It's a spare seat, it's a side table, it's a plant stand—a ceramic garden stool can serve a multitude of purposes around the house. The typical barrel shape is a time-honored Chinese form, used for over a thousand years as a casual garden perch. By the 19th century, they were showing up in British conservatories, and English potteries started turning out designs with brighter colors and more openwork.
Today these drum-shaped stools are enjoying a comeback and run the gamut from traditional Chinese models to more contemporary interpretations. Outdoors, they can provide an all-weather hit of color and pattern on a patio or porch. Inside, they can hold a book beside the bathtub, a coffee mug next to your favorite chair, or serve as a spare seat at party time—as decorative as a throw pillow but a lot more useful.