As we spend more and more time in our kitchens – they are the heart of the home, after all – it's becoming increasingly important to have a comfortable and informal place to sit. Cue the trusty bar stool.
If you’d like some extra-casual seating in the kitchen, then you can’t beat bar stools – they're the perfect spot for a quick gossip over coffee with friends, for kids to munch on their after-school snacks, and to enjoy a cheeky glass of wine after a hard day at the office.
Not only do bar stools offer a more laid-back style of informal dining, but they're also a great space-saver, as they can be tucked under an island or table. If you have a small flat with an open-plan kitchen, for example, then bar stools beside a kitchen workspace or breakfast-bar table can provide alternative seating to a full dining table and chairs. Well, the last thing you want to do is fill a small kitchen with heavy dining room furniture.
More kitchen ideas: Kitchen layouts – everything you need to know
Choosing a stylish design will lift your kitchen scheme to new heights, and there are a number of options to consider. Do you want a backless design or a piece in a striking colour? Upholstered seating adds comfort, but for practicality, opt for a wipe-clean fabric or material.
Always be sure to measure your space and the stool before you invest, as you don't want a stool so tall, you're unable to slide your legs under the counter height. Take a look at our pick of the best bar stools on the market, completing your breakfast bar or kitchen island with the most sophisticated seating.
Best Bar Stools
Why you can trust Ideal Home
1. Garden Trading Bembridge Bar Stool
If you have a country home and want timeless seating, why not opt for this solid teak bar stool with a natural rattan back and seat? Use alongside a breakfast bar, bar table or as an occasional seat when preparing food.
Buy now: Bembridge Bar Stool, £190, Garden Trading
2. Ikea Franklin bar stool
Good old Ikea provides the basics at such affordable prices, making them perfect for renters, first-time buyers and simply those not wanting to spend too much. This simple bar stool with back rest is not only cheap as chips, it's foldable. That makes it ideal for small kitchens because they can be stored and take up less space when not being used.
Buy now: Franklin Bar Stool, £23, Ikea
3. John Lewis Artek rocket bar stool
Add character to your kitchen with this rocket-shaped bar stool, designed by Eero Aarnio for Artek in 1995. This playful bar stool is a modern design classic that will make an eye-catching addition to your kitchen. Mix and match in monochrome shades for a fun, eclectic look. Made in solid oak.
Buy now: Artek Rocket Bar Stool, £214.92, John Lewis
4. Argos Home Ottowa Gas Lift Bar Stool
Looking for a bar stool you can adjust to the perfect counter height? This sleek design has an adjustable seat height, back support and a foot rest to ensure it's suitable and comfortable for all. And with high-gloss white cabinetry still a popular choice for modern kitchens, a white bar stool is a much sought-after buy.
5. Habitat Oregan Oak Bar Stool
The Oregan bar stool is a fresh contemporary take on the traditional thatched chair. Crafted with a hand-woven natural cord seat, this stool will give your home a refined and sophisticated feel. The rustic finish not only looks stylish, the durable soft cord material provides a comfortable seat.
Buy now: Oregan Oak Bar Stool, £130, Habitat
6. Kartell Masters stool
Add an iconic design to your kitchen with the Masters Stool by Kartell. Designed by Philippe Starck with Eugeni Quitlet, this stool has real style credentials – the intertwined design pays homage to three iconic chairs designs. Look closely and you'll see elements of the 'Series 7' by Arne Jacobsen, the 'Tulip Armchair' by Eero Saarinen and the 'Eiffel Chair' by the masterful Charles Eames.
The high back adds extra support, and it's made in a modified polyproplene material that's comfortable to sit in for hours at a time.
7. Duhome metal bar stool
This bar stool is both affordable and stylish – and perfect for a adding a splash of feel-good colour to kitchens. It's also a great way to get the industrial look on a budget. The highly practical design is stackable, and therefore space saving. It's available in Blue, Red, White, Black and Silver – create an eclectic look by mixing up the colours. The shorter height design is ideal for lower breakfast bars.
8. Made Kitson bar stool
Go for a retro feel in your kitchen with this upholstered bar stool with tapered wooden legs. The unusual doughnut-style seat in contrasting black is a real feature, not to mention incredibly comfortable. The seat is plywood with a foam and PU leather cushioning, with rubberwood legs and chrome footrest.
Buy now: Kitson Bar Stool, £79, Made
9. Laura Ashley Milton oak bar stool
This robust yet stylishly designed breakfast bar stool is made from solid oak and oak veneer. It's the perfect adaption of a sophisticated dining chair. The natural cotton seat complements the warm wood tone beautifully whilst providing supreme comfort.
Buy now: Milton Oak Bar Stool, £157.50, Laura Ashley
10. French Connection Roger large bar stool
Introduce industrial style into your home with this contemporary iron and acacia wood design. The beautifully simple bar stool design has a mango wood seat and a contrasting grey zinc-coated metal frame. The seat might be made out of hardwood, but it's sculpted to ensure that you're comfy however long you're sitting at the breakfast bar. Handcrafted in wood and metal.
Looking for kitchen tables? Read: Best kitchen tables
The only problem now is that you might have to hire a chef – with chairs this comfy, you'll want to do more chilling than cooking.
Get the Ideal Home Newsletter
Sign up to our newsletter for style and decor inspiration, house makeovers, project advice and more.
Thea Babington-Stitt is the Assistant Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for nearly 10 years.
She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.
Is the Stanley Tucci GreenPan collection worth the premium price tag? I put the celebrity pan to the test
I've never been so impressed by celebrity-endorsed cookware as the Stanley Pan
By Rebecca Knight
Hot water dispensers vs boiling water taps - which will home your home the best?
We test the waters when it comes to hot water dispensers vs boiling water taps
By Ellen Manning
When to plant hanging baskets - experts reveal the perfect time to add some colour to your outdoor space
Seamlessly connect your home to your garden
By Lauren Bradbury