The last few decades have seen a narrowing of the gap between western and Asian design styles. In fact, many elements of each culture have been accepted as integral parts of a global style. While the Chinese school of interior design brings with it several classics, it is the elegant drum-shape and often perforated little stools that have quietly made the biggest move in the last decade. For those still in the dark, these classy additions are called Chinese garden stools, and these days, they seem to be spending more time indoors than in the courtyard or on the porch!
by John Hildebrand Photography / Barbara Grushow Designs
Showcasing the simple and unassuming silhouette that is so common with Asian design, these stools have come a long way from being ornate additions that originated during the Ming Dynasty some 1000 years ago. Having survived more than a millennium, their form has been reinterpreted by modern designers, and their ceramic construction has given way to other materials to ensure that they seem apt in your contemporary home. Here are a few lovely inspirations that capture their versatile charm –
by Elad Gonen
by R.M. Buck Builders
by Leslie Hayes Interiors
by Fisher Hart Photographers
Reinventing the Classic Approach
The origins of the Chinese garden stools can be traced back to the same time as those amazing and diverse vases that have captured the attention of the world for centuries. The design style, the motifs and workmanship are pretty similar and rely on elaborate scenes from Chinese mythology and historic events of the time. Of course, finding an original Chinese garden stool from several centuries back is both rare and insanely expensive (a task best left to museums and really serious collectors). But modern replicas come for as little as just $100 and make a bargain buy considering the beauty and the resourcefulness they bring to the table.
by Tamara Mack Design
by Gil Walsh Interiors
Porcelain garden stools in white with blue print are incredibly popular and are more costly than the cookie-cutter models that might be available at your nearest retail chain. But if you are a collector of antiques and love carefully curated interiors, these stools can be invaluable additions that enhance the appeal of any space they adorn.
by Chipper Hatter Architectural Photographer
by Lisa Borgnes Giramonti
by Laidlaw Schultz architects
by James Schettino Architects
A Truly Global Appeal!
It is amazing how old Chinese vases, cabinets and garden stools are being incorporated seamlessly into sleek, modern homes without ever moving away from the broader theme or the color scheme. For starters, it speaks volumes about the appeal of a global style of decorating that borrows from diverse backdrops that range from the African style to the Oriental. But more essentially, it comes down to ingenious designers reinventing the traditional Chinese garden stool. Classic prints and dragons have been replaced by solid colors, while the design material is also more varied, thanks to porcelain.
by Glynis Wood Interiors
by Marcye Philbrook
by Toronto Interior Design Group – Yanic Simard
As in the case of colorful vintage pieces and bold geometric patterns finding new life in contemporary homes, the Chinese garden stool owes its sudden popularity spurt to the greater use of neutral backdrops. These versatile and space-saving additions can quickly add some bright color to the room or even enhance the existing accent hue. You can even opt for sleeker and far more westernized versions of the stool that seem like distant cousins of the traditional Chinese garden stool.
by Lowe’s Home Improvement – Building Supplies
by Muse Interiors
by Andrea Schumacher Interiors
by Worth Interiors
Glitter of Gold & Smidgeon of Silver
It is the season for bright metallic accents, and they seem to be dominating every interior that we gaze upon. Why not use the Chinese garden stool to add a touch of silver and a dash of gold to the color scheme of your living room or bedroom? The convenience of these light and sturdy accessories is that you can easily move them from one room to another when you wish to redecorate your home. They also make wonderful side tables, bedside nightstands and even simple and minimalist additions for the luxurious, spa-like bathroom.
by Laura U
by Stage Struck
by Cynthia Lynn Photography
by Reliving Interiors
Did Someone Say ‘Garden’?
Yes, there might be many who are already wondering if we have lost it! We did say that these were garden stools, and yet they seem to be spending all their time indoors. The Chinese garden stool did evolve from serene, ancient Buddhist gardens that were all about nature and balance between the elements. The first such stools probably were tree stumps and cylindrical stones that were simply crafted by the elements and the natural weathering process. In time, ceramic versions took over. But true to the tradition, here are a few inspirations that show you how easily this stool can adapt to the needs of the modern patio or terrace as well.
by CIH Design
by Laura U / Photography by Julie Soefer
by Harold Leidner Landscape Architects
While we often spend time discussing decor additions and design icons that will make you lighter by several thousand dollars at times, here is a little, timeless wonder that will not break the bank. And that makes the Chinese garden stool even more special. The options are indeed endless, so pick a style and a hue of your choice and get started today!