It's becoming increasingly popular to have counter bar stools in the kitchen. Not only do bar stools provide practical seating, they come in all kinds of styles that can compliment your decor and reflect your design tastes. Here we outline several factors to consider before buying kitchen counter stools.
One of the most important considerations is how many stools you need. A set of eight might look great in a showroom setting or on a website, but think about the size of your kitchen and how many stools would be most appropriate for the space available. There's little point cramming in so many seats they get under your feet when you're cooking or they block the doorway! Measure the length of your counter and then work out how many stools would sensibly fit. A good rule of thumb is to allow about 28" between the centers of each seat.
You'll also need to check the height of your counter and ensure you choose seats that are a suitable height. It's crucial to allow ample room for people's legs! Typically, for comfort you should have a gap of around 12" from the top of the seat to the underside of the counter. Generally, kitchen counters are around 36" high and counter height stools have seats 24"-26" off the floor.
With regards to the seats themselves, functionality is a prime consideration in a kitchen environment, where they are going to be prone to spills and stains. Solid seats made from wood or metal can be wiped clean, but may not be as comfortable to sit on for long periods as those with padding. If you like to sit in your kitchen to relax or entertain, upholstered seats might be a better option. Faux leather and vinyl are commonly used on kitchen stools as these materials can stand up to lots of use.
The frames are another factor to look at. Of course, your decision will depend on aesthetics and what style will fit best with your kitchen's theme. Take into account what finish would go with your existing decor. For instance, wooden bar stools can look at home in a country kitchen, whereas stainless steel would be more in keeping with a modern urban theme. Think about practicalities too, such as any decorative features and how easy they'd be to keep clean, and how heavy the stools are to lift.
One last point to consider is what type of seat you want. Swivel seats are commonly found on all styles of counter stools. A swivel seat is a useful feature as it makes using the stool easier and means stools can be kept in position. This minimizes the need to drag them over the floor, which is particularly good if you live in an apartment or have hardwood flooring. Backless bar stools are also great in kitchens as they take up less space than ones with backrests and can be pushed under the counter when not in use.
Caroline Smith enjoys interior design and writes for http://www.GetBarStools.com, where you can find a selection of discount counter bar stools, including backless bar stools.