Bar Stool Basics (+ my faves)

Before I get started I thought I would quickly cover some bar stool basics on bar height vs. counter height and how to know when to use what height.  Standard counter height is 36″ which means you will need a bar stool that is approx. 23″-28″ in height.  Standard bar height is 42″ which means you will need a bar stool that is approx. 27″ to 33″ in height.  There are also occasionally taller heights and I’ve covered that as well in my chart here to to illustrate what to use when:Bar Stool height chart

Other measurements to consider when choosing a bar stool are 1). the space between the top of the seat and the underside of your counter top &  2). the space between each stool.  additionally you need to consider whether or not the bar stool you are looking at has arms and if it does, you need to make sure you have enough clearance for that.  You will see below that I’m a rule breaker and didn’t follow the rules in this area (I’ll talk more about that later) but if you don’t want your arms to bump into the side of the counter and/or if you want your bar stools to be able to be pushed all the way under your counter then I would make sure to pay attention to your counter top height vs. the height of the arms before purchasing.  If you have a tight space you are working with it’s best to buy bar stools that will slide all the way under when not in use so they are not sticking out farther than they have to like mine.  I have enough space and I love the arms on mine (favorite feature of my bar stools) so I was cool with it but normally I think it’s best to use a stool with arms only when there is room for the arm under the counter top.

Back to other measurements to consider…there is nothing worse from a visual and/or comfort standpoint to see a bunch of bar stools crammed too tightly together at a bar or counter top so to allow for appropriate amounts of space between stools you should allow 24″ – 32″ from center to center of your stools.  This will not only look better when they are not in use but, it will be most comfortable and functional when they are in use.  In addition to proper spacing between stools, make sure you have enough leg space under your counter (between the top of the seat and the bottom of the counter) and that measurement can range anywhere from 8″ – 12″ which should be enough for most people to feel comfortable.  I have found that most retailers label their stools as bar vs. counter and most give measurements so I would make sure to pay close attention to all of those measurements before you purchase to make sure they will fit your space properly.

So I get a lot of questions on Instagram about my stools like where I purchased them, what finish they are, etc so I thought I would share some resources along with the good, bad, and ugly about my stools.  But first, here they are and you can also see them in my kitchen tour post here!

x back wooden bar stool white kitchen carrara marble grey hardwood floors

I said previously in this post that I would talk about why I broke the rules on my stools so here goes…I saw these bar stools at HomeGoods and absolutely fell in love!  I had seen them at Restoration Hardware and just adored their gracious curves, their driftwood finish, and I knew they would be the prefect juxtaposition in materials to our all white kitchen.  We were in the market for bar stools (with our new build almost complete at this point) and I knew the arms would pose a problem but didn’t care because they were so gorgeous and I decided to bring them to the new house just see if they would work.  Well, they worked (at least in my mind) and I just couldn’t return them even though my hubby was against them because he knew the arms would bump into the side of the bar and ruin the paint over time.  I love this bar stool but just don’t love the version without the arms so these had to stay! Especially since others I was looking at at the time had a higher price tag than HomeGoods.  I have to say that we use them daily and I even sit in them at my kitchen counter to work and the arms are what make them so comfortable for me so I was ok with breaking the rules and you should be too if you find something you love!!  All of that said, they haven’t held up the best and I’ll explain that soon after a few more shots of these gorgeous chairs…

x back wooden bar stool white kitchen carrara marble grey hardwood floors 3

x back wooden bar stool white kitchen grey hardwood floors RH pendants

x back wooden bar stool white kitchen carrara marble RH pendants 2

x back wooden bar stool cain seating white kitchen carrara marble

You may have noticed in the last photo that the cain seating is starting to pull away from the sides of the chair and you would be correct!  And, on the other chair to the right there is a hole that has started to form in the middle of the chair so I’m sad to say it won’t be long before I’ll have to replace them (insert that crying emoji here with tears running down both sides the the face…you know the one;).  Here’s a close up of the damage on one of the stools (boo hoo!)…

