How to Choose Bar Stools for Your Kitchen

kitchen bar stoolA few of the right kitchen bar stools can turn your kitchen island into a sunny breakfast nook, a place to drink coffee and open the mail, or talk on the phone. But you shouldn’t just go buy any bar stools. 

No, you need to make sure you’re buying bar stools that will fit into the space you have available. You should also consider the style of stools you want to buy – think about how you’ll use them as well as how they’ll fit into your decor. Here’s what you need to know to choose the right bar stools for your kitchen.

Measure Your Bar Area

The most important part of choosing bar stools is getting the size right. Measure your bar area to determine the height and width of the bar. Use this measurement to decide how many and what style of bar stools you want to buy.

How tall is your bar? If it’s 28 to 30 inches high, choose a chair stool that’s 18 inches from floor to seat. If your bar is 36 to 39 inches high, choose a counter stool 24 to 26 inches in height from floor to seat. If your counter is 40 to 42 inches high, choose a traditional bar stool with a height of 28 to 30 inches from floor to seat.

You also need to know how wide your bar area is so you can make sure there’s enough room between the bar stools. A stool that is 16 to 18 inches at its widest point will require 21 to 22 inches of space so that people can get in and out of the stool comfortably, even when there is someone sitting in the next stool. If the widest part of your stool is 19 to 22 inches, leave 24 to 25 inches of space per stool. When you are buying kitchen bar stools, keep in mind that swivel-type stools require even more space, so that the seated person can turn all the way to one side and still have room for his or her knees.

Consider the Style

There are so many styles of kitchen bar stool available; it can be hard to make a choice. You should consider matching kitchen bar stools to the rest of your decor. However, you should also think about the space and how you’ll use the stools going forward. If you can see yourself perching on the stool for a few minutes a day while you drink your coffee, then you have entirely different needs than someone who pictures the kids doing their homework at the kitchen island while one or both parents prepare dinner. 

If you intend to spend a lot of time sitting on your bar stools, you should choose stools that are comfortable for lounging. A broad-backed stool with a thick, soft cushion is more comfortable to hang out on than a plain, backless wooden stool with no cushion. If you plan to have your kids sitting in the stools, consider something with extra padding, since kids are usually pretty bony and that can make hard seats uncomfortable for them. You may want to avoid swivel stools if you have kids, because they’re going to spend more time spinning on them than concentrating on doing homework or eating food.

There are other factors to consider too, such as the space you’re putting them in. If it’s a small one, you probably want streamlined, modern stools or even backless stools that can be tucked away under the counter. On the other hand, maybe you have plenty of room and want your stools to be a statement piece, or an extension of your living room furniture in an open concept home. You can choose stools that match the themes in your main living space, to tie the two entertaining spaces together.

You should also consider how difficult it will be to maintain your new stools. If you’re going to be eating while using the stools, choose an upholstery material that can be easily wiped clean. Leather and vinyl are the most popular choices, but you can also choose easy-clean fabric upholstery

Choosing bar stools for your kitchen can be a complex process. You need to make sure they fit the physical space, but there are so many other factors to consider. With a little care, though, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a set of nice bar stools for your kitchen island or home bar.

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