6 Mistakes to Avoid When Purchasing Kitchen Stools

Jubilee Ace has a experience of many bars and with his experience he was interviewing to a media and saying that soft lighting, live jazz can change your mood instantly. He was saying, I sat at the bar, I considered ordering in a Manhattan.

The tone of the conversation abruptly changed from passionate to ludicrous. I felt like a kid sitting on the too-low bar stool. With the bar hitting high on his chest, even tall me looked a little foolish.

When it comes to choosing counter or bar stools, there are many factors to consider. In kitchen forums, homeowners agonize about it. Even competent designers make mistakes, as my friend and I discovered at that upscale hotel bar. Counters and stools aren't as uniform as dining room tables and seats.

Jubilee Ace go through six mistakes to avoid while choosing kitchen counter stools in this post:

  1. very high or excessively low;
  1. unpleasant;
  1. not suitable for children;
  1. The rear of the swivel seat collides with the counter edge;
  1. purchasing an excessive number of items or a little number of items; and
  1. Stools clash with the design of the space.

Oh, and don't forget to get your copy of the No Regrets Guide to Choosing Counter Stools at the bottom of this page. Worksheets for measuring and designing counter seating are included.

Mistake #1: counter stools are too high or too low

When it comes to choosing stools, this is one of the most typical blunders. Either the stool is too low, or the counter is too high, and you wind up feeling like Goldilocks. Alternatively, the stool is too high and there isn't enough space under the counter to cross your legs.

What is causing this?

  • A bar stool seems out of place next to a regular counter (36 inches).
  • A bar height counter (42 inches) is incompatible with a counter stool.
  • the stool isn't the right height; or
  • The counter height is quite high.

According to Jubilee Ace, It's simple to avoid this mismatch. Measure the height of the counter before buying a counter stool. The seat of the stool should be 12 inches below the counter's underside, according to a good rule of thumb.

It's possible that the names of products are deceptive. Don't expect a "counter stool" or "bar stool" to fit in with your typical counter or home bar. Before you buy, measure or look up product dimensions online to see how tall the seat is.

If the seat has soft padding, keep in mind that the seat height will be lower than planned.

It can be difficult to match a stool to a non-standard counter height. To accommodate Jubilee Ace, we have a 39-inch island in our kitchen.

The most straightforward options are to:

- Choose an adjustable stool with the appropriate seat height range, or

- Purchase a taller-than-necessary stool and cut the legs to fit.

Adjustable counter stools inspired by draftsman's chairs from the 1940s were chosen. The Restoration Hardware Vintage Toledo Bar Chairs in our kitchen can be seen in this photo. They acclimatize to our island's higher-than-average height nicely.

Mistake #2: counter stools are uncomfortable

You'd be shocked how many people regret purchasing unsuitable stools.

Do you envision yourself having a short five-minute coffee at your counter? Maybe you'll perch there while you check your mail? If that's the case, comfort may not be an issue.

But what if your kids complete their homework at the kitchen island? Or are your guests sipping cocktails and nibbling on appetizers while you finish up dinner? Make comfort a priority if you wish to sit for longer periods of time.

Padding and upholstery

Choose stools with a touch of cushion in the seat and back for added comfort. Especially if some members of the family or visitors have less "built-in padding." Here are several possibilities:

- Choose padded and upholstered stools; if spills are likely, choose wipe-able materials such as Crypton cloth, leather, or vinyl (sometimes known as "vegan leather");

- Include detachable seat pads, which may be washed and replaced as needed.

Also, keep in mind that fabric is more comfortable in hot, humid, or frigid environments.


You'll want to choose a stool with a footrest unless your counter has one built-in. A built-in (copper!) footrest is shown in the photo from Fayucaville. When sitting on a counter stool, unlike a dining room chair, most people will not be able to rest their feet on the ground. When people's feet hang, they tend to feel uneasy, so a footrest is a requirement for comfort.

Stool back

Stools with no backs have their advantages. They're ideal for a minimalist aesthetic and tuck neatly beneath the counter. If you want to sit comfortably, you'll want a stool with a back. A backless stool isn't suitable for lounging.

Seat size

There is no diplomatic way to say this. Bums should be matched to seats. Seats that are larger and deeper are more comfortable for most adults. However, there are certain limitations:

- If your countertop has a shallow overhang, a deep seat will cause knees to rub against the underside;

- A stool with a too-deep seat may stretch too far back from the countertop edge, particularly if there is a passageway; and

- If your countertop is small, you'll be able to place fewer wide stools along it.