cain seating x back wooden bar stool

I’m going to try and get all that I can out of them before I do replace them but once I’m no longer in denial and am forced to replace them I’ve already stalked out all of my options and found this one that I will most likely end up ordering.  It comes in 4 different finishes and 2 heights and you can find it here if you love this stool just as much as I do!  Mine are closest in color to the Limed Gray Oak or the Natural Oak in the link provided.  Hopefully you can see from the photo below that the seat on this one is made out of rattan vs. the cain seating so I wouldn’t expect the seating to do the same as my current bar stools.  I have also had this situation happen with the same chair (from Restoration Hardware) I previously used for a client and RH was gracious enough to replace all of the chairs for the same chair but with a leather seat.  All that said, I don’t think it is the quality of the chair or a reflection of any retailer as much as I just think it’s the nature of the beast with this type of seat if you are going to be using them daily!  I have made the decision not to have them repaired because there is no one locally that has the skills to repair them and I would have to drive 5 hours to take them to someone that can repair them which would include a lot of gas and a hotel room so in my case it will be less expensive unfortunately to just replace them.

Here is my potential replacement and then farther down I have several other options I’m looking at as well…Parisienne+CafC3A9+Bar+Stool+in+Natural+Oak

Get the Look

And just in case I decide to go with an upholstered bar stool or something entirely different next time, I’ve rounded up some other great options that I LOVE.  My roundup includes stools that will go with many different styles of decor as well so there is something for everyone, if you are in the market. I would love to hear your favorite pic in the comments section below for my space and would certainly appreciate your feedback!  You can see the whole kitchen here so that you can get a better idea of the setting they will be in (*affiliate links used in this post).

Favorite Barstool Roundup

1. Adeco Bar StoolConnor Counter Stool | 2.Connor Bar Stool | 3. Hewn Wood Bar Stool | 4. Cedar Bar Stool | 5. Medallion Bar Stool | 6. Xavier Bar & Counter Stools  | 7. Naples Bar Stool | 8. PoliVaz Modern Tolix-Style Arm Counter Stool | 9.Mod Made Chrome Wire Counter Stool | 10. Caspar Bar Stool | 11. Alameda Bar Stool | 12. John Vogel Bar + Counter Stools | 13. Davidson Bar Stool | 14. Willa Swivel Bar Stool | 15. Castagnier Bar Stool | 16. Welles Bar Stool

UPDATE:  Please check HERE to find out which stools I ultimately chose to replace my existing ones:)

I hope you enjoyed this post and that it was helpful if you are in the market for bar stools at the moment.  Can’t wait to hear what your pick might be for my kitchen so don’t forget to leave a comment!  And please don’t forget to sign up to be notified of future posts from the blog.  Thanks for stopping by and please also let me know if you have any questions about this post or about my current bar stools!!


For a full tour of this space please go HERE.

Click to shop accessories & Lighting

Xoxo, Bree

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  1. I love the Parisienne cafe stool you picked as the replacement. I love the contrast of the wood rustic stools in your elegant white kitchen. Not a fan of the industrial stools and they are not overly comfy. I have fabric upholstered nail studded stools. I love them but cover them so my kids don’t spill on them! ? Good luck!!

    1. Terri, thank you so much for commenting!! Your comment is very helpful and I tend to agree! And I cover my breakfast table chairs as well with a towel (or at least my son’s chair) to keep them looking descent so I totally get you on that one! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to give me some feed back!! 🙂

      1. You can have yours re caned. I’ve had several things re caned over the years. Also you can have the cane popped out and an upholstered seat put in in its place. I cannot believe you found those at home goods!! I wish I could find those for myself. Good luck!

        1. Hi Christian! That is a great though except that I live in the middle of no where and would have a 5 hour drive to take them to someone that could recane them which means, it would cost less unfortunately for me to just get new ones. Doing an upholstered seat is certainly an option if it’s cost effective and I may look into that…thanks so much for the great advice and for stopping by!! 😉

      2. I am on my second set of RH Parisienne stools as the first set was replaced, free of charge, when the seats came undone. I am having the same problem again, but am stuck on the color (burnt oak) since it matches my island so perfectly! Putting a seat cushion down on the barstool has helped enormously, but the armless counter stools don’t have cushions available.
        I am desperate for beautifully upholstered stools but don’t want to make the investment with three teen boys in the house! I’ve considered slipcovers but just don’t love the look. I love #2 and #11 and look forward to seeing what you go with. Good luck!

