Your living room may be inviting and your den might be home to a big-screen TV, but inevitably, the kitchen is where guests always end up gathering. That’s why it’s so important to have ample dining chairs available, including the best bar stools. Whether it’s a special occasion or a casual weeknight, you want to be able to accommodate guests and family members alike—and bar stools offer you the opportunity to do exactly that, extending the seating all the way over to your kitchen island. Stools also create an approachable atmosphere (particularly our favorite swivel bar stool options), and they can add to your overall kitchen aesthetic, too. In 2023, our top pick is Pottery Barn’s Hardy Leather Bar Stool, which offers a comfortable feel alongside a timeless design (it’s also available in two sizes).
Another reason to opt for a set of counter stools? These chairs “provide an opportunity to create an eat-in kitchen, especially in homes where space doesn’t allow for a separate table with seating,” says Holly Waterfield, principal interior designer at The Brooklyn Home Company. Interior designer Brittany Hakimfar of Far Studio. chimes in to point out that bar stools can be an accent in your kitchen or simply designate a spot for more informal eating and gathering, and designer Lisa Schwert of Innate Studio adds that “anyone looking to make the most of their space” can benefit from owning bar stools. Ahead, we’re sharing a curated list of the best stools on the market in 2023 so you can outfit and upgrade your own space with confidence.
What’s The Best Height For Kitchen Counter Bar Stools?
It’s important to note that “bar stools” and “counter stools” are actually two different types of chairs, though the names are often used interchangeably. As a general rule, counter stools are lower to the ground than bar stools. “The seat height of a counter stool is typically between 25 to 27 inches,” Schwert says. “This puts you at a comfortable height to sit at a standard kitchen counter—which is usually around 36 inches—without hitting your legs.” Bar stools are taller, with a seat height that’s usually between 29 and 32 inches (to be used at a 42-inch high bar top) or 33 to 36 inches (to be used at a 48-inch bar top), she says. Ultimately, it’s a good idea to measure your countertop carefully before shopping.
What’s The Difference Between A Bar Stool And A Kitchen Stool?
A kitchen stool is simply another name for a counter stool. Again, these stools are shorter than bar stools and often have a seat height that’s between 25 to 27 inches, while bar stools are taller than kitchen stools and tend to run between 29 and 36 inches, depending on the height of your countertop. “When selecting bar stools for your kitchen counter, you will want to ensure there is at least nine inches in clearance for your legs,” Waterfield says. Consider this as well, per Schwert: “There are also table-height stools which have an 18- to 22-inch seat height and work with a standard table height of 28- to 30-inches.”
How Far Should Bar Stools Stick Out From A Counter?
The answer to this question really comes down to personal preference. Some people like to have their bar stools tucked neatly underneath the counter, while others are fine with them taking up a little more floor space. If your kitchen is small, you’ll want to choose stools that can be tucked underneath the counter to avoid hogging precious square footage, Waterfield says; meanwhile, Hakimfar says that you can have stools that stick out up to six inches from the overhang. Remember: if you choose chairs with arms and backs, they might stick out a little farther.