Today more than ever, kitchen counters are increasingly becoming the go-to spot for eating, entertaining, lounging, and working. Kitchen bar stools have thus become a huge kitchen essential, and it’s important that you find one that best suits your home. Roomhints interviewed our designer community to create this guide to help you choose the perfect kitchen barstool.
Design by Morgan Mullen Design
1. Measure, measure, measure
Perhaps the first thing you have to do before you even start your search is know what height you need for your kitchen stool. A kitchen stool that is not the appropriate height will not only feel uncomfortable to sit on and dine in, but will look disproportionate aesthetically.
How high should a kitchen stool be?
Kitchen stools are generally either counter stools or bar stools, for your kitchen countertop or home bar, respectively. The standard height for kitchen countertops is 36″, and the standard height for counter stools is 24″-26″. The standard height for bars (at home and in commercial spaces) is 42″, and the standard height for bar stools is 30″. Additionally, make sure that there is 9″-12″ of space between the bottom of the countertop and the stool so that there is plenty of leg room.
Designed by bd homes
How far apart should kitchen stools be?
You also want to measure the width of your kitchen island to see how many stools can fit at your counter. Make sure that there is ample space between each stool so that the chairs don’t look too cluttered and people have space to sit and dine without elbowing their neighbors. Leave about 5 inches of space between each stool, and make sure that each stool has about 24″-30″ of area space. Divide the width of your kitchen island by how many inches of space you need for each stool to figure out how many stools you should buy. In other words, if your kitchen island is 90″ wide, you’ll need 3 stools for 30″ of space for each.
Designed by New England Design Works
2. Determine your budget
Kitchen stools fall on all sides of the price spectrum. On the one hand, investing in a higher-end, quality stool means that you’ll be getting a stool that you love and that will stand the test of time (and children, family, and friends). On the other hand, kitchen stools are a home item that is easy to swap out. If you think you’ll probably want to switch things up as trends come and go, there are plenty of affordable options that can give you the same look that you’re going for.
Image Credits: The Lifestyled Company
3. Choose a style
There are a couple of main, basic differences between different types of kitchen stools. Do you want a backless, low back, or full back stool? Arms or no arms? Swivel or stationary? Ultimately, these decisions boil down to style and comfort. You’ll have to consider your lifestyle, wants, and needs. Here we’ll dive into the pros and cons of each to help you make your decision.
Designed by bd homes
Back vs. Backless
Kitchen stools come in backless, low-back, and full back styles. Backless kitchen stools are great for saving space because their minimal profile allows you to stow them away beneath your counter. These stools will take up little physical and visual space in your kitchen and will allow you to squeeze more seating at your counter, which is great for smaller or busier kitchens. However, they are not as comfortable to sit on because they provide less support. For this reason, they may not be ideal if you have small children (as backless stools can be a hazard) or if you use your kitchen counter as your primary eating space.
Stools with a back provide more comfort and support, which is great if you entertain, lounge, and eat in your kitchen frequently. The wider back and deeper seating provides a more comfortable experience, and the back adds a touch of formality for dining. However, they have a much larger footprint than backless stools and will require more space. Their wide back and tall profile can tend to overwhelm the kitchen island and look cluttered. As a compromise, opt for a low-back chair. These chairs provide additional support while retaining a low profile, and their distinct design adds aesthetic value to your kitchen.
Designed by Jeff Schlarb
Arms vs. Armless
Again, this distinction boils down to style and comfort. Stools with arms will be more comfortable to sit in, which is great if you use your kitchen to lounge, entertain, and dine. However, stools with arms will require more space, which is not ideal for smaller kitchens.
Swivel vs. Stationary
Your kitchen stool can either swivel or stay stationary. A swiveling chair provides added comfort and mobility, and makes getting in and out of the stools easier. Perhaps the biggest advantage to a swivel stool is that it allows you to turn around completely if you have an open floor plan. This will allow you and your guests to sit at the kitchen counter and turn around to socialize with people in the living room or to watch the game on TV. Swivel stools are thus more versatile in their use.
Designed by Jeff Schlarb
4. Choose a chair
After figuring out the basics, it’s finally time to choose a kitchen stool. Kitchen bar stools come in every style, so it will be easy to find one that fits your home’s aesthetic. Moreover, kitchen stools are relatively versatile and easy to style. There is no need to be matchy-matchy with your stools; in fact, counter stools add to your design precisely because of the definition and contrast they provide. However, picking the perfect kitchen stool can be a challenge because of the endless possibilities. Here are a few tips to help you in your search.
Designed by Regan Baker Design
Tip #1: Pick a material.
Perhaps the first place to start is knowing what material you prefer. Kitchen bar stools come in a wide variety of materials, such as wood, metal, and rattan. Consider the durability and look/feel of each material. Wood and rattan add a natural, organic element to a space while metal has more of an industrial feel. While maintenance and cleanup isn’t a huge issue for kitchen seating unless you have young children, many of these materials are nonetheless easy to wipe down or protect with a swappable cushion.
Designed by FH Interiors
Tip #2: Consider your home’s aesthetic.
The best way to pick a kitchen bar stool is to look at the rest of your kitchen space and ask yourself what kind of aesthetic you’re hoping to achieve. Do you want to make a design statement with your stools or do you want minimal, low-profile, discreet seating? Do you want your stools to blend in with the rest of the decor or to provide contrast?
Image Credits: Serena & Lily
Image Credits: The Lily Pad Cottage
Tip #3: Pull colors or materials from your kitchen and repeat them in your stools.
A great idea is to pull colors or materials from the rest of your kitchen and repeat them in your stools. For example, repeat materials like wood in your kitchen with wooden stools, or repeat the same metal finish as your hardware, fixtures, or lighting in your bar stool’s legs, or repeat an accent color in your kitchen. This will create an impactful sense of cohesion and will draw out and highlight those beautiful colors and materials.
Designed by Harper Howie Interiors
Tip #4: Tie the kitchen stools with the dining chairs.
If your dining table is adjacent to your kitchen, a great idea is to have complementing dining chairs and kitchen bar stools. They can be the same style, be from the same collection, or simply feature similar colors, materials, and silhouettes. Again, this will create a stunning sense of cohesion.
Tip #5: Create contrasts.
We love using kitchen bar stools to make a statement and create contrasts. Depending on your kitchen, a matte black, warm brass, or bold colored stool will give you the pop of vibrance and definition that your kitchen needs. Even a wooden stool will create a stunning contrast in a modern, monochromatic kitchen. As long as your stools are the same or similar aesthetic as the rest of your kitchen, they will hardly ever clash with the rest of your design. Kitchen bar stools are the perfect opportunity to go bold.
What’s your favorite kitchen barstool style? Comment below!