Bar stools are becoming increasingly common place in kitchen and dining spaces. Apart from being stylish and easy on the eye, they're also a great way of making the most of a small room, as they can be snugly tucked away beneath a breakfast bar or table when not in use. They're also a great way to refine your kitchen's look - classic stainless steel bar stools can help cultivate a modern style scheme, whilst bulky wooden ones go nicely in a retro setting.
Our number one piece of advice: avoid leather seats - particularly in kitchens. They have a unique look but the upkeep and cleaning associated with them doesn't bode well in a room where there is so much potential for spills and stains. They are perfect for poolside bars and cozy open lounges - but they really don't work well in a classic kitchen space.
You automatically open yourself up to more options by opting for modern, metal designs - as they are often retractable, which means you won't need to worry about buying stools specifically made for your bar's height. Wooden ones, by contrast, are more rigid in that respect - which means that you will probably need to buy them as a set instead of mixing and matching (which is half the fun of designing your dream kitchen).
Bar stools with backs are considered more comfortable to relax while sitting, but may not go under the counter top. A good solution is the swivel bar stool as they usually have lower backs and regulation of the height according to the personal needs and the height of the bar.
Speaking of style there is a wide range of models, materials, finishes and designs to choose from, so feel free to mix and match with the interior.
Budget option stools are easy to find these days at stores like Ikea, Matalan and Argos. Slender steel models - which, admittedly, tend to be on the less durable end of things - are usually available as cheap as £10, with sturdier wooden options available at £25 or £30. As above though, don't be afraid to mix and match when it comes to kitting out your kitchen.
If you're prepared to loosen the purse-strings a little, you can also look into custom made bespoke options on websites such as benchmarkfurniture.co.uk and jali.co.uk - companies that hand-craft their pieces to give them a touch of quality and sophistication.
The downside? Bespoke furniture tends to be very pricey - and a single stool may set you back upwards of £300 to £400 (roughly the same it would cost you for a fridge or an oven!). And, with a bar stool, the jump in quality won't be enormous - after all, there is little room for error on such a basic piece of furniture.
But you can get more elaborate designs, and significantly, they'll be tailor made to fit into your room (particularly important if you are trying to make the most of a cramped space). Take a look, by all means, but don't go for something unless it's really the cherry on the kitchen of your dreams.
As a middle point, places like John Lewis, Wayfair and Marks & Spencer are also worth a look. They sell stools for around £50 to £80 a pop for furniture that is often as well made as the bespoke options - even if you won't get the same variety of choice when it comes to design and size specifications.
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