I Think that Ceramic Drum Stool's work great as a side table or extra seating. I have been looking for some affordable ones, The best I could come up with in Australia is as follows:
Overstock: There are many different designs here, white, Silver, mirrored From $126.71 (AU) here
The Urban Balcony: These ceramic drum stools come in Matt Black or Silver $195 (AU) Each. More details here
HFOC: Samantha Robinson Ceramic hand printed drum stools $350 (AU) each. More details here
Apartment Therapy also has a quick history on the Origins of the Chinese ceramic drum stool Believe it or not, barrel- or drum-shaped garden stools have been used in China for at least 1,000 years. They may have evolved out of the Buddhist garden tradition, where natural elements like tree stumps and smooth rocks were used as seats.
Traditionally, Chinese homes were build around a courtyard, and with an emphasis on landscape and gardens, so outdoor furniture was essential. By the Song Dynasty (960-1279), these types of stools were used both indoors and outdoors as casual seating (image 2). Indoor stools were typically portable and made out of wood, while outdoor furniture, needing to withstand the elements, began to be made out of stone (image 3), glazed stoneware (images 4 & 6), or porcelain (image 5).
The antique stools that are still extant tend to be from the late Ming Dynasty — early 17th century — and later, and they have a range of decoration, including fretwork, relief decoration, and pierced motifs. One common decoration is simulated nailheads, often around the upper and lower parts of the barrel form. The nailhead motif is left over from ancient Chinese drums, which had wood bodies with skins stretched over each end and affixed with nails.
(See full article Here)
Samantha @ Black Velvet Chair