The Basics of Kitchen Stools and Bar Stools

Most kitchens have a need for seating in one form or another.  Kitchen bar stools are a favorite and most useful for the family who eats breakfast at the bar.  Occasionally, we see regular height kitchen stools placed around the kitchen table, but for the most part, those days are gone.  For all practical purposes when we refer to kitchen stools, we are referring to bar stools.

kitchen island with bar stoolsWhile many newer homes have added a breakfast room or a special nook for the kitchen table, usually within view of the kitchen and only a few steps away from the preparation area, many of these homes still incorporate a bar that allows a family member or friend to chat with the cook without being in the way of the cook’s movements.

The height of the kitchen bar stool is the same as the pub chair or stool.  The reason for the added height is that the work surface of the kitchen islands or prep areas is designed for the cook to be standing.

Of note, many kitchen bar stools have backs and are actually chairs, although referred to as a stool.

To date, I have not seen any decor or style for the kitchen that did not have a kitchen stool that would work well in it.

What to Look for When Shopping for Kitchen Stools

The first thing to consider is the height.  Is the seat of the chair or stool one that will easily slide under the bar ledge?  The ideal stool has an adjustable height to accommodate the use and the person using it.  The white stools to the left are adjustable between 22″ and 30″.

The second thing to look for is a foot rest.  While many chairs only have rungs upon which a person will rest his feet, it is important to understand that whether designed as a foot rest or as a brace to support the chair, the person sitting on the stool is going to put his feet somewhere.  This is important because with many wood chairs, the rungs can become worn and scratched.

The base should either be four legs that are slightly wider than the seat or a pedestal base that is wider.  This will help with the balance of the chair and prevent it from tipping over.  The metal base of the chair in the picture (above left) is as large as the seat and weighted to keep the center of gravity near the floor.

If the seat has an upholstered seat (permanent cushion) in most cases, especially in a household with children, the upholstery material should not be porous.  In other words, it should wipe up with a paper towel in case of spills.

If the stool has a back it should be comfortable.  In the case of a wood back, make sure there is sufficient tilt to add a cushion should one be desired.