The close stool gave way to the night table or night commode, Victorian terms that readers will be more familiar with. The night commode, however, had two advantages over the close stool. Firstly it was a closed cabinet and chamberpot that sat next to the bed. This would have been particularly important in winter. Secondly its marble or timber top served as a washstand for a basin and water pitcher. By Victorian times, hygeine was seen to be more important, as well as more pleasant.
Presumably families with access to good quality furniture in the rest of their home would have selected top quality close stools and commodes.
I have seen many close stools and night commodes over the years, but I have never seen one like a night stool that was on offer at Sotheby’s London in April 2009 (Classic English Furniture: The Norman Adams Legacy 1923-2009). The mahogany stool and hinged lid had a large, shaped apron on all sides to hide the enclosed pot, and stood on cabriole legs with pad feet. But the lid wasn’t timber or tapestry as we'd normally expect. Instead it had been crafted in the form of a large leather book with marbled pages.
Country Life, reviewing the piece 6/5/2009, said it "was perhaps intended for a bibliophile too immersed in his studies to leave the library for relief". I thought it was the most wonderful literary reference I've seen in furniture.
A Connoisseur’s Corner discovered an 18th century chair that was originally the toilet of a cashed-up Philadelphia gent. The deep side panels along the seat frame concealed the chamber pot that would have been inserted in the well of the wood platform. The upholstered seat was placed on top, partially to hide the chamber pot and partially, I would imagine, to look attractive. In the inter-war period a dealer converted the object into a proper drawing room chair by reducing the length of the apron around the seat frame and by eliminating the platform into which the chamber pot would have been inserted.