If you have recently remodeled your kitchen or basement to include a bar or an island, you are probably thinking about what kind of stools are going to be best for your needs. Buying stools that are the right height is important, but there is a difference between a counter-height stool and a bar stool. You’ll notice when you’re shopping that stools will be labeled one way or the other – so it’s good to know which one is right for your needs.
Counter Stools Vs. Bar Stools
A counter stool would be appropriate if your island had an overhang. In this case, the countertop will be about 36 inches.
But, if the height jumps up at the back of the bar or island, it will usually be about 42 inches. That’s when you would need a slightly taller stool – which is what we call a bar stool. Bar stools are typically about six inches higher than a counter stool and are at standing height.
Many bar stools have backs on them as well, and some have arms. They’re a little more comfortable, but you can still push them under the overhang, and they take up less visual space. You can sit on them, spin around, face the pool table, the television – they’re more like chairs, except they are bar height.
Bar stools are generally more substantial as well. You’re not going to be moving them across the floor, and usually, you don’t pull them out either, but the seat usually swivels to accommodate the action in the room.
You’ll need to consider how much space you’ll need for the swivel too, especially if the stools are going to be between the counter and the wall. To be able to get in and out of the stool comfortably, you’ll need between 18 and 24 inches. If you need to walk between the back of the stools and the wall, give yourself three feet.
In this example, the homeowner has counter stools with wood trim. They match the wood flooring and contrasts the painted cabinets.
In this example, the bar stools blended in quite a bit more. It’s dark on dark, and since it was a basement bar kind of look they were going for, they wanted it to be moody.
This home has a farmhouse style with rustic touches. The stools here are in line with that look without being over the top industrial or farmhouse.
Choosing Your Stools
If you’re going to be using the stools for eating, you will definitely want one with a back. That way, you can sit more comfortably and not have to perch.
You’ll have to think about the traffic flow in the area as well. If you have a smaller or more narrow space, you may not want to choose something with a back because it would get in the way. In this case, having a stool that you push completely under the island is more practical.
Counter stools, especially ones with slimmer lines to them, are better for casual hanging out while you’re cooking, doing homework, or eating a quick lunch or breakfast. They are great when your friends come over, you can chat over a glass of wine, and they can hang out while you prep dinner.
Practical Concerns For Your Kitchen Stools
Whatever type of stool you choose for your kitchen or bar, keep in mind you’ll probably have a few spills now and then.
Choose a style that is easy to care for, something you can wipe off, as opposed to fabric seat cushions, for example. Wood, vinyl, or leather are all much better choices.
Popular Finishes For Bar Stools
You can easily match your bar or counter stools to your hardware, fixtures, appliances, accessories, and faucets. Copper and bronze are popular finishes, and they pair very well with a white kitchen, black cabinets, or natural wood.
Darker metal lends an industrial look and feel. Gold accents really make black countertops and cabinets pop. Brushed metal, pewter, and steel can give you spectacular style.
Are You Looking For Ideas? We’ve Got Them!
There are probably as many styles of bar and counter stools as there are selections to be made elsewhere in the kitchen. If you’re getting ready to remodel your kitchen or if you’re looking for the perfect stools to compliment your kitchen design, we’ve got plenty of ideas. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.