How To Select The Right Kitchen Counter Stools?

A lot of kitchens include islands that double as bars or breakfast tables. But deciding whether or not you want a kitchen island is not the only difficult part. Once that is done you need to focus on choosing the right kitchen counter stools so that they coordinate well with the décor and design while also being comfortable and functional.

There are several different types of stools that could be used in combination with a kitchen island. Some have a classic or traditional design, with a simple wooden frame and an upholstered seat.

Others are quirky with frames made of baseball bats and customized in all sorts of ways. In these cases, they’re usually handcrafted and made to order which ensures that each piece is unique.

They can be chosen to coordinate with the countertop in which case you need to be really careful when selecting the color and material. It’s possible to have them both custom made as a set.

  • If the counter stands between 35” and 36” high as it’s usually the case, the stools should have a seat height of 24” to 26”. These measurements differ depending on the type and the height of the kitchen counter.

These stools are available in lots of different sizes, styles, shapes, and materials so you need to do your research before going shopping. First of all, it’s important to select the right height for the stools. Measure the height of the counter and calculate the height the stools should have. A bar, for example, is between 40” and 42” high, in which case a seat height of 28” to 30” is required for the bar stools.


  • Make sure you measure everything correctly. You need to measure the height of the counter from the floor to the underside. This will help you determine the proper bar stool height so it’s best to measure twice just to make sure.

If not, usually you risk getting bar stools that are too high for your kitchen counter. For example, although these classic Tolix stools complement this island really well, they seem a bit too high for it. This means you’d be sacrificing comfort.

  • Once you got all the measurements right, you need to decide how many stools you need. Figuring out the number is easy. You need to provide adequate spacing for people to eat, drink or socialize. A distance of around 26”-30” between the centers of the bar stools should be ideal.
  • The design of this kitchen island evenly divides the space between the three Twist swivel stools. Also, the design of the stools allows them to have adjustable height and this pretty much solves both problems we’ve discussed so far.
  • But when the island has an undulating design such as in this case, the irregular shape makes it difficult to evenly distribute the stools and to offer each one the same type of comfort.

Some designs and systems make it more difficult to determine the right distance between them. It’s the case here where this small kitchen island and its two attached stools had to fit into a limited space

Suspended seats such as these ones which come in pairs of two are easier to work with. Because they’re incorporated into the island, they can be put away when not in use to save space.



The last element to take into consideration before purchasing kitchen counter stools is the style. Some designs have seat back, others don’t, some have armrests as opposed to others which are simple plus other distinctions such as between swivel and non-swivel stools, upholstered and non-upholstered models, adjustable and stationery designs, etc.

These stools, for example, have a backrest and a swivel base but they don’t have armrests. Their design offers them a rustic-industrial look which pairs well with the exposed brick.

Traditional bar stool designs usually look something like this, although variations can also be found. It seems that these have leather-upholstered seats which offers an elegant look.