Bar stools can look great in a kitchen, whether at a table, kitchen island or breakfast bar. The right choice of bar stool can enhance your décor as well as providing comfortable and convenient seating. Today it seems we spend a lot of time in our kitchens relaxing, socializing and entertaining, as well as just cooking and eating. Bar stools offer a functional seating solution, in addition to being good-looking. However, buying kitchen counter bar stools isn't as simple as just finding a style that you think would work with your kitchen's theme. You'll need to take into account things like the seat height, the available space, what the stools are made from and how easy they are to clean, as well as design features such as swivel seats.
The seat height is probably the first thing to consider when shopping for new kitchen stools, as you want to make sure you get the right height stools for whatever surface you'll use them at. So, it's vital you measure the distance from the floor to the underside of your countertop or table. The golden rule is to allow sufficient space for people's legs between your seats and countertop, typically 10-13". For example, if your kitchen island measures 35-37" high, you'll need to look for counter height stools, with 24-26" tall seats. If your breakfast bar is 40-42" tall, bar height stools with seat heights of 28-30" are what you need.
Of course, it'd be wonderful to splash out on a set of 10 bar stools to make sure you always have somewhere for visitors to sit. But, before you rush out and place your order, it's essential to plan properly and figure out how many stools would be practical for the size of your kitchen. Bear in mind that you don't want stools getting in your way when you're preparing food, so don't put them in spots such as in front of a doorway or store cupboard. As a guide to calculating how many stools you can comfortably fit into your room, it's recommended you allow 26-30" from the center of each seat to the next. Dividing the length of your countertop or table by 28 will give you an idea of the number of stools that will comfortably fit in the space.
There are several different features available when buying bar stools and to make your decision easier, you'll need to decide which are important to you. For instance, backless bar stools might be a good idea if space is limited or if you'd like to be able to stow them under the counter or table when not in use, to keep your kitchen tidy. Stools with backrests or arms will take up more space. Another common feature is a swivel seat mechanism. The major advantage of a rotating seat is easy access, as it makes it easier to get on and off without dragging the stool over the floor. This has the benefits of saving wear and tear on the floor, reducing noise and keeping the stools in their designated place. Padded seats are another option you'll come across. It's nice to have a slightly cushioned seat for extra comfort, but check what the upholstery is made of to ensure it's durable and suitable for kitchen use.
What your bar stool frames are made from is another consideration. Whether you choose wood or metal frames is influenced by practicalities such as how you plan to use your stools (how heavy they are, how easy they are to care for), as well as aesthetics (what would look best with your kitchen décor).
Metal bar stools made from powder-coated steel are well-suited to kitchen usage, as they are sturdy and durable. Often they come in a choice of custom finishes like antique brass or matte black, so you can select what would work best with your kitchen's style. Shiny and lightweight metals such as chrome, aluminum or stainless steel are another option and can be a good choice in a busy household with modern kitchen décor. Wrought iron frames can be decoratively crafted and make attractive vocal points in a stylish kitchen, but bear in mind that they are heavy to move and intricate details mean more cleaning.
Wood bar stools are perhaps more associated with traditional or country style kitchens, although contemporary styles are available. Solid wood seats are favored for being easy to wipe clean, although often they can be made more comfortable with washable tie-on seat pads. Contoured saddle-style seats are also perfect in a kitchen environment. Wooden stools are available in all kinds of finishes and can really add to the character of your home.
If you opt for stools with upholstered seats, remember that in a kitchen they're going to be susceptible to a lot of wear and tear, especially drink spills and food stains. Look for a material that's easy to clean and durable. Faux leather and vinyl are good choices. If you prefer the softness of fabrics such as microsuede, it's advisable to use a fabric protector to prevent staining.
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