Designers, for years obsessed with creating the perfect chair, have now spotted the practical, aesthetic and space-saving potential of the humble stool.
Take your pick from folding or stacking types, or go for level-topped stools that can double as handy side tables for nibbles and drinks. There are tall stools to fit around your kitchen breakfast bar, or very low ones that can act as foot rests in front of an armchair or sofa. And with materials ranging from cork to lacquered metal, there's something for every style of interior.
1. Chris Martin's Harry stool is made from two bent and laminated wood sections held together by wooden wedges. Available in natural beech, red-lacquered beech or natural oak, they cost £453 apiece, or choose a white-stained or black-stained beech version for £399. From Twentytwentyone (020 7837 1900; twentytwentyone.com).
2. What happens when you fill an oak veneer shape with foam? As the foam expands it crinkles the veneer in a way that makes each of these TWB stools unique. Designed by Raw-Edges for Cappellini, the TWB comes in natural oak or dark green, priced £1,869, or natural with a red or green base (shown) for £2,103. From Cappellini, 150 St John Street, EC1 (020 7014 5980; cappellini.it).
3. The folding Stitch stool, designed by Adam Goodrum for Cappellini, is made with aluminium plate, then lacquered in either white, blue, yellow, grey, red or black and costs £918. Or choose the eye-zapping multicoloured version at £1,081. From Cappellini, 150 St John Street, EC1 (020 7014 5980; cappellini.it).
4. Jasper Morrison's friendly family of cork stools are light and durable yet feel soft to the touch. Made by Vitra, they cost £290 each. From Viaduct (viaduct.co.uk; 020 7278 8456).
5. The cast-iron ring on Tom Dixon's solid oak Slab bar stool adds stability and doubles as a foot rest. Available in natural oak or with a black lacquered finish, for £360. From Tom Dixon (020 7242 4744; tomdixon.net).
6. You might approach Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa's Log stool with some trepidation but it makes for a surprisingly comfortable extra perch. Made for Swedese, it costs £528. From Twentytwentyone (020 7837 1900; twentytwentyone.com).
7. Nendo's Ribbon stools are made from laser-cut metal plate lacquered in a choice of white, black, red, yellow or blue. A magnetically attached polyurethane foam cushion is available in matching colours. The high stool is £595 and the lower version is £376. From Cappellini, 150 St John Street, EC1 (020 7014 5980; cappellini.it).