How Bar Stools Made My Week Disappear (16 Favorites, Plus, What I Finally Ordered!)

When I had my regular Saturday morning phone chat/coffee date with Mama Nan, the first thing she said was “you’ve been kind of off the map!” Yes, yes I have been. I’ve spent the last week crippled by kitchen bar stool indecision (sounds dramatic, right?), scouring the Interwebs for the right fit for our kitchen update. I have been eating, living, and sleeping kitchen stools and I can’t tell you how many times I have gone back to review the same options, trying to consider each in a different way. Each time I would go to write an email, I would find myself off-task pulling up stools. I scrolled them while eating dinner. I even fell asleep studying them on my phone. If you missed last week’s Snack Around the Plate, I shared that I had worn a hole in my current stools (one, actually), after sliding off and on the same corner repeatedly, day after day – this discovery came one month after my current stools were discontinued. I wasn’t too heartbroken since it gave me an excuse another area to add a little more modern update, but working around what we have has been a tough chore. After 15 minutes into my call with my mom yesterday, I pulled the trigger and finally ordered three. If you missed my kitchen plan post, you can see why and what I’m taking on HERE

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Even though we are updating the kitchen, I’m not starting with a blank slate. We are still working around those cream, traditional cabinets and backsplash and the breakfast nook is located just behind the kitchen bar.

Breakfast Room Design Ideas with Wooden Beaded Chandelier



Another major decision was deciding whether or not to level the elevated bar to be flush with the counter. I’ve had a lot of questions on that specifically, and while I typically love the more open look and feel, with our home’s specific layout, I ultimately decided to keep the elevated bar. The bar falls almost in the center of the room, between the great room and kitchen, and the sink would literally be dead center. I like having that hidden and I like having more of a dedicated space for us to do evening work. That being said, I did ask my wonderful countertop fabricators, Atlanta Stone Creations, (who originally asked my preference) if it was a big deal to level it; they said most of the time, it isn’t at all. Speaking of countertops, mine were installed this past week! You. Guys. I can’t stop starting at (and petting) them. If you follow me on Instagram stories, you may have seen it all go down on Tuesday (you can still catch it in my highlights if you missed it), but I’ll be sharing all those details in the full reveal. It will be a little while before I’m ready (I have a painter and carpenter coming for projects this week), but I’ll be sharing a little sneak peek in the next week to my newsletter subscribers. If you aren’t already, you can sign up for my emails at the bottom of this post.

I discovered a few things in my kitchen stool search. Number one- we lucked out in a major way, scoring our previous bar stools at such an affordable price. Seriously. Number two- with counter-height kitchen surfaces being more “in”, it’s more difficult to find bar-height stools. Most all stools I found come in counter-height but fewer are also available in the taller, bar version. Even for my stools that were discontinued- they brought in the counter-height version and phased out the bar version. By the way – if you were previously unable to get my stools with your counter-height island/bar, you can now order them HERE. As a bonus, they are on sale for an additional 30% off this weekend ($119!) with code FURN30. Here’s a reminder of what they look like.

Transitional Lighting for Breakfast Nook and Kitchen with Chandelier and Pendant Lighting



To be honest, I was all over the map in my search. I wanted them to be sturdy and had accepted that as long as they were comfortable for eating and shorter periods of time, they didn’t have to feel like I was lounging on a sofa like my current stools. I was also in a little bit of a state of sticker shock so I tried to confine myself to under a certain amount (including shipping). There are a lot of gorgeous stools out there but for my kitchen specifically, I ruled out stools with brass/chrome legs. And even though I was attracted to a lot of the rattan/natural stools, I thought a lot of the styles that had that honey-esque finish would stick out like a sore thumb against my kitchen and breakfast nook. And even though I was looking for something a little more modern, it would look ridiculous for me to throw some super contemporary stools in. A BIG thank you to my friends Kris of Driven by Decor and Sarah of Life on Virginia Street, who listened, and Facetimed with me countless times as I weighed my options. Below are 16 kitchen stools that were contenders at some point during the past week.

A round up of classic and modern bar and counter stools for a traditional modern and transitional kitchen - perfect for the island or bar area!

