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Stools are a versatile player in decor

Polish designer Oskar Zieta's Plopp Jr stool, which looks like a blown up balloon chair but is in fact made of steel. It comes in taxicab yellow and fire engine red, among others. (kinderMODERN)
Polish designer Oskar Zieta's Plopp Jr stool, which looks like a blown up balloon chair but is in fact made of steel. It comes in taxicab yellow and fire engine red, among others. (kinderMODERN)
By Kim Cook Associated Press

A stool is one of the most versatile pieces of furniture you can get. It slides neatly under or up to a counter, takes up little real estate and can provide a handy perch in any room.

New York interior designer Kati Curtis finds herself employing stools a lot in her projects.

“I love using Lucite bar stools for spaces where the front of the bar is also a design feature,” she said

She also suggests swivel stools in an open plan, where the action’s taking place in both the kitchen and family room.

Then there’s Powell & Bonnell’s Alto stool. “When I need a bar stool that’s going to make a solid design statement, this is the go-to,” Curtis said. “It’s a showstopper that stands on its own.”

The Alto has a trim, sculptural steel frame that you can get in a variety of finishes, including polished or satin nickel, brass and pewter. The low-profile yet comfy seat, or saddle, looks great in caramel-hued leather, but can be custom upholstered. (

At Wisteria, each seat is unique on Javanese bar stools crafted of teak salvaged from old homes. Another bar stool in the collection is clad in saddle leather that would develop a nice patina over time. Both of these have a hip, loft-like vibe, and would work well in a men’s dressing room or an industrial style kitchen. (

Another option for a kitchen or home bar is Arteriors’ Caymus stool, available in two heights, with a mango wood seat and an iron base with foot rest. (

Anna Karlin’s brass-plated, cold-rolled steel Chess stools evoke the game pieces, with muscular geometric profiles. (

Also for a bar, Curtis likes Bar Stool 109 by The New Traditionalists, a furniture studio in Torrington, Connecticut. Available with or without arms, the stool made of kiln-dried hardwood holds a seat that looks as good in denim with a racy, red-laced back as it does in buttery blue leather. (

You can splurge a little on stools since you usually only need a couple. Check out Los Angeles studio Thomas Hayes’ limited-edition, midcentury-style Cojo bar stool, which has a vintage, bent, Rosewood back and a seat sourced in Brazil. (

Or consider a pair of Charles Hollis Jones’ midcentury stools. Jones is known for pioneering the use of acrylics in furniture design. The curvy stools are made of chrome and Lucite. (

Horchow has several elegant barstools. Bernhardt’s Paloma is like a leggy yet comfy club chair, in rich brown velvet. Mongolian lambswool makes a shaggy-chic seat for the brass-plated, Art Deco-style Imperial stool. (

Need a fun little seat for a children’s craft space? Kinder Modern has Polish designer Oskar Zieta’s Plopp Jr stool, which looks like a blown-up balloon chair but is in fact made of steel. It comes in taxicab yellow and fire-engine red, among other colors.

The retailer also stocks Japanese designer Takeshi Sawada’s cute little Sheep and Bambi stools, crafted from hardwoods and upholstered with faux deerskin or shearling. The seat backs are shaped like antlers and horns. (

Drawing inspiration from architecture, sculpture and vintage fashion, Irish designer Claire Anne O’Brien plays with the scale of knitwear patterns. Upholstered in lambs’ wool, the stools are cozy, artful spots to sit. (

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