Buying kitchen stools can be more of a challenge than you might imagine. Not only must they be the correct height for your kitchen counter or island, but they also need to match the style and look of your kitchen.

If your kitchen is part of an open-plan living area, it won’t only be the kitchen itself – in other words the dedicated area where you prepare and cook food – that you need to think about, but the rest of the room and furnishings as well. So in this scenario it isn’t only function you need to think about, but style as well.

With this in mind, here are some really useful tips for buying kitchen stools that will be not only useful, but should also lead to choices that will be aesthetically pleasing in your home.

How Kitchen Design Affects the Need for Kitchen Stools

Not all kitchens need, or can even accommodate kitchen stools. Normally it is when a counter or island has been incorporated into the kitchen design, specifically for snacks and meals, that we find the necessity for stools in what is probably the most supremely practical room of our homes.

To work, a counter that one can use with stools, to sit at, needs to have a surface that extends away from any cupboards that may be below it. This is purely because when you sit at a counter, you need space for your legs and feet under the counter. Of course the counter also needs to be at the right height for the stool you are sitting on – and vice versa.

So when you design a new kitchen, you must be sure that if you are going to use any of the counters as a table of sorts, that first of all, the stools are the correct height – neither too high or too low – and secondly, that there is sufficient leg room under the counter. Happily there are quite a few different height stools that are available.

Normally this isn’t a problem with an island unit, whether it’s in the center of the kitchen or simply located as an extension at one side. But when cupboard units are incorporated under the island counter, there will always be a danger that there is not enough leg room.

If you can imagine sitting right next to floor-based units that are only set back a few inches from the edge of the counter above, think of what will happen if you suddenly decide to cross your legs! Quite simply you will begin to kick kitchen cupboard doors; you could hurt yourself and damage the fixtures. But then most walls of cupboards are not intended for a corresponding row of bar-type stools where people are going to sit – let alone eat or drink. So hopefully the design of your kitchen will be such that kitchen stools work where they are intended to work.

For this reason, if you want to use kitchen stools so that you can use counters for eating, or simply so that you can invite family or friends to sit with you while you cook in your kitchen, be sure that the counters tops are both longer and wider than the units below. If there are cupboards, you might (in fact undoubtedly you WILL) need to increase the length and width of counter tops even more. Doing this will ensure that your kitchen will look much better visually and it should be a lot more comfortable for those sitting at the counter.

Stools that are Suitable for use in a Kitchen

While you can certainly use any sort of bar stool in a kitchen, you do need to consider personal function and what your own needs are (though don’t forget the rest of the family who also live in the house). For instance, it might be fine for the local pub to have a whole bunch of stools that don’t have either backs or arms, but padded seats, along with padded backs and arms, will all make the stool a lot more comfortable. The other really important factor is to ensure that the stools look good in the kitchen. In short – look good … feel good.

When you go shopping for kitchen stools you might be overwhelmed to find how much really is available. So before you make a choice for your kitchen, be sure you know what is possible. You will also need to check both prices and availability in your area, but first see what manufacturers produce, because in this world of Internet shopping, you might find that your options are a lot greater than you first imagine.

When you start researching kitchen stools, you will find that they are made out of both wood and metal – and both metal and wood types vary, adding still more choice. On top of that, finishes are wide-ranging for both basic materials. For instance, if backs and/or seats are upholstered, the material used could be anything from genuine leather or vinyl to some sort of textile fabric, or even an acrylic material. Each has its pros and cons, and you are well advised to explore all of these.

Cleaning and maintenance are major issues, and ones that you should always keep at the top of your list of priorities. The kitchen is essentially a practical room where we cook, even though we often use it for eating and sometimes even casual entertaining. But what this means is that any furniture (stools included) in the room is going to have to take a lot of hammering. It will be directly exposed to heat, steam, cooking smells and spillages. In other words it will be considerably more at risk that any other furniture in your home.

So choose your kitchen stools carefully.

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