Upgrade Your Kitchen with the Right Bar Stools: Tips for Buying - CHITA LIVING

Upgrade Your Kitchen with the Right Bar Stools: Tips for Buying


Bar stools are integral to any well-designed kitchen as a matchless blend of form and function. They work as a vital functional aspect and a significant aesthetic appeal. This buying guide is born out of a desire to equip you with indispensable knowledge on how to optimally upgrade your kitchen space with these fantastic furniture pieces.

Types of Kitchen Bar Stools

Kitchen bar stools encompass a wide variety and each comes with distinctive attributes:

  • Backless bar stools: These bar stools are perfect if you're aiming for a minimalist kitchen aesthetic. Their lack of backrest allows them to be tucked under the counter directly, thus saving on space. An excellent choice for a busy kitchen where every inch is valuable.
  • Low-back bar stools: For those who prefer a touch of support but still want to maintain sleek lines in their design, low-back bar stools are a perfect option. The supportive backrest favors a leisurely dining experience without imposing on the overall layout too much.
    Kitchen Bar Stools
  • High-back bar stools: Those seeking a traditional dining chair feel will appreciate high-back bar stools. They provide full back support and promote good seating posture. Plus, they often come with additional features like armrests and cushioning for superior comfort.
  • Swivel bar stools: These stools offer a versatile, dynamic seating solution. Whether you're turned towards the counter working on a recipe or facing outwards chatting with family, the swivel functionality offers effortless movement. Ensure your swivel stool has a strong, durable base to handle regular rotation.
Kitchen Bar Stools
  • Adjustable height bar stools: With households comprising different-aged members, a one-size-fits-all approach isn't apt. Adjustable bar stools solve this issue by offering various height positions. This feature enhances inclusivity, letting everyone from children to tall adults enjoy comfy seating.


Bar stools come in diverse materials, each with its unique charm:

  • Wood: Wooden bar stools add an earthy element to your kitchen. They fit well in rustic home decor but can also serve as a warm contrast in modern designs. Wood also often pairs with upholstery as wooden legs, providing a touch of softness to the sturdy material. Solid wood stools are generally more durable than veneers, so go for those if durability is your prime concern.
Kitchen Bar Stools
Blair Wood Industrial Counter Stool
  • Metal: If you're after an industrial vibe, metal bar stools are a great choice. Their bold character can either blend seamlessly with similar elements in your kitchen or act as a striking contrast in a softer setting. Typically easier to clean and maintain, these stools make everyday maintenance simpler.
  • Upholstered: Upholstery not only adds a layer of comfort but also brings an opportunity to introduce pattern and color. Opt for easy-clean, stain-resistant fabrics if your stools will see daily use.
  • Plastic: For those prioritizing convenience and budget, plastic stools serve well. They're lightweight, making them easy to move around. Their resilient nature makes them a practical choice for homes with young children. A wide array of colorful options can add pop accents to your kitchen.

Height and Size

The size of your bar stools should flawlessly mesh with the scale of your kitchen, particularly considering the height of your counters:

  • Proper height for kitchen bar stools: Typically, the optimum height for kitchen bar stools is approximately 10 to 12 inches less than the counter or bar's height. Providing a 9"-12" gap between the countertop and the stool seat ensures comfortable seating that allows enough space for legroom.
  • Measuring for the right size: Always measure the height from the floor to the underside of the countertop before purchasing the stools. This measurement will help you ensure the right fit, keeping in mind that people should be able to cross their legs comfortably under the counter.
  • Counter or Bar Height: Counters usually stand at around 36" off the ground, while bars typically measure 40"-42". Counter-height stools are generally 24"-26" tall, whereas bar-height stools tend to be around 28"-30". Making this distinction can help guide your decision.
  • Space considerations: Another critical factor is the amount of space each stool occupies. A good rule of thumb is that each bar stool should sit 26-30 inches apart. This selection not just offers a comfortable seating area but also guarantees smooth movement within the kitchen without feeling overcrowded.

    Style and Design

    Choosing the right style of stool goes beyond aesthetics-it impacts the overall feel of your kitchen:

    • Contemporary: Known for understated elegance, contemporary designs prioritize clean lines and simplicity. Often in neutral tones, these bar stools can amplify a minimalist appeal in your kitchen space.
    Kitchen Bar Stools
    Nova Swivel Counter Stool
    • Traditional: Traditional stools exude a comfortingly familiar aura with their elegant embellishments and rich finishes. They add a sense of homeliness to the kitchen, emphasizing detail and sophistication.
    • Rustic: Rustic stools are designed with rugged aesthetics and inherent charm. Characterized by weathered wood and vintage designs, they instill an invitingly warm ambiance to any kitchen setting.
    • Industrial: Defined by bold lines and metallic elements, industrial stools evoke warehouse-inspired vibes that often contribute to a powerful visual statement.
    Kitchen Bar Stools
    Shiloh Modern Counter Stool 
    • Modern: Modern stools showcase streamlined designs and neutral colors to project a sleek, ultra-modern feel. They are perfect for creating a sophisticated yet simplistic look.