        1. Hi Dawn! Thanks so much for the comment and I just love that burnt oak color…it’s my fav!! And the only reason I’m not going with RH ones is because of the shipping charges to where I live. The shipping is more expensive that the stools, lol! Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting. I really appreciate it!!

  2. Love this post! I’ve been considering stools similar to 3, 5 or 6 for my new kitchen Reno! We are doing dark wood floors, white cabinets (shaker style!) and a blue-grey crackled subway tile. I need to choose table, chairs and barstools! Any tips on coordinating the look? I don’t want them to match but want them to look great together! Would love to see your advice and tips! Thanks for the great post!

    1. Hi Renee! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. It sounds like you have a transitional modern decor going on but without actually seeing the space it is hard for me to say and I would hate to recommend something without more knowledge of what the space actually looks like. I would say to narrow it down to your top 3 items (of each) that you love and then choose from there. I don’t like things to match either but I do believe it’s important 1.) that you love what you ultimately choose) & 2) that the style of your table and chairs blends with your over all style and/or your kitchen in this case. Blending furniture & lighting in situations like this can be tough but what I usually do is pick my favorites and put them in a collage together (like an iPhone app collage or Polyvore or Olioboard) and if it looks good to you that way then it will probably work out. That’s typically what I do for myself and for clients (I always do a design board for my clients to make sure items blend and flow together before I suggest them). If you are interested and/or if you need further help, please look at the e-design services portion of my website to see if this is a service that might work for you. Thanks so much for stopping in and for commenting and I’m so glad to have you following along:))

  3. I think the Parisienne Cafe Stools you picked are perfect. It is a classic design and goes great in your kitchen. They are practical too because they are so easy to clean. However, I do like the Medallion Bar Stool also(#5). They’re a little fancier and seem very comfortable. Unfortunately, they would be a stain magnet for my three kids. Your home is beautiful and I’m really enjoying your blog.

    1. Hi Stacey! I agree with you…that Medallion stool is so stunning but my little boy would destroy them over time. I’m also afraid they would clash with my breakfast table stools so I’ll probably stick to the Parisienne stools from Wayfair or World Market. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping by!!

  4. Wow! So many great choices! I love the Parisienne Cafe Bar Stool. It’s has some of the same beautiful details as your Home Goods stools. I can’t tell what kind of seat it has. Is it a more sturdy material? I also have a huge design crush on the Welles Bar Stool, but for your counter, your selection is the best. Fabulous post and BEAUTIFUL pictures!!! Love the chart by the way!!!! 😉

    1. Hi Jen! Yes, the Wayfair Parisienne stool has a sturdier seat so I will probably go that route when I can no longer hold out on getting new ones. Thanks so much for checking out the post and for commenting on my chart…it was fun to do!! Always appreciate your sweet support, dear friend:))

  5. That’s a bummer about your bar stools! Or maybe not because now you can have fun with something new! 😉 I’m crushing’ on #9!

    1. Hi Shauna! I love #9 too. I saw these in person recently in a transitional modern kitchen and was immediately smitten with them but I’m afraid they will be a little too modern for my space…oh the joys of picking home decor, haha!! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs:)

  6. Those Home Goods chairs are simply gorgeous!!!! Why not replace the cane with a piece of upholstered plywood to fit into the space where the cane is???? I would keep those beautiful chairs! With the right fabric, they would be fixed, functional, and still beautiful. That is my suggestion. They are so unique I would not want to give them up!

    1. Thanks for your input, Monica! I’m debating now on what the best thing to do is. My hubby really wants me to get something without arms (so that the won’t bump into the counter) and my taste is trending more modern these days so we’ll just have to see. It’s been a paralyzing decision but I’ll definitely let you all know when I finally come up with something! Thanks for stopping in and for commenting:) Xo

    1. Hi Kate, thanks for stopping in. I have updated my post that you can find by clicking here - and you can also go to the home resources page of my site and look under the kitchens tab…you will see it there under the accessories category. Thanks again and take care!! Xo

  7. I love everything about your kitchen, I was wondering what size the vintage barn pendants are? Thanks so much,

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