Counter Stools & Bar Stools: How to Choose the Right Style for You

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and we couldn't agree more! If you're looking for the perfect bar stool or counter stool, or to determine the best counter height stools or bar stools for your space, and you're shopping from Canada, read on for some counter stool and bar stools shopping advice 101.

The kitchen is one of our favourite rooms; buzzing with activity from morning to night, especially in and around the kitchen island. It's where everyone gravitates to, chatting over coffee or a glass at wine o'clock the kitchen bar and counter.

Father and daughter cooking together at the kitchen counter
 Father and daughter having fun together cooking at kitchen island counter 

The counter stools or bar stools you select for your bar, counter or kitchen island will likely be used multiple times a day by family members and guests alike! And with this much use, they need to be comfortable, stylish and durable. So how do you make the right choice?

In this blog post we'll take you through shopping for different types of bar and counter stools, share some advice on how to choose the right counter stool or bar stools for you, and offer some tips on styling.

Types of Bar Stools and Counter Stools

There are many types of bar stools and counter stools on the market, but we'll focus on three types here: backless counter stools, counter stools with arms, adjustable counter stools that swivel.

One of the most popular choices for dining in the kitchen setting is counter stools which can replace the need for chairs, and add modern design accents, and beautiful shape and form to accentuate kitchen design.

Top-of-the-line bar stools and counter stools are always a worthwhile investment. With the right care your counter stool and bar stools can last for many years whether you choose upholstered, metal, leather, wood or some other material or modern style.

It is important to know your decor options and what to consider when selecting your counter stool or bar stools type. The choices can seem overwhelming but we'll walk you through some of the key points to consider to help you get started. Don't worry – we’re here to help!

What are Counter Stools and Bar Stools?

Let's start with the basics. Bar and counter stools are types of stool that can be used in place of a chair at the bar, kitchen counter or kitchen island. Counter stools and barstools come in different heights, shapes, finishes, and seat widths and seat width, padding or upholstery are a natural indicator of how comfortable bar stools or counter stool is to sit on over a period of time.

Height is also a key factor. Before you head to the store in Canada or decide you want the convenience of a stool shipped to your home and grab your device and search and shop online for your ideal stool, you should definitely do your furniture measurement homework. Grab a tape measure to see if a counter height stool or a bar height stool is the right match for your dining space.

What Height Should A Counter Stool or Bar Stools Be?

A counter stool design may vary but the seat height of each design is typically within the 24-26 inches high range with one of the most popular counter stool height at 24 inches because it allows people to sit at the counter comfortably without their feet dangling. This is an important measurement for comfortable seating whether its for the kids doing their homework at the counter or for your guests chatting at the counter stool or counter top table.

A bar stool design is taller and typically has a seat height of 30 inches. This is the perfect height for most bar tables in a home bar setting so that people can drink and chat comfortably without having to bend down or reach up high.

Another quick measurement to do is to measure the height of your counter and add anywhere between 5-10 inches for comfortable sitting with your legs under the counter.

There are three types of counter stools: backless or with back, with arms or without, and adjustable with swivel.

Should I Choose Counter Stools with Arms?

Counter stools or bar stools with arms provide comfort and support, especially if you plan on sitting at the counter for an extended period of time. This same advice applies to bar stools. If you'll be sitting at the counter for long periods of time, then counter stools with arms or bar stools with arms are a good choice to consider.

Some counter stool designs have low back support and some are backless stools. It ultimately comes down to personal preference but it's definitely something to keep in mind when making your decision.

Think about all those times family members may sit at the counter. From grabbing a bowl of cereal in the morning, doing homework and eating after school snacks, prepping vegetables for dinner, through to sipping on cocktails with friends as you nibble on appetizers after a busy work week, sitting on stools at the kitchen island is often more practical and fun than using the dining room.

Bar Stools and Counter Stool with Arms

So to sum up stools with arms are great for resting your elbows while you're enjoying a meal or maybe just catching up on work. They offer more comfort and support than backless counter stools, but they do take up more room and may cause problems if space is limited between your counter and the wall.

If you're looking for stools to help you relax, the stools with arms will make your experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

What about Backless Counter Stools?

There are bar stools and counter stools with low backs, high backs, or no backs at all! Low-backs can provide some support and this design style is great for saving space. They are perfect if you want to create an open feel in your kitchen and can easily be pushed snug to the counter when not in use.

