A pair of bar stools, pricey and affordable
- The San Francisco Chronicle, 09/27/2009

Drinking and decorating isn't a good idea.

Better to souse your sorrows, then sleep it off. You can rearrange the furniture another time. (That armchair won't fit in the bathroom, promise.)

But bar stools ... well, they're another story. Bring a few home and you might not regret it the next morning.

The LEM Piston Stool by Japan-born and London-based design duo Shin and Tomoko Azumi became an instant classic after premiering at the International Interior Design Awards in 2000. (It was named product of the year.)

The seat, which comes in stainless steel, leather or beech wood, can be adjusted from 26 1/2-inch countertop height to a 31-inch bar height using a gas-lift pedal. The straight lines of the low-slung metal footrest contrast nicely with the swivel-seat's graceful, body-hugging curves. It retails for $807 through Unica Home (unicahome.com) and is available both in stores and online.

Another option is the Toco bar stool (formerly known as the "Sling") from BoConcept, the Danish furniture retailer with stores throughout the United States (boconcept.com). The company claims the stool's translucent and gently sloping acrylic seat aims to "replicate the fluidity and transparency of a fine vodka or liquor."

This seems a stretch to us, but at $199, we'll give the handsome Toco some leeway. Its metal footrest is independently attached to the stool and far smaller than the Azumis' design. Though clear acrylic is the sole material available, you'll have greater options height-wise, with the stool stretching from 23 inches to 31.5 inches using a similar gas-lift technology.

So line the bar stools up along the kitchen counter and you'll have a place to perch, pajama-clad, with your eggs, toast and sunglasses. We know - it's been a long night.

LEM Piston Stool $807

Toco bar stool $199