A. You’re already acquainted with the best stool. Depending on how old you are, it was your mother’s, grandmother’s, or your own vinyl kitchen chair, most likely red, with a chrome frame. Underneath the seat were two steps that flipped out to function as a footrest or ladder. Pull it up to the kitchen counter, walk up the steps to the stool seat and from there onto the counter. Then change the bulb in the ceiling light fixture. Target has the stool, called the Retro, online, in white, yellow, and black, as well as timeless red, for $44.99.
Target also sells another classic online, the Kik-Step. It’s a 14-inch-high stool on spring-mounted casters that retract when you put weight on it. You can kick the stool into place, then sit or step on it. It comes in many colors, for $59.99.
Old faves not your style? Check out the sleek modern beauty called The Upper, designed by Alberto Meda, at Orange Skin (223 W. Erie St., 312-335-1033). Functional and decorative, it has a chrome-plated steel frame and polycarbonate steps in jewel-toned orange red, cobalt, or citron yellow. It’s also available in crystal. The stepstool folds for storage and costs $320.
We also found a gorgeous-and vaguely Edwardian-looking-object that functions as a chair, a stepstool, and, with the addition of an optional hanger attachment, a silent butler. The Rebecca Chair by Promemoria at Manifesto (755 N. Wells St., 312-664-0733) comes in anthracite beech or ancient beech for $1,310, or semi-polished lacquer for $1,490.