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bar and counter stools

Whilst their name may reference their role in the local watering hole or hotel, bar stools have moved in many directions and are now often used in the home as a more casual seating option.

Usually seen in the kitchen, bar stools can also help make up for a lack of a dining room table or space in a smaller home, unit or apartment. A stool pulled up against the kitchen bench makes for plenty of space for shared bottles of wine, piping hot pizza or a quick meal for one. When the weekend arrives they also make a fantastic place for a casual brunch or decadent afternoon tea. They even create a comforting place to hand out home baked treats to the hoards as they reappear after a morning of sport or socialising.

It can be a bit of a hard task to find the perfect bar stool for your project because there are so many things to consider. Height, material, whether or not they require arms and if they should be upholstered are just a few of the considerations. Then there’s decisions to be made about how well you want your bar stools to match your other dining chairs and how much of a practical role you want them to play in your kitchen.

To help make your bar stool decision a little bit easier for you, we have outlined some of the things you may like to consider before you go looking for your ideal option.
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about bar and counter stools

Height expectations

It is of course important to know the height of your kitchen bench, or the island bench, you are planning to use you bar stools at. This will help you to ensure that your bar stools will tuck nicely against, or under the bench, and also that they will be functional for use by guests. Bar stools are available in a variety heights to suit a range of bench styles.

Legs for days

Design and style-wise too many legs in one room can look crowded and messy. So if your space already has a number of legs in it on sofas, tables, dining chairs and buffets, then consider less “leggy” varieties of bar stool.

Bring all the materials

If it’s likely your bar stools will be often used by guests consuming food and drinks it pays to consider the type of material that will work best for your needs. Wood, metal, leather and plastic will easily wipe clean if spills occur, where as stains may soon ruin your stools if you choose fabric upholstered styles.


The increasing popularity of the industrial look means that metal stools are available in a range of colours and styles and give an on-trend look.


Wood gives a great rustic look and can add lovely warm tones to a white kitchen or dining area.

Wood and metal

The mixture of wood and metal gives a modern look that is popular at the moment and definitely brings the best of both worlds to the kitchen space.


Stools with upholstery or cushioning give a stylish, lavish look and are some of the most comfortable bar stools available. When selecting these varieties make sure to use a fabric protector in the case of spills and stains.

Function or design

Deciding if you are actually going to use your bar stools, or if they are simply to add design appeal and style to your home is important. This may sound silly, but often it’s just the look of the bar stools that appeals to people. This is fine, but make sure you are clear on this, because if your stools are just for style purposes then you can rule out any of the considerations around function.

Swivel it, just a little bit.

Decide if you would like stools that swivel. This is a function that is not just popular with children and teenagers, but can make it easier for guests to move around if you are likely to use your kitchen bench for meal times with more than one or two people.

Be armed with answers

Arms on a stool are a matter personal style preference but are also very much about user comfort. If you plan on using your stools often for entertaining guests, or as your main dining option, then try out some stools with arms and see if you think they make the sit down meal experience more comfortable.

Whether you’re having a party and running low on seating space, if you want to make a kitchen bench your main dining area, or if you simply want a stylish option for more casual dining, bar stools can add both comfort and style to your home and come in a range of styles to suit even the fussiest of seating shoppers.
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