How To Choose Kitchen Stools

It's time to take a seat in your kitchen! Shaynna Blaze shares her top tips about choosing the best stools for your kitchen!

When it comes to choosing stools for a kitchen island bench there are a few key things to consider. For example, do you want them to be a feature of a kitchen; do they need to be child friendly; what material will suit the rest of the kitchen best?

Here are my five things you need to consider.

1) Kids in the kitchen

Anyone with young children will know that when it comes to choosing any furniture for the home child-friendly materials and child safety is paramount.

Sticky fingers mean fabric is a definite no-no, so leather/vinyl, polypropylene, metal or timber are your best bets. A safe option is to choose stools with a heavy base and back rest or partial backrest to keep little bodies snug and still.

2) Feature piece

Plain kitchens, particularly all white or very minimalist designs, can benefit from a few feature pieces. You could pick a bright feature colour or match your stools to the splashback or an element in the nearby dining or living room. Materials like stone, marble and timber (including timber veneer) can add warmth, texture and a natural element to an otherwise plain kitchen, so timber, wicker or rattan stools are one way to achieve this and compliment other natural materials used in the space. You can also mix up a metal or industrial looking base with a timber seat for more interest and contrast. Alternatively, if the kitchen is mostly timber then mix this up with some metal, leather or polypropylene.

3) Practicality

You also need to think about how much time your family will spend sitting on the stools. The kitchen is often the hub of the home with the island being used for food preparation and eating, along with homework, working on a laptop or just sitting around chatting to the cook. If they are going to get a lot of use then you might want to consider something with a footrest and padded seat for extra comfort. Stools with a gas-lift mechanism can also be adjusted to suit people of all sizes and usually come with a swivel mechanism.

4) Size and fit

The size of the stools can make all the difference between fitting three or four into a space. You also need to decide if you want them to fit neatly under the overhang of the island or if you like the look of tall stools with a backrest. Typically you need 20 – 25cm between the height of the seat of the stool and the height of the island bench (which is typically 90cm). If the benchtop is really thick, say over 80mm, then you need to take this into account as well. 

5) Mix and match

Do the kitchen stools need to match the dining chairs if they are in the same space? I get asked this a lot and my answer is a definite no. Stools can very much be a standalone feature and often choosing a very different style of stool to the dining chairs is what can make them really work. For example, if you have a timber table and dining chairs then it’s nice to mix it up with maybe some metal or a bright coloured stool in the kitchen. A popular look is a timber table with white chairs. If this is what you have in a white kitchen then timber stools at the island could balance that mix out nicely. The stark contrast of black and white is a timeless look.

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