Once upon a time, kitchens were merely the place people cooked and prepared their daily meals. They were a place of work, not leisure, and they definitely weren't exposed to guests. Fast-forward to today's open-concept living and kitchens are showcased to everyone who walks in the main space.
This transformation of spatial planning has changed the way we experience and utilize our kitchens, especially our kitchen counters. During dinner parties, people gather around the island, which is filled with hors 'doeuvres, cocktails, and conversation. In the morning, the family grabs their seat at the bar, partaking in their breakfast ritual. The space even becomes the home office, with papers and the computer sprawled out among the spacious countertop.
As kitchens become multi-purpose and used more frequently, the aesthetic and functionality of the elements within the space become ever more important. We're talking specifically about the seating. Stools, having used to be afterthought additions to a kitchen, are now oftentimes a centerpiece of the space. Which means they need to be selected as carefully as one would choose an accent chair. If you never imagined you'd have to put so much thought into selecting counter or bar stools, it's ok. We'll set out some easy criteria for you to follow to help you choose your next set of kitchen seating.
If you've purchased a set of stools before, you've probably already researched whether to get counter stools or bar stools, making you think this category is obvious. However, you'd be surprised how many people still place the wrong stools underneath their counters.
In the simplest terms, counter stools (23"-28") are about four to six inches shorter than bar stools (29"-32"). Another way to think of it is to know you need at least 10" of space between the bottom of the countertop and the top of the stool for comfortable seating. If you have too little of space, legs won't be able to fit under the counter and your food or workspace will be too far away from you.
In order for you to choose the right set of stools, you need to think about how much you'll use them and for what. Will they be a seat for you to leisurely enjoy your breakfast with family at the kitchen island? Perhaps they'll allow you to hanker down and utilize your spacious countertops for work (it's always nice being close to coffee and brain food). Or will the stools simply be seats guests can use while enjoying appetizers before the meal is brought to the dining table?
If you don't think you'll use your stools regularly, you can choose stools with or without backs — your options are limitless. But if you plan on frequently using your seats for prolonged periods of time, you should choose stools with backs. Don't worry, you won't sacrifice style or sleekness for functionality. If anything, you just limit the options you have to look at, making it easier to avoid analysis paralysis.
Last, but certainly not least (so cliche, we know), aesthetic is key to creating or maintaining your beautiful space. Because counter and bar stools are front-and-center in open-space concepts, they must be aesthetically pleasing and flow with the overall style of the main space.
Now that you have some criteria of how to choose your bar or counter stools, we trust you'll be able to select a set that enhances your space and fits your lifestyle! And if you ever need help, we're always here for you.