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Hot Seats! 12 Great Bar Stools for All Kitchen Styles

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With the popularity of lingering in the kitchen, it’s time to step up our game with bar and counter stool styles. Kitchen island seating is definitely a place where you can bend the rules a bit — no style is out of bounds. Comfort is a must, but comfort can be different for everyone. 

Standard seat heights are 24 inches for counter stools and 30 inches for bar stools. Swivels, footrests and backless options are all welcome to the party. And yes, do the leather! Food and beverage spills don’t stand a chance of sticking to leather.  

Bar stools present the perfect opportunity for some personality. These Calvin stools by Arteriors add a contemporary twist to this otherwise traditional kitchen. Notice how the black of the pendants balances the black and white of the bar stools. 

The BaBa bar stool by Design Within Reach is a sculptural choice for this warm and handsome kitchen. I love the wide base, which helps prevent tipping. Seat heights for this style are 26½ inches for counter stools and 29½ inches for bar stools. 

This style is by influential designer Harry Bertoia. Designed in the early ‘50s for Knoll, it was the first of its kind with sculpted steel rods. This modern, textured choice is wonderful for this light-filled kitchen.

 

Another iconic design, by Norman Cherner, this bar stool works in modern and transitional spaces. The swanky back is surprisingly comfortable. 

Notice how the sharp lines of these shiny metal bar stools by Go Home contrast the raw wood of the island. The eye likes contrast, making this a perfect pairing. 

Pick a color — any color, really. Bar stools and counter stools offer a great way to launch a color palette. Lime-green leather stools from Crate & Barrel kick this neutral kitchen up a notch. 

The perfect vintage treasure may be hard to find, but it is worth the effort. These vintage stools are perfect in this midcentury space. Check antiques stores, flea markets and eBay for great vintage finds.

 

A footrest is a nice bonus on bar and counter stools. There are few better ways to encourage lingering in the kitchen than with a comfortable spot for backs and feet. Here the Enzo counter stool mixes steel and warm wood for a winning combination. 

The Dowel counter stool features a swivel and comes in a multitude of colors to delight all of your color whims. Orange or pickle green is a great choice for midcentury modern style. 

If lightweight bar stools are a wish list item for you, look no more. The Delta bar stool from Crate & Barrel is made of feather-light aluminum with an anodized finish, and you can find cushions in several colors. 

This beach house called for something light and unfussy, and these French café bar stools (shown here in burnt oak with custom seat pads) fit the bill.

 

Backless is sexy for bar stools, too. Check out this vintage-inspired Toledo bar stool from Restoration Hardware for instant vintage appeal.

Design an Entertainment Space

The Armstrong Bar Area – Project Manager: Randy WilsonWet Bars and Kitchenettes Have Evolved Well Beyond a Sink and Mini-fridge

A room with a sofa, a few chairs and possibly a television that kept the late 20th century family happy must now include all the latest electronic devices, including a flat-screen or 3-D TV with the latest built-in speakers that re-create the original recorded tones. To complete the package, wet bars, kitchenettes and conversation areas dominate. 

Friends gather to watch sporting events, movies, and catch up on each other’s lives. Often, food and beverages become staples that foster a cohesive atmosphere. The kitchen historically has been the favorite gathering place during food and beverage preparation, but entertainment areas now must assume many of those duties to relieve the hosts from continually traveling to the main kitchen to refresh drinks and bring more snacks to the pantry.

Bars and entertainment spaces will vary in size and scope. Look to your first client interview to gain an in-depth understanding of the home owner’s concept. The initial interview should include a discussion of the the cost factors for all the clients’ desires. It is difficult and embarrassing to miss budget expectations by a large amount because we did not properly conduct the initial interview. We need their investment target and their prioritization of the desired features for the space.

Rarely do wet bars include a cooktop, but many might include a dishwasher, microwave, sink and some type of refrigeration. Planning for each of these items will require knowledge of how the owners intend to use this space, as well as the amount of dishes, glassware and flatware they intend to store there.

When starting the design process, keep in mind the spacing of appliances, countertop area and walkways should mimic a well-designed kitchen. Consider enlarging the landing space for a microwave from the recommended 15-inches wide by 16-inches deep to 24-inches wide times the entire depth of the countertop. This additional surface area will help tremendously when preparing hors d’oeuvres and snacks for a gathering.

When planning for seating and converstation areas, assume audio and video will probably be playing in the background. Traffic from the converstaion area to the bar or other conveniences should not cross paths with the seating for TV viewing. This presupposes the space available is adequate for such a design. 

Lighting is an important consideration and requires the attention of a lighting professional. Providing proper direct and indirect light levels with appropriate switching and dimming is vital to a successful space plan. Many well-designed projects fail because of poor lighting. Nowhere in the home is this more true than in the rooms most often remodeled–kitchens, baths, and entertainment areas. 

Keep in mind the three-legged stool test for excellent design. First, develop an efficient layout–one that accomplishes the “needs” first and as many of the “wants” as the budget permits. Here is where options can help the prospects increase their budget to capture their dream project. Second, be sure the decor is aesthetically pleasing. Third, the lighting should be designed to accentuate, enhance, and provide the moods desired at various times and in various areas of the room. 

Following these guidelines will help to create a well-designed and enjoyable entertainment space.