    Color and Finish

    Ensuring you make appropriate choices concerning color and finish can significantly impact the aesthetic harmony in your kitchen:

    • Neutral colors: These offer ample room for blending with diverse kitchen décor. Neutral-colored stools introduce a sense of unity in various interior styles, enhancing cohesion and offering a quiet backdrop against more vibrant kitchen elements.
    Kitchen Bar Stools
    Nova Swivel Counter Stool in white. Credit@cosmickology
    • Bold colors: If dramatic flair is what you seek, opt for bold-colored stools. These vibrant statements work fabulously when providing contrast or highlighting existing elements in the kitchen.
    • Matte or glossy finish: Decide whether a soft and subtle matte finish suits your kitchen style or if a glossy finish that creates a sleek, reflective effect is more your speed. Both finish types can alter the stool's appearance and dictate its mood and character.

    Comfort and Functionality

    Maintaining comfort and functionality along with aesthetics is crucial in bar stool selection:

    • Ergonomic design: It's essential to choose a stool designed ergonomically-the curvature of the seat should complement your body shape and posture to maximize comfort levels.
    • Footrests: Stools with footrests significantly improve sitting comfort by allowing a natural place to rest your feet and promoting optimal circulation.
    Kitchen Bar Stools
    • Armrests: While not necessary for all, armrests provide additional support and comfort-especially beneficial for seniors or those planning to sit for extended periods.
    • Cushioning: An upholstered or cushioned seat adds a layer of comfort and makes long periods of seating more enjoyable. Choose fabrics and fillings that promise both comfort and durability.
    • Weight capacity: Prioritize safety and long-term use by ensuring your chosen stool accommodates a wide range of weights. This aspect speaks to the stool's overall strength and durability.

    Price and Budget

    Budget considerations are key when planning kitchen upgrades. Here's what to consider:

    • Range of prices for kitchen bar stools: Bar stools can be both a budget-friendly and substantial investment depending on which end of the spectrum you're drawn to. Prices start as low as $50 for simple, basic models that offer functionality without many additional features. Mid-range stools cost between $100 to $500, typically offering a balanced combination of design, comfort, and durability. Premium designer or hand-crafted versions have prices that extend upward of $1,000 with their superior materials, unique designs, and added features such as adjustable height mechanisms, intricate detailing, or high-grade upholstery.
    • Factors that affect price: The pricing of kitchen bar stools is influenced by a number of elements. These include the quality, type, and rarity of materials used (e.g., solid hardwood, high-end metals, top-grade upholstery), construction method (hand-crafted vs. machine-made), brand reputation, design intricacy (e.g., detailed carvings or upholstery patterns), and additional features like swivel ability or height adjustability.
    • How to budget for bar stools: When deciding how much to spend on bar stools, think about them within the context of your overall kitchen improvement plan. It isn't wise to allocate a disproportionate amount of your budget to seating if it means compromising on other aspects like appliances, cabinetry, flooring, or lighting. Try to strike a balance where you can afford quality stools that meet your needs and preferences without stretching beyond your financial comfort zone. Divide your total budget into categories based on priority, and then work out what you can comfortably assign to bar stools. Remember, investing in well-made stools could save you money long term, as they may require replacing less frequently than lower-quality alternatives.
    • In addition, keep an eye out for discounts and sales events at furniture stores such as summer sale (up to $700 off) at CHITA, or online deals that could allow you to purchase higher-priced bar stools at a reduced cost. If possible, consider customizing your own bar stools. Although this might be pricier upfront, it ensures you get exactly what you want, potentially saving money on future replacements. Be sure to factor in delivery or shipping fees into your budget, as these can significantly add to the overall cost.
    Kitchen Bar Stools


      Choosing the right bar stool for your kitchen is about its functional role and how it fits in stylistically. A carefully chosen bar stool not only supports your family's seating needs but contributes significantly to your kitchen's overall ambiance. The range of options available is vast, from backless to high back stools, materials from wood to plastics, and styles from contemporary to boho-chic. Be sure to consider your specific needs and preferences before making your final selection.

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