In case you’re wondering what the hardest thing for both clients and designers to make a decision on, counter and bar stools have definitely earned their way to number one. There are so many different variables to consider when selecting the perfect fit for your stool. But don’t you worry, you know that the BANDD has got you covered! We’ve made a list of all the essentials to keep in mind when choosing the right counter or bar stool for your space.
First Things First, Height
Understanding the difference between a counter stool and a bar stool is the first thing that you gotta know. Counter stools are meant for kitchen islands, which are shorter than bars and on average measure at 34-39 inches. While bars most commonly measure at a height of 42 inches.
Stool heights are aimed to leave 9-13 inches of space between the underneath of the counter and the seat, so that there is enough room to move in and out of them. The average counter stool height is 24-28 inches tall, and the average bar stool height is 28-32 inches tall.
Before finding the perfect stool for your space, measure the distance between the underside of your counter to the floor. Check that your measurement fits the standard size of a counter or bar stool, then you’re ready to start shopping!
Form Meets Function
Function is so important when it comes to picking out a counter stool. When browsing for the perfect option, keep in mind how you and your family will be using them. If you have younger kiddos, then go for an armless or swivel option so that they don’t have a problem getting in and out of them on their own.
Don’t try to squeeze as many stools under your island as possible; it comes down to the functionality of the seating rather than the quantity. If your counter stools have arms, be sure to measure about 8-11 inches between each stool so that it isn’t difficult to get in and out of them. This also applies for swivels, so that there is leg room to turn the stool. As for stools without backs or arms, measure a distance of 6-8 inches between each.
Designer Tip: I’m not a huge fan of completely backless stools because I think that the backs give an extra decorative element to a kitchen or bar. If you are looking for a backless option, search for one with a low back so that it still has some visual interest. For example, we chose a low back option for our Small Drive Kitchen Remodel so that it was easy for the clients children to get in and out of while also giving the space some added shape and texture.
Selecting the materials for your stools also ties us back into the functionality of the piece. If you or your family spends a lot of time eating at the kitchen island rather than the dining room, then go with an option that is comfortable with cushions, rather than just metal or wood seating. For bars, you can get away with a less comfortable option if you only use that space when entertaining your guests.
Comfort was priority when choosing the perfect counter stools for our Chloes Bloom project. This client has young kids who spend a lot of time lounging by the kitchen while their parents are in there, so we added bench style counter stools to give it a more comfortable, laid back feel.
Now that you’ve figured out the height, quantity, and function that you’re looking for in your stool, it’s now time for the exciting stuff – choosing the style and color! My biggest piece of advice is to create contrast so that your seating really catches the eye and doesn’t blend in with the rest of the room. For instance, if you have an all white kitchen, go with something that adds color and texture, like a beautiful wood or colored upholstery.