Today I had a customer in the store looking at bar stools. Before we could get to the fun stuff like style and color, we had a few “technical” issues to iron out. Issues like what size and how many were going to fit at her kitchen island. It was at this point that I realized I could turn this experience into my next column. So, here’s the lowdown on how to buy the perfect counter or bar stool.
Counter stool vs. bar stool: Most people refer to stools, in general, as bar stools. However, there are technically two types of stools that one can use in their home. Counter stools are used at a counter, bar stools at a bar. So what’s the difference? It’s all in the height. Counter stools are generally 24” to 25” at seat height and are used at a standard kitchen counter that is 36” high. Bars stools are generally 29” to 30” at seat height and are used at a standard bar that is 42” high. For the most comfortable sit, it is best to allow about 12” between the seat and the surface of the counter or bar. This is the same measurement that you will typically find between your chairs and your kitchen or dining table.
How many stools will fit? In a perfect world, you will want to allow at least 26” to 30” between each stool. This measurement is taken from the center of the stool to the center of the adjacent stool. If possible, you will need to allow approximately 13” to 15” from the center of the last stool to the wall or edge of the counter or bar. This will allow people to comfortably eat, drink (and be merry), and get in and out of their seats with ease.
Swivel vs. non-swivel: Both counter and bar stools can be either swivel or non-swivel. Depending on your situation, one may work better for you than the other. Non-swivel stools can be more difficult to get in and out of but you can usually fit more into a space, especially if it is tight. Swivel stools are much easier to get in and out of but you may need to allow a little more space for this.
Here’s a tip: If you are remodeling your kitchen or building new, and you plan to put seating at your counter or bar-please don’t let your contractor or builder talk you into a counter or bar that is not standard in height. Trust me, you will have a difficult time finding a stool to fit comfortably. I have the ability to customize some of our stools, but the choices are very limited and custom height stools can be more expensive.
Now that you’ve got all the technical stuff figured out, you are ready to find the perfect counter or bar stool for your home. Happy Shopping!
Jane is the co-owner of The Wayside Workshop at Aurora Farms Premium Outlets. For more info on The Wayside Workshop, please call 330-562-4800, visit www.WaysideWorkshop.com or facebook.com/WaysideWorkshop.