II and her husband, King William III). Ball and bun feet began popping up on chairs and cabinets in the 17th century and continued to be popular well into the 1800s. 

Many antique furniture and period reproductions from the colonial and post-colonial period that you can find today feature these forms, and now, newer pieces are sporting these ball shapes, too, with retailers selling everything from sofas and ottomans to cabinets and wardrobes with ball feet. The Citizenry’s latest collection featured ball feet on several styles of accent chairs, and even mass retailers like T.J. Maxx and Target are getting in on the shape, particularly with more transitional and traditional offerings, like this Threshold designed with Studio McGee bench. While simple in form, these flourishes add a certain warmth to living rooms in particular — especially if you’re big on classic design or looking to decorate with soft, rounded edges. 

The cool thing about the ball trend is that ball and bun feet, in particular, are DIYable on a budget, too. Designer Hollie Velten-Lattrell proved just that with her curated room full of ball and bun feet furniture from Apartment Therapy’s Small/Cool NYC pop up last year. There, in addition to her own bespoke ottomans and a splurge-worthy 1stDibs chair trimmed in shiny ball feet, she used wooden bun feet from Amazon to customize an IKEA IVAR bookshelf. Her design aesthetic is a perfect blend of nostalgia with textures and patterns that evoke an era gone by, blended with more modern touches. And that’s kind of what this resurgence of ball feet (and ball shapes in general) is all about: making what’s old feel new again.

If you need more proof that the ball is back for 2024, look no further than the decorative accessory market. The humble ball isn’t just sticking to furniture feet and legs this year — it’s traveling onto all kinds of pieces. You can find balls and bobbin beaded trims adorning mirrors, making it all the way up table legs, and even covering picture frames. 

If you’re not keen on incorporating the ball or bobbin-style trims into your furniture, which can be a hefty investment, you can try decorating with pom-pom garlands instead for a fun, bright look that still incorporates the ball trend, albeit on a much smaller, softer scale. Pom-pom garlands are popular around the world for festivals, including for the Indian festival of Diwali — I can attest to seeing plenty of those growing up! — so you can find them everywhere. You can also consider adding pom-pom trim to lampshades, towels, blankets — you name it! The fact that the ball shape is also happening in the world of soft goods and textiles speaks volumes on just how popular this shape is again. 

All in all, the ball shape is alive in design and truly back — the only question is, how are you going to incorporate it into your home?