A backless counter stool can be just as pleasing to the eye as counter stools with backs.This makes this choice highly practical plus it adds a modern look with clean lines to your kitchen décor.

What are the Benefits of An Adjustable Counter Stool or Bar Stools?

Adjustable counter stools and bar stools are perfect for people who want a versatile option that can be tailored to their specific needs.

An adjustable counter stool allows you to raise and lower the counter stool height. Adjustable counter stools usually have a lever or knob, making it possible to raise and lower the counter stool height. This can be particularly useful if counter stools are used by different members of your family who may vary in height.

Adjustable counter stools also offer great flexibility for a growing child or young adult, providing extra leg space as they grow taller.

Adjustable stools can be used at counter-height surfaces or bar stool height pub tables.

Should I Choose Swivel or Non-Swivel Bar Stools?

The counter stool that swivels is great for small spaces and provides added mobility. It is perfect for getting in and out of tight spaces. This can be a big help, especially if you have young children who need help getting on and off the stool.

Swivel counter stools are also great for entertaining. They make it easy to move around and interact with your guests. They're perfect for game night or when you have friends over for drinks.

Non-swivel counter stools are a bit more traditional and offer a classic look. They're also a good choice if you have a smaller kitchen or if you're looking for a more stationary option.

Now that you know the different types of counter stools, it's time to choose the right one for you! Some people consider the optional swivel feature on a bar stool or counter stool to be really practical. It allows you to easily take a seat on the stool with a back, just by swivelling the stool to face you. You can also move around your kitchen or bar area easier. And with more versatility, some people think that swivel counter stools are the perfect choice for all ages.

What is a Good Counter Stool Design Style?

All stools are available in a variety of styles and finishes, making it easy to find styles but maybe not so easy to make a shortlist selection or final design choice. Bestselling design finishes include retro and leather. Faux leather or naugahyde leather counter stools can be easier to clean up spills on if you have children, pets or messy eaters at home.

The finishes and materials of the stools should complement the room's design style. French country or farmhouse may pair well with boucle upholstery; metal finishes could be the perfect choice to complement an industrial style kitchen or bar design.

Upholstered stools are a timeless, and comfortable choice. A padded seat adds an extra layer of comfort to your counter stool and makes it more enjoyable to sit in for long periods.

As you make your seating and stool shopping list, check for availability. Some designs are custom made for your order so you may want to check if you should expect longer lead times.

How Much Space should there be Between Bar Stools and Walls?

As bar stools come in a variety of shapes and sizes, it’s important to measure the space you have available before making your purchase.

You'll want to make sure that there is enough room for people to comfortably move around between the counter stool or bar stool and any walls or other objects nearby.

Typically, there should be at least 24 inches of space between the counter stool or bar stool and any walls or other decor objects. If there isn’t much space available, you may find that the counter stool or bar stool looks too cramped and is not the optimal in comfortable seating. In this case consider a backless stool that slides under the counter when not in use.

Don't Forget to Check the Stool Seat Depth

Another important bar stool measurement to double check is the width and depth of the seat. Check the stool product description carefully. Different brands make bar stools and counter stools in different seat depths.

With so many bar stools available, it can be tricky to decide which one is right for you. So take your time to think about all the options before jumping in.

Making the Right Counter Stool or Bar Stool Choice

So there you have it, bar stools and counter stool 101! Now that you know all about the different types of counter stools and how to choose the right one for you, it's time to start shopping! But before you do, be sure to measure the height of your counter or island to ensure that you choose the right size stool.

To sum up, remember that counter stool and bar stools can be found in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. And there's even more colour choices than ever available today. Popular choices are brown, grey, white, black, and red. Green counter stools are also a popular choice for this year's dining decor.

It’s important to measure the space you have available before making your purchase and to make sure that there is enough room for people to comfortably move around between the counter stool or bar stool and any walls or other objects nearby.

If your first choice of bar stools or counter stool doesn't work, keep looking. There are so many different styles of bar stools and counter stool available that with perseverance you will find the perfect bar stool for you!

If you're in the mood to shop for the perfect choice for you, start your shopping with our collections of quality craftmanship stools today. We deliver with free shipping to most locations in Canada and are happy to price match guarantee! 

Read on for on our Guide to the Top 10 Bar Stools and Counter Stools in 2022.