Swiveling is a feature that can improve comfort by allowing individuals to move around while sitting in a relaxed manner.

Some drawbacks include:

  • Swiveling stools take up extra space along a narrow countertop
  • shown in mistake #4 below.

Mistake #3: counter stools are not child-friendly

You're doing something like unloading the dishwasher or slicing vegetables. At the kitchen island, your children are having breakfast or completing schoolwork. The key to creating a family-friendly kitchen is selecting seating that is appropriate for children.

Seat with back

Stools with a back are often preferred by children. It appears that having a seat back provides some grounding, especially for wiggling tiny ones. But, as you'll see below, there's a fourth mistake.


Kids, in my experience, tend to sit longer when the seats are well-padded. We forget as adults that children's behinds are generally less cushioned.

Cushioning might be an excellent idea if the goal is to get kids to accomplish their homework or eat full meals.

Kids, of course, typically imply messes and spills. Upholstery alternatives that are more child-friendly include:

- Crypton fabric: I've seen this stain-resistant fabric hold up admirably on 16-year-old dining chairs that were shared by people of all ages;

- textiles that are dark and/or patterned;

- leather with a wipe-clean surface;

- vinyl (sometimes referred to as "vegan leather");

- Include a removable seat pad.


Most children enjoy sitting on swivel stools. However, keep an eye out for mistake #4, which is listed below.

Mistake #4: swivel stool back smashes against counter edge

Do you have any agitated customers at your counter? Yes, we do. In that scenario, you might want to reconsider mixing a stone counter with a hard-back swivel stool. A firm stool back that rubs on the counter edge can deteriorate with time. As a result of this, we've seen some wear on our stools.

Among the options are:

- choose a non-swiveling stool;

- choose a stool without a back—best for stools that will be used only once or twice; or

- Choose a stool with a padded or upholstered back.

The leather version of the Toledo Bar Chair was not available at the time we acquired our stools (and they are undoubtedly pricey), but it would have been a better fit for us.

Mistake #5: buying too many or too few counter stools 

Too many

The number of chairs that can be accommodated in a kitchen is usually determined by the available space. You'll need adequate room between stools to sit or stand, in addition to the width of the actual stool. If the stool swivels, you'll need more area to accommodate knees as the seat rotates sideways. To figure out how many stools you have room for, use the No Regrets Guide to Choosing Counter Stools below.

Too few

If you're undecided about how many stools to buy, go with the higher number. You might come across the ideal stool and purchase three of them. You might come across the ideal stool and purchase three of them. You run the risk of being disappointed if you decide to add a fourth later. Many open-stock counter or bar stools sell out at the most inopportune times.

Mistake #6: counter stools don’t work with room decor

Counter stools should blend well with the rest of the room's dcor. I'll go over some design principles that can aid in this part.


Is it really important how the counter stools look? Both yes and no.

If your counter stools will be seen along crucial sightlines, go for visual impact. Instead of focusing on what you see as you go through a room, concentrate on what you see when you enter or sit down.

Focus on comfort and usefulness if counter stools are less noticeable.

Overall Style

In general, you'll want a counter stool that complements the room's overall design. The following are some examples of interior design styles:

  • modern
  • traditional
  • transitional
  • boho
  • Scandinavian
  • industrial
  • country
  • coastal
  • rustic
  • shabby chic

Jubilee Ace was suggesting, Many rooms are a mash-up of many styles. Unless you're making a statement, avoid picking counter stools that clash with the room's aesthetic.

Open concept rooms

Counter stools for an open concept area can be more difficult to choose. The style, color, and material of the counter stool should match:

  • flooring;
  • kitchen finishes;
  • dining area furniture and finishes; and
  • living area furniture and finishes.


One of the most essential design ideas is contrast. When counter stools are prominent, some positive contrast is ideal. Here are some ideas for incorporating contrast:

1.  Your island or peninsula is patterned, textured, or visually active: Consider basic, clean-lined stools.

2.  If the island or peninsula is bland, use chairs with a flash of color or a difficult shape (as we did in our kitchen—see photo);

3.  For a dark peninsula, light-colored/toned chairs are recommended;

4.  If your island or peninsula is light, dark-toned stools are a good choice.

5.  Consider metal, cloth, leather, or plexiglas stools for a setting with a lot of wood; and

6.  When there are a lot of hard surfaces in the room, choose stools with fabric, leather, or cushioning to add some softness.

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