8 Ways to Decorate With a Garden Stool That’s Anything but Garden-Variety

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated March 28, 2022
A ceramic stool with a lamp on top of it
Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel / Corbis Documentary / Getty Images

This outdoor classic deserves a spot inside your home, too

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Though ceramic or Chinese garden stools are a common outdoor feature, these timeless furnishings are also ideal for several interior decorating purposes. Their unique design and waterproof material make them excellent for both cosmetic and functional decorating ideas, from chic coffee and end tables to reliable shower benches. Use these eight tips in this guide to give any garden stool a second life inside. 

1. Use Old Garden Stools to Showcase Stylish Decor

If you have more decorations than places to put them, garden stools can help. These fixtures are small enough to fit neatly into just about any space and have a large enough surface area to support all kinds of decor. Place one next to a bookshelf for highlighting your most design-forward titles, top with a lamp to add an accent light to an area that needs it, or even elevate a piece of art, like a statue or sculpture. Garden stools open up a whole world of no-cost home decor ideas.

2. Pair Multiple Garden Stools for a Shabby Chic Coffee Table

Though one garden stool may not have a large surface to be a functional coffee table on its own, multiple will. Pair two or three together and leave as is, or top with a wood or glass tabletop to protect the ceramic and create an even larger surface for all of your coffee mugs and teacups. 

3. Put One in Your Entryway for Keys and Mail

Garden stools are the perfect height for catching keys and mail as you walk through the front door. Plus, because they’re almost always made from a waterproof material, like ceramic or bamboo, they’re an excellent decor idea for mudrooms. Just be sure to use a garden stool with a solid surface rather than one with cutouts to ensure your keys don’t slip through and get trapped. Or top ones that do have large holes with a wood or glass tabletop.

4. Transform a Garden Stool Into a Makeshift Umbrella Holder

There are a couple of reasons why ceramic garden stools are well-suited to holding umbrellas. For one, their cutouts are usually large enough to fit one or more umbrella handles comfortably. And their waterproof material can withstand even residual rain from the most torrential downpour. 

5. Use a Garden Stool as an End Table for Any Part of Your Home

Garden stools are also great for any part of your home that needs an end table because they’re large enough to hold standard end table fare—like books, lamps, and coffee mugs—yet small enough to fit neatly into even the most cramped corners. Plus, their cutouts are ideal for hiding cables from lamps, chargers, and all the other usual end table suspects. 

6. Bring a Garden Stool Into Your Bathroom 

There’s a great way to use this waterproof furnishing in bathroom spaces. Try placing one next to your tub for holding all of your bath time necessities, like your phone, book, or drink. The waterproof material makes it an added benefit withstanding bathroom humidity. 

7. Make It a Trendy Plant Stand for All of Your Leafy Friends

Plant lovers know you can never have too many plant stands. If you’re in need of yet another place to put a maidenhair fern, ceramic garden stools are ideal for the job because they’re waterproof and can more than handle any residual drippage from watering day. Plus, their cutouts provide airflow and drainage that keep plants comfortably moist rather than soggy. 

8. Make a Unique Night-Light or Lantern

The cutout feature on most garden stools is great for many things, including creating a mood lighting or night-light effect. Wrap string lights through each hole to cast light and shadow in all directions, or create a focused accent light with a single bulb. Depending on the size of the cutouts, you may even be able to fit one or several candles inside as well.  

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