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Raising the bar 5 tips for choosing the perfect bar stool

With most contemporary kitchens now featuring an ‘island’, the kitchen counter has become a popular spot for kids to scoff after-school snacks, or where friends can enjoy a wine, making bar stools a must-have item. Read on for five tips to help you choose bar stools that are practical, stylish, and just right for your home.


1. The just-right height

For the most comfortable seat, the optimal bar stool height is around 25cm lower than the bench height. There are really only two bar stool sizes on the market; a 65cm bar stool, which suits a standard kitchen counter of around 90cm, or 75cm bar stools, which work with a counter or leaner height of around 100cm. Typically, this is more the height you would have in a bar or restaurant or in your outdoor entertaining area.

Fiber-bar-stoolFiber Bar Stool 65cm

2. Colour and style

When it comes to colour and style, you’ll need to decide what look you’re trying to achieve. Do you want your bar stools to be a feature, or do you prefer that they blend back into the kitchen to showcase another part of the interior? If you are happy to let the bar stools stand out, don’t be afraid to opt for an interesting shape, unique leg details or a contrasting colour to the rest of your kitchen. If you’d rather that they weren’t too obvious, your best bet is to keep the look minimal and stick with a neutral palette. Timeless shades like black, white, and natural oak are top sellers and good options in an already ‘visually busy’ home. But in the right abode, bold colours can look striking. Muuto Nerd bar stools come in an array of gorgeous hues like pink, dusty green or dark red and add a sense of whimsy to your interior.

Nerd Bar Stool in Tan Rose

Nerd Bar StoolNerd Bar Stool in Green & Oak

3. Back or backless?

Much like the style of bar stool you choose whether you go for backless or with a back comes down to your personal taste in decor as well as the way you intend on using the stools. The aesthetic advantage of backless bar stools is that they deliver a clean, streamlined look and tuck neatly under the bench. However, if the kitchen bench does double duty as a dining table or laptop workspace it may be worth considering a bar stool with a back for more support. A back is also a good option for those with little ones as it means they are less likely to topple off when sitting up at the bench.

Ta bar stoolThe Ta Bar Stool

4. Choosing bar stool materials

Materials matter. If your interior decor errs towards sleek and minimalist, wood bar stools can be a great way to add a little warmth and texture. Likewise, if your dining table and chairs are wood, you might want to tie the look together with wood bar stools. You’ll also want to be sure that your bar stools are fit for use. Are they going to take a beating from boisterous kids, or will they serve as seats for well-behaved adults? If you have little ones, wipe-clean surfaces, and non-chip materials such as polypropylene or steel legs are ideal. Our most popular bar stool, Cadrea by TOOU is a highly versatile choice as its UV rating makes it suitable for indoors and outdoors, and it comes in a range of colours. Polypropylene and fiberglass construction make it light, robust, and easy to clean. There's also the option of an Eco leather seat pad for indoors which has proven to be immensely popular. If everyday wear and tear is less of a concern, you may like oak bar stools, which are elegant and timeless.

Loft Bar Stool, available in a range of colours and an upholstered option

Cadrea bar stoolCadrea Bar Stool

5. How many bar stools?

Bar stool spacing is an important consideration. The average bar stool seat width is 40cm, or 50cm seat width if it has arms and for easy access in and out, they should be spaced roughly 15cm apart from each other at the counter. For maximum comfortable space, we suggest spacing two or three bar stools to one side of a six-foot (180cm) kitchen counter. If needed, you could squeeze four bar stools in this space, but be sure to choose narrow armless stools.

Fiber counter stool grey
Fiber Counter Stool with wood base

Call us on (09) 302 2651 to arrange free expert advice in-store.  Or simply schedule an appointment with one of our in-store furniture design consultants, we'd love to help.

 For more inspiration and ideas on mastering the art of hometime, follow us on Instagram, visit our website or peruse a 360 of our showroom