The Frosta stool from Ikea is cheap and useful at $12, but if you want to add a little bit of character, see how Robbi Lindeman turned his Frosta into something special...
Design Sponge featured this makeover by Robbi Lindeman of Salt Labs. He applied image transfers to the top of the stool using a solvent and then gave it a clear finish.
Robbi answered some questions about his process of finding and transferring the images and it's a bit more detailed than it appears at first, but you could easily go with decals or decoupage and get a similar effect.
Check out the post here.