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Blue and White Garden Stools

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Contrary to what their name suggests, blue and white garden stools aren’t just for gardens. Rather, these ultra-functional stools can be placed just about anywhere inside of the home and out. Much like ginger jars, blue and white ceramic garden stools possess an unmatched versatility. Their ultra-fresh color palette goes with just about anything, making them the perfect complement to interior styles as wide-ranging as traditional, Hollywood Regency, and even Mid-Century Modern.

Blue and white garden stools originated in China upwards of 1,000 years ago. It’s believed that they emerged out of Buddhist garden customs, wherein organic elements like rocks, felled trees, and cut tree stumps were used as makeshift seating. Since Chinese homes traditionally revolved around a central courtyard, outfitting the courtyard with seating was essential to making it feel like an integrated part of the home. In cases where natural seating was in limited supply, blue and white Chinese garden stools swooped in to save the day.

Design-wise, blue and white ceramic garden stools can vary, but generally, they will be barrel-shaped and come adorned with a mix of signature elements, including fretwork, pierced motifs, and relief decoration. The most common relief decoration is nailhead trim, located near the top and base of the stool. Nailhead reliefs are a holdover from ancient Chinese drums that featured wood frames with animal skins stretched over the top and nailed to either end.

Chinese porcelain garden stools’ blue and white color scheme is rooted deep in Chinese history. Traditionally, blue and white was among the most common schemes for Chinese porcelain. As Asian porcelain infiltrated the Western world via newly-opened trade routes beginning in approximately the 15th century, Europeans came to especially revere those pieces rendered in the zippy blue and white palette.

For centuries after, Europeans tried to replicate the production of blue and white porcelain with little success. However, in 1708, a German Meissen scientist unveiled a hard, white, translucent type of porcelain that was uncannily similar to Asian china. While this new porcelain wasn’t as durable as the exports from China, it produced remarkably similar-looking blue and white Ming vases, which may account for both the ginger jar and the blue and white garden stool’s prevailing popularity.

4 Genius Ways to Use an Asian Blue and White Garden Stool

In the Bathroom

There’s no denying that a free-standing tub is a luxury. Its lack of storage space for anything more than a bar of soap? Not so much. Thankfully, a blue and white ceramic garden stool placed adjacent to your tub can make a fine holding place for hair care products, a candle, or even a glass of wine. Even if you have a traditional built-in shower/ tub combo, a garden stool can up the spa vibe of an extended soak. While any garden stool will suffice, of course, chances are no matter your decor, a blue and white drum stool will complement your existing fixtures like it was meant to be.

As a Nightstand

Nothing adds sleekness to a bedroom like a floor-skimming bed. However, cueing up a nightstand that doesn’t tower over one can be a challenge. To the rescue? You guessed it, blue and white Asian garden stools. With a top that sits just a few inches below that of a traditional nightstand, garden stools offer a place to set a phone, a book, and even squeeze in a small lamp, just like a traditional nightstand. Chinese garden stools can also work in tandem with an untraditional nightstand such as a dresser or console to create a more functional vignette. Just one in front of your dresser or console, closest to your bedside. Not only will it visually moor your larger-than-average nightstand, but it will up the functionality tenfold.

Under a Console

Consoles are a hallway workhorse, but more often than not the empty space beneath their tops goes unused. While baskets certainly work to up the function, why not consider tucking a pair of blue and white garden stools under one? For a console parked in a hallway, garden stools can be scooted out to provide seating for lacing up sneakers or setting down grocery bags. In a bedroom, a blue and white garden stool can be slipped under a console to turn it into a makeshift vanity, too.

As a Coffee Table

Especially if you have a living space that’s a bit undersized, incorporating a full-sized coffee table can seem like a stretch. In these scenarios, two ceramic garden stools can stand in as a table. Not only will two blue and white garden stools take up less room, but they can easily be moved or recast as seating when demands for more floor space arise. Alternatively, two stools can be used to extend the surface area of a coffee table that may be just a touch too short for a long sofa. Simply partially tuck one under each side of your coffee table to create more visual length. As a bonus, these ceramic "wings" can go coaster-free.

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