The perfect place to perch when having a coffee or a place for the kids to do their homework while the cook’s busy, islands and peninsulas are creating a leading role for themselves in our kitchens. But while the island is the star, it’s the supporting cast – bar stools – that are the key to getting this kitchen story just right.
With so many different styles around – wood or steel, high-backed or low, fabric or leather – it can be tricky finding ones that not only look great but are fit for your purpose.
It’s wise first to think about how the stools will be used and how many you want. If you’re just going to perch for a quick coffee or for breakfast in the morning, you’ll probably need a different kind of seat base than if you intend the island to act as a place for kids to regularly sit and do their homework.
First and foremost, it has to be comfortable, however long you’re going to be sitting on it. This is when actually getting out into stores to try a few out will be of benefit. Take the whole family too, as the smallest members are bound to have different needs to the biggest.
So, test the seat. Is it comfy? Check the leg rests. Are they too low or too high or are they the perfect ‘Goldilocks’ size – just right? Take with you the height of your island to ensure you’re not buying stools that will not allow even the skinniest person to get their legs underneath the overhang with ease. Height-adjustable stools can be a good buy if you have a growing family, as the height can be altered but gas-lift stools aren’t always the most attractive option for a traditional scheme.
Finally, don’t buy too many. While you might think it’s a good idea at the time, crowding a peninsula or island with bar stools, particularly in a space where there’s also a dining table, can end up making it look a bit like a cafeteria with an over abundance of chair legs on view.
Designed in conjunction with Sarah Kay, our Smile Stool comes in two heights (670mm and 760mm) to suit both counters and bars and is hand-crafted in ash using traditional carpentry techniques. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a bespoke, handcrafted kitchen.