How to Choose the Perfect Barstools

two barstools in a clean, stylish kitchen

With so many options on the market, it can be tough to narrow down your choices when it comes to selecting the perfect barstool. Whether you’re looking to put them in your kitchen or living space, you’ll want something that perfectly suits your needs. Although it may be somewhat of an intimidating task, if you follow the below tips, you’ll soon find your perfect barstool to suit your lifestyle and needs.

Step 1 - Set Your Budget

Bar stools range widely in price points—going for as low as $25 and getting as pricey as over $200 each—so it’s important to start by setting your budget per barstool. Consider what is reasonable for you to spend and set an absolute max and stick to it.

Step 2 - Consider the Materials

Next, think through what materials you want your barstools to be made out of. You’ll want something that both makes sense for the space that your stools are inhabiting and also fit your tastes. For instance, if you’re going to be sticking your new barstools in the kitchen, consider how easy they’ll be to clean. Especially if you have kids that will be eating on the barstools, you’ll want something that won’t easily stain—meaning they aren’t covered in fabric—and that can be easily wiped clean.

a single, modern stool with angular design

If you have your heart set on barstools that are largely fabric-based for your kitchen, consider those that are made for indoor and outdoor use. Those are usually made of fabric that can be wiped clean with water. Also consider buying barstools in a dark color or pattern to more easily hide food and drink stains over the years. Barstools that incorporate wicker or woven materials are also tough to keep clean and maintain, generally showing wear more easily.

In general, wood or metal barstools will be the easiest to clean. Wooden stools that have a more rustic or distressed look to them will show wear less over time. Another option as far as materials go that’s easy to maintain is leather or faux leather. This material can be wiped down and easily kept clean and is pretty durable, making it a popular choice. It also appeals to a range of aesthetic preferences.

In thinking through the materials, also consider the durability. You’ll want something that’s built to last! Also, barstools will likely be pushed in and out many times a day, so if you’re going with stools that are painted, ensure that they have a solid finish so that they won’t be easy to chip.

Step 3 - Determine the Optimal Height

Determining the height of the barstools you’re going to invest in is a very important step of the process. Most stools come in two general sizes: counter height and bar height. Counter height stools are made for countertops that are the “standard” size of 36 inches. Bar height are designed to accommodate a higher bar area, raised typically to about 42 inches. To determine what height stools is best for you, measure how high your counters go and choose accordingly. You want to ensure there is the appropriate room for people to sit on your stools comfortably and not be too close or too far away from the counter.

two backless bar stools in a kitchen near other chairs

Step 4 - Decide on the Back

Barstools are available with and without backs. You’ll need to decipher which style is better suited to your tastes and needs. First, you may have a strong feeling on this from the point of view of what aesthetic you prefer. If not, you will want to next consider who will be using these stools. If you have young kids that will frequently be sitting on these stools, a backless option may be risky. If you plan to use your barstools a lot for eating meals or working on them for long periods of time, those with backs will be more comfortable.

However, if you’re going for something to sit on more casually, backless stools could be a great option. These are also a reliable choice if you’re short on space, as you can usually find stools that are smaller in width that don’t have a back. These can also save on space as when they’re not in use, they can be pushed far under a counter overhang and be practically invisible. This leaves more walking space if you have a more narrow kitchen.

Once you’ve answered all these questions, you’ll be ready to select your perfect barstool to meet this criteria. Choosing the right barstool is just the beginning of picking the perfect furniture for your house. Explore some more interior design advice to get inspired for your next project!