This post was published in August of 2012 and updated October 2019.
Finding the right counter stools for your kitchen is challenging because there are so many factors to consider, including height, style and comfort. Below is our quick guide to helping you find the best stools for your kitchen counter, kitchen island, breakfast bar or even your in-home pub.
Choose the right height
- Heights of chair stools are generally 18″ from floor to seat. Pair with a table or counter 28″-30″ in height.
- Heights of counter stools are generally 24″-26″ inches from floor to seat. Pair with a table or counter 36″-39″ in height.
- Heights of bar stools are generally 28″-30″ from floor to seat. Pair with a table or counter 40″-42″ in height.
Determine how many stools you can fit
It’s important to provide enough space between stools for people to eat, drink and socialize without bumping elbows. Especially at a kitchen island which is usually the center hub of a kitchen. Here are the rules of thumb we use:
- If the widest part of your stool is 16″-18″ allow 21″-22″ of space per stool.
- If the widest part of your stool is 19″- 22″ allow 24″ to 25″ of space per stool.
- If you choose stools that swivel and/or have arms, you’ll need to add a bit more space between stools.
Consider the style of stool
Do you want to make a design statement or do you want more discreet seating? Do you want to match or layer materials in your kitchen? And do the stools you really want work in the space you have? Your answers can help you determine the style and height of stool that will ultimately work in your kitchen.
If your stools are in a busy or narrow corridor or you don’t want a tall profile that overwhelms your island, choose backless seating that can easily tuck under and away. But if you love to entertain and want something more lounge-worthy, choose a broad-backed stool with deep seating.
If you’ll use your stools where food is served, consider a low-maintenance material, such as leather, wood or metal. If you choose upholstered stools, choose a microfiber that easily wipes clean. Or, choose cushions that you can swap out.
Whether the style of your kitchen is traditional, rustic or contemporary, you can find a stool that complements your look. There’s no need to be too matchy-matchy. If, for example, your dining room is adjacent to your kitchen, it’s not necessary to match the style of seating. And if you already have a lot of wood, try mixing it up with metal stools. Keep an open mind, and you’ll find just the right look for your kitchen.
Still having trouble? Here’s our handy stool measurement infographic: