by Staff Writer
You don't sit down on a bar stool; you sit up on a bar stool. And that seems to make all the difference. People sitting on stools seem to be much more lively and talkative. But stools, whether at a bar in your basement or around the center island in your kitchen, still create a casual, relaxed mood. Adding counter stools or bar stools can add a lot of energy to a home. They are well suited for cocktail parties and holiday gatherings when no one wants to establish themselves in one location too long but might want to get off their feet for just a moment. Fortunately, the many styles and colors of stools let you easily find some that are right for you, regardless of your home's decor.
Choose the right height. Getting stools that are the right height is crucial. If the bar stool is too short, your arms won't rest comfortably on the counter. If the stool is too tall, your legs won't fit under the counter. The ideal height of stool seats is 10 to 12 inches shorter than the height of the counter or bar at which they will be used.
Choose the right materials. Bar stools are typically made of wood or metal, but you can find some modern designs that are made of plastic. Wooden bar stools provide a traditional look. Metal stools tend to look more contemporary and sleek. Some metal bar stools are also adjustable in their height, which is a great feature for kids.
Choose whether or not you want your stools to be upholstered. Most people find leather or fabric upholstered stools more comfortable to sit on, but the softer materials used in upholstering a chair tend to be less durable than solid materials.
Choose the right design. Stools have several features that you should consider. Many bar stools swivel, although others are stationary. Stools with backs and arms give a more secure feel and a bit of safety for kids. Most bar stools have four legs that form the base, but some stools have a large center column with a wide base. Footrests can increase comfort if you will be sitting for longer periods of time.