How To Choose the Right Bar Stools for Your Kitchen Space

How To Choose the Right Bar Stools for Your Kitchen Space

With many modern kitchens favoring breakfast bars and dining counters as the latest trend, bar stools have become far more common for casual dining with friends and family. At the same time, these modern bar stools are often the focal point of your kitchen because it’s some of the few pieces of furniture that aren’t permanently in place. So, to help you choose the right bar stools for your kitchen space, let’s talk about some of the considerations you need to make – such as functionality and design.

Measure the Height

The best place to start is by establishing how tall your stools should be. Not only are too tall or too short stools impractical, if not entirely useless, but they also look disproportionate – drawing attention for all the wrong reasons. To prevent this, you’ll want to measure the counter, bar, or table for reference so that you can choose stools that leave between nine to 12 inches of space between the top of the stool to the bottom of the counter, bar, or table.

Some styles of stools come in a uniform size, such as counter and classic bar stools. Counter stools are typically 24-26 inches high and pair best with counters and surfaces 36 inches off the ground – 36 inches being the standard height for kitchen counters and islands. In comparison, bars are typically 42 inches off the ground, so classic bar stools are typically created to be 30 inches. Most restaurants use this size of bar stool for reference.

Consider How Many You Need

Next, consider how many stools you intend to buy. While you may think you’ll just buy as many as you need after you pick a style you like, you may accidentally overcrowd the counter or make it look too sparse. Thus, you’ll need to consider the size of a stool’s seat or construction to ensure you can get as many stools as you want. Smaller seats may allow you to add an extra stool to a counter or table, but it’s also typically more uncomfortable than larger seated stools.

Choose a Design

Now, the fun part is picking out a design to go with your kitchen. Obviously, you’ll want to stick with a consistent design theme, so ensure you choose a style that you’ll absolutely love. With an array of shapes and styles, let’s first consider the functionality and comfort of specific designs.

There are typically four types of stool designs to choose from: backless, backed, swivel, and upholstered – backless typically being the most basic and upholstered stools resembling dining room chairs. Swivel stools offer the greatest versatility regarding functionality and can often have their height adjusted for convenience.

Upholstered and backed stools will be the most comfortable to sit in – excellent for bars where you know you’ll hang around and socialize for extended periods. Backed chairs are simpler, resembling your typical stool, just with some back support, while upholstered stools feature a more prominent back and fabrics.

Lastly, one of the most essential and best steps for choosing the right bar stools for your kitchen space is to browse the various designs, patterns, and colors to find a style that fits your kitchen and your preferences. Have fun with this part; just be careful not to pick something that clashes with the rest of your kitchen!

Frame Materials

The material of the frame plays a significant role in both the appearance of your stool and its functionality. Swivel stools are almost always made from metal or plastic to allow greater adjustability. Metal frames on any stool also make them look sleeker and more modern. Metal frames are also the most durable, ensuring your stools last a long time as long as you provide some basic maintenance.

Wood is perhaps the most common frame material and offers a more rustic appearance. Depending on the wood used, the stool can add a splash of color or a more reserved neutral tone to fit your kitchen’s design demands.

Lastly, rattan and wicker stools have a classic, timeless appearance reminiscent of summer. These stools are lightweight and very easy to move around, but you must protect them from the weather or other elements that may damage the wicker materials.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Aside from buying stools that are the incorrect height, there are other mistakes and factors you’ll want to watch out for or consider as you move forward. First, estimate how often and how long you expect to sit on the stools you choose. If you will be sitting at an island or dining counter for whole meals or while socializing, you’ll want to emphasize comfort so that the stools don’t become painful to sit on. Padding, backrests, and larger seat sizes are great ways to make stools more comfortable to lounge on.

Most people won’t be able to rest their feet on the ground because the stool is simply too tall. Make sure the stools you buy have a footrest; otherwise, your or your guest’s feet will be dangling awkwardly the entire time.

The last big mistake we want to mention is not being aware of how swivel stools may damage your counters. If you choose swivel stools with a wooden or metal backrest, remember that rambunctious kids or careless adults may accidentally slam it into your counter or bar. Over time, this can do some real harm to both your counter and the stool. If you have kids, you definitely want to avoid backed swivel stools.


While we’ve thrown a lot of information at you, you are now armed with enough knowledge to make a savvy choice when it comes to bar stools for your kitchen. If you do require more assistance, however, fear not. Inmod has experts familiar with the latest trends, and we will be more than happy to help you choose the best bar stools for you.

About Alexandra Dedovitch

Alexandra Dedovitch has a B.A. in Multimedia Communications and English. She is a professional writer, artist and designer. Her passion for writing, travel and design has led her to settle her roots in Arizona, a hub for modern and eclectic style. She is the founder of Folk Heart Creations, a blog dedicated to travel and self-expression through art and design. She has worked for Inmod since 2013, both in-house and freelance.

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