How to Choose the Right Stools for Your Kitchen

How to Choose the Right Stools for your kitchen

How to Choose the Right Stools for your kitchen

Finding the right 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 island, breakfast bar or even your in-home pub.

Chair height stool for pulling up to a secretary desk

Choose the right height

Chair (above), bar or counter height? To determine which stool you need, measure the height of your table or counter. Keep in mind you need 9″-13″ between the seat and the counter for seating comfort.

  • Chair stool heights are generally 18″ from floor to seat. Pair with a table or counter 28″-30″ in height.
  • Counter stool heights are generally 24″-26″ inches from floor to seat. Pair with a table or counter 36″-39″ in height.
  • Bar stool heights are generally 28″-30″ from floor to seat. Pair with a table or counter 40″-42″ in height.


How many stools can fit in your kitchen

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. 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 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 look that overwhelms your island, choose backless seating that can easily tuck away. But if you love to entertain and want something more lounge-worthy, choose a broad-backed stool with deep seating.

Allen stools in your kitchen

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.

Right stools for your kitchen

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 infographic:

How to choose the right stool size

Browse our vast selection of bar stools and counter stools for even more ideas, or follow our Kitchens Pinterest Board for inspiration.

How to Decorate Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.



  1. Reply

    Linda Hudson

    May 31, 2017

    Thank you for share this useful information, It has helped me a lot in selecting the best kitchen chairs or really it’s beautiful as well. I have purchased it now to Artefac.

  2. Reply

    Lelia Audino

    May 2, 2017

    HI, i’m trying to find two suitable counter height chairs that will compliment my kitchen. Do i try to match them to my kitchen table chairs or change it up. Also colours??

    • Caroline McDonald

      Caroline McDonald

      May 3, 2017

      Whether to match your stools with your kitchen chairs is a question we get a lot and a tricky one! My vote is to change it up, mostly because it’s so hard to find chairs and stools that match perfectly. If they aren’t exactly the same, try something different but coordinating. It’s hard to make a color suggestion without seeing photos.
      Best of luck!