Since the kitchen is the number one choice when homeowners consider a room renovation, let’s take a look at a design element that gets an A-Plus for both form and function. We can all agree that the kitchen draws people.
It’s typically the hub of the home, especially in today’s open floor plan home designs in which the kitchen transitions seamlessly into the family room. Much of life happens in the kitchen, so it’s fitting that bar stools are a go-to, must-have element in thoughtful kitchen design.
Bar stools add both style and practicality to any kitchen which is why in this article we will cover the top 20 FAQs about bar stools. We’ve skinnied down the considerations so that you can hone in on what matters, decide what you like, and buy what works.
Does a kitchen island really need bar stools?
Designers will tell you that a kitchen island does need bar stools. The eye wants to see them and the activity of the kitchen calls for them. Preparing food, eating meals, chatting, and even doing homework all happen at the kitchen island, so seating is a must!
What’s the difference between bar stools and counter stools?
The difference is in their respective heights. Bar stools are taller than counter stools. Typically a breakfast bar or kitchen island is 42 inches tall while the height of a commercial bar is 48 inches.
Where do I even begin?
With today’s endless online resources, I like to start by looking at images found on the internet. Do a quick internet search for bar stools and see what you find. You’ll be astonished by the array of choices.
Do I need to spend a fortune on bar stools?
While the answer to this question is no, you do want to be aware that price often dictates quality. A cheaper chair is likely to have cheaper construction and probably won’t hold up to frequent use. If you invest in bar stools with quality workmanship, you will likely have those stools for years and appreciate how they work for you day after day.
What look do I go for?
Search for a bar stool style that fits with the aesthetic of your kitchen and the design feel of any adjoining rooms. Bar stool styles range from country to classic to mid-century modern. From industrial to French cafe chic. Consider proportion as well as lines.
What materials should I look for when considering purchasing bar stools?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. Consider who will be using your barstools. If children will be, I would say steer clear of cane and rush seating. I learned the hard way that these materials do not hold up to the strains presented by little ones. But if your bar stools will only be used by adults, you may want to consider leather, linen or a beautiful textured upholstery fabric. The array of materials used to create bar stools is wide and includes materials such as wood, metal, acrylic, resin, and wicker.
Is it necessary to custom order my bar stools?
While custom ordering can be a welcome luxury, it is not necessary when it comes to barstools. The materials used in the construction of barstools readily available today run the gamut and can even have a custom look. If you want a custom look, but don’t care to pay the freight for custom, tailor your internet search to include phrases such as ‘upholstered barstool with nailhead detail.’
Do my bar stools need to match?
The experts answer this question with a definitive yes. Be sure to choose the same bar stools versus the mix and match approach because it will contribute to a more unified look in your kitchen area. In a home with an open floor plan, this is even more important.
Do my bar stools need to match my dining table and chairs?
The word match is a strong word. The bar stools don’t need to be the exact style of chair as the chairs surrounding your dining table. However, there should be a connecting detail. Maybe the bar stools and the dining table chairs have a similar silhouette. Maybe they have different designs but are of the same distressed wood. Keep in mind that you don’t want the elements of your home to fight with one another. You want them to compliment each other and hang together visually as a pleasing whole.
Do my bar stools need to have backs?
This is personal preference. Most people would probably choose at least a partial back for a bar stool. It will contribute to lower back support and the overall comfort of the seating. However, if you have space constraints, maybe backless bar stools which can tuck easily are right for your space. If you can, before choosing your bar stool, try sitting in the styles you like. Are they comfortable? This matters!
Do my bar stools need to have arms?
Again, this will depend on your personal preference. Armless bar stools are a bit easier to get into and out of, so you may prefer them. On the other hand, if you work from home on your computer for hours at your kitchen island, you may appreciate having bar stools with arms. Here you are going to want to consider your space. Bar stools with arms take up extra space, so be aware of this if choosing them.
Do my bar stools need to swivel?
Again, you guessed it, the answer to this question will depend on your personal preference. Bar stools that swivel are easier to get into and out of which is an especially important detail when the barstools themselves are heavy, as many are. However, a row of bar stools that swivel require more space between each, so let your space constraints dictate whether or not swivel bar stools are a good option for you.
Do my bar stools need to have a footrest?
For true bar stools, the answer to this question is yes. The higher the stool, the greater the need for a footrest. There’s nothing worse than sitting on a bar stool and coming up empty when your feet fish around for a spot to perch. For counter height stools, you might be able to get by without the footrest.
What color bar stools go with white cabinets?
Yep, this too will depend on your personal preference. Gray, white, beige, and stained wood bar stools are tasteful choices with earthtones which compliment white cabinets. That said, an unexpected pop of color can be a welcome contrast in a white kitchen, and barstools can be the perfect design element for adding that surprise color punch.
How much countertop overhang is needed for bar stools?
12 to 15 inches is the overhang of countertop you’ll need to allow proper knee-room for those sitting in your bar stools.
How much vertical space is needed for bar stools?
The industry standard is to allow 10 to 13 inches from the bottom of the countertop to the top of the bar stool seat.
How much elbow room should I plan for when choosing the number of bar stools?
24 inches is enough but 30 is better if you can swing it. A little extra elbow room is always a good thing.
How many bar stools should I buy for my space?
Let the answer to the prior question steer you in the right direction here. You don’t want to cram too many bar stools into one space. Prioritize proper spacing over the desire to have one more seat.
Is there anything else I need to think of when buying bar stools?
Don’t forget to buy a few packs of those felt chair pads. They will save your wood floor! Change them frequently so you don’t wind up with scratches on your hardwoods.