The kitchen is perhaps the most versatile room in the contemporary home. It’s where we cook, dine, entertain and work. Instantly upgrade the look of your kitchen and turn it into a more social, welcoming space by lining chairs along one side of the island, reserving the other side for food prep and serving. We’ve created this guide to help you find the perfect chair to effect a kitchen transformation.
The perfect height
There are three different heights of kitchen island chairs. Counter stools, at 24 to 26 inches, are made to be paired with a standard height counter, which is 36 inches tall. Bar stools are taller, at 30 inches, and are designed to be matched with a bar table or stepped counter of 42 inches. Finally, there are spectator or stadium stools, at 34 to 36 inches in height, which belong with the tallest of counters at a lofty 48 inches. If your kitchen chairs need to accommodate people of widely varying heights, or if moving house may be in your future, an adjustable height model like the Matteo will keep everybody happy.
The perfect materials
When choosing kitchen island chairs or stools, be realistic about the likelihood of them being spilled on. Unless the whole family — and all their guests — have flawless coordination, those chairs are going to attract their share of spilled wine and dropped spaghetti. The easiest solution is to opt for wipe-clean stools, with hard, non-porous surfaces like Kartell’s Charles Ghost Stool in polycarbonate plastic. Leather is another perennially popular choice, as seen on the Colter Bar Stool. However, if you really have your heart set on upholstery, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble by choosing a performance fabric. Crypton, Ultrasuede and Sunbrella are all great options for kitchen chairs, available in a huge range of colors and patterns. Most spills will wipe straight off, while more stubborn messes are easily cleaned by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
The perfect style
One often-overlooked feature of kitchen island chairs is that they offer an opportunity to add a large color accent to the room. Your chairs don’t necessarily have to match everything else in the kitchen, so if you’re feeling bold go ahead and choose a fun or dramatic new color. As far as designs go your options are almost limitless, with creative styles ranging from traditional to industrial. For a great transitional look, consider the Blues Barstool by Costantini, with wooden legs and a choice of fabric or leather upholstery. Take the look of your kitchen in a more modern direction with the Bliss Swivel Bar Stool in your choice of color or the Lewis in white leather.