Thursday, July 19, 2018
Text Size

Around the House: Garden Stools

Garden stools have long been a decorator favorite for their versatility, functionality, and beauty. These drum or barrel-shaped stools have been a part of Chinese tradition for over 1000 years, have been imported to the West for over 300 years, and continue to be a useful, attractive addition to homes today. The humble garden stool is just as at ease in a student’s studio apartment as it is in a vast, vaulted-ceilinged room, can be easily moved around within a home or from apartment to apartment, and adds style and color wherever it’s placed.

Photo: In a small bathroom with little storage, a garden stool provides a splash-proof spot for toiletries or stacked towels.

Though in glossy shelter magazines, you’ll often see garden stools used as purely decorative pieces tucked under a console table, decorators like to think of them as the perfect solution for anywhere you could use a little extra table space or pop of color.  They make lovely drinks tables when placed next to a chair, bench, windowseat, or any other place you find yourself looking to set down a book or cup of tea.   Two or three garden stools clustered together make a charming small-scale alternative to a coffee table for a diminutive loveseat or settee and will allow for more maneuverability in a tight space than a single, solid cocktail table.

Garden stools are also right at home in the bathroom!  If you’ve run out of shelf space in a shower or lack a bench, a garden stool is an attractive alternative to a teak bench, and you can place it right in the shower stall.  They’re also the perfect-sized table, impervious to splashes, to place next to a standalone tub and can hold stacked towels, bath salts, and other toiletries.  If you have a pedestal sink or limited counterspace, a garden stool makes a sturdy perch for a makeup bag or blowdrying tools, and I love the idea of using one to hold a basket of toiletries for overnight guests.

These artful mini-tables can also preserve a perfectly arranged tablescape.  Perhaps you’ve created a much-loved display of family pictures and a fresh bouquet on your foyer table, leaving no place to drop your handbag when you walk in. Or does the mere thought of potentially spilling a mug full of coffee on your laptop and paperwork-covered desk give you heart palpitations?  A garden stool placed within arm’s reach will work beautifully in both scenarios, without making a space look cluttered up with tabletops.  I also love using garden stools next to the bed; they’re just right for stacking all your nighttime reads while leaving ample room on a bedside table for a lamp, clock, and other bedtime essentials.

Decorators also know that garden stools are an easy way to add symmetry and play up a pre-existent focal point.   To use them to this effect in your own home, try flanking a doorway, fireplace, or large piece of furniture – like a dining buffet or tall chest of drawers — with two matching or similar garden stools. Top them with a lush potted plant for extra oomph.  Or leave them empty and enjoy having some new book-stacking spots, handbag holders, drinks tables, and moveable party-guest perches at the ready!

Kitty Burruss is a decorator, wife, and mother with quite a collection of garden stools that she uses both indoors and out.

Joomla Templates and Joomla Extensions by JoomlaVision.Com


Important: River Journal Online is the online publication of River Journal Inc., Tarrytown, NY. River Journal is not liable for failure to publish an advertisement or for typographic errors published, except for the cost of that portion of ad space within which the error first appeared. River Journal reserves the right to reject or edit any submission and all submissions become the exclusive property of River Journal. The opinions of River Journal's editorial board are those of the editorial board. Opinions stated in letters, articles, commentaries, ads, graphics or cartoons are those of indiviudal authors. No part of River Journal to include photos, artwork, ads, and text may be reproduced without the written consent of the Publisher.


Browser compatibility notes

Login Form