1 // 2 // 3 (similar) // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 (similar) // 11 (similar) // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16

Admittedly, the counter stools were immediately ruled out as soon as I realized they didn’t have a bar-height counterpart. Like #1 – gorgeous (but pricey), they wouldn’t have worked at my bar but I also don’t know if I could have pulled off that honey color in my space. Kris said she just wanted someone to have them; I agree haha. #2 was a frontrunner (and comes in multiple colors) but since it was made to order in all colors but black, it wouldn’t arrive for 6-8 weeks. I was already struggling with the price tag so even though I pulled it up in consideration every day this past week, I ultimately ruled it out. I am really digging the thin spindle look though… I thought I’d struck gold when I saw #13 but then realized they only came in counter height. At first, I wasn’t considering backless stools – until I realized I don’t really recline in my current stools. Those were brought into the mix later in the week and I do like the clean look. Tan and cognac leather was also a style I didn’t consider in the beginning but the more I searched, the more convinced I was that it would be the perfect way to warm things up. I am loving that look right now, especially mixed in with a little black contrast and green plants. I just don’t know if I could pull them off with my current kitchen (and ultimately, Kris and Sarah convinced me to keep looking). If I had white cabinets, I would have ordered #7 by Thursday. One stool I continued re-visiting though was #16. When I saw that they were on sale this weekend for 20% off, plus, they ship for free (most don’t), they went to the top of my list. When my mom found them (I hadn’t even mentioned them) and suggested them too, I placed the order. I spent more that what I thought when I started my search but less than what I had accepted by mid-week. Dave is just thrilled there’s a padded seat 😉

Stay tuned to see the stools and ALL the kitchen updates coming soon. Again, email subscribers will be seeing a progress peek in the next week so if you want to see it, be sure to sign up below.

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27 Comments

  1. 8.5.18
    Katie said:

    I love your final decision, I think they will look great in your kitchen. I was trying to guess which one you would pick…. my eye kept going towards 7 and 16.

    • 8.5.18

      Katie, that is too funny! I actually thought 7 was a surprising choice for me but it was a top 3 contender- I was trying to make that one “happen” for much of the week haha. So funny you considered that a potential, too! I am excited to see how they work out xoxo

      • 9.6.20
        Valerie said:

        Can you tell me the name of #16? The link won’t work 😩 it keeps saying whoops and redirecting ! I love these stools!!

  2. 8.5.18
    Robyn said:

    My first instinct, after seeing your barstools/breakfast table photo, was 16!
    I’m glad my pick was confirmed by you. I love your decor style

  3. 8.5.18
    Ellie B said:

    Loved this post! I, too, had just spent weeks agonizing over bar stools for our new home we just moved into. I needed something that came in BOTH bar and counter height as we have both in our kitchen. I also needed something super comfy and sturdy (for the hubs) and preferably had arms (to help keep my little boys in the chairs). It was basically impossible. BUT, then I found these and was obsessed with them from first sight:

    Ordered 5 of them, and I adore them! They don’t come in counter height, but my hubby is going to trim the legs down to make 2 of them fit (#lowbrowhacks). I don’t care though, because they are FABULOUS!

    Congrats on your new pretties—can’t wait to see them in your refreshed kitchen!!

    • 8.5.18

      Ellie, SO glad you found the perfect stools and way to go hubby! You know what’s funny- I kept going back to those exact stools and almost included them in this post. So glad you love them in person; had I known, I would have asked for a pic!

  4. 8.5.18
    Marty Oravetz said:

    Can’t wait to see them in your reveal. They are fabulous.

    • 8.5.18

      Marty, thank you so much! I am excited to get my hands on them in person!

  5. 8.5.18
    Haneen said:

    I’m obsessed with the selection you pulled together! These are all beautiful! And I have been so drawn to the ones you ended up going with! They will look fabulous in your kitchen!

    • 8.5.18

      Haneen, thank you! I can’t tell you how many I came across and thought “those would be perfect for Haneen!” haha

  6. 8.5.18
    Gretchen Thomas (Nan) said:

    Love the group of stools you have shared. I still believe yours stands out among the rest. Here’s to Number 16!

    • 8.5.18

      Nan, here’s to it! PS: You’re further confirming I can’t make a basic decision of any sort without your assistance haha. Wanna reconsider your answer on the bowl?

  7. 8.5.18

    Those are very cool looking barstools!!! I really like #16 a lot, they have a very bohemian vibe to them. I can not wait to see you kitchen all styled up I know it is going to look spectacular.

    • 8.5.18

      Jen, I am pumped! We’ll have to have y’all over to test them out when they get here!

  8. 8.5.18
    Valerie said:

    I have the dining chair version of your new barstool and they are super comfortable! I think you’ll love them.

    • 8.5.18

      Valerie, I am SO glad to hear that! WOO! I don’t know anyone who has them so it makes me feel good that you like them – I’m even more excited now (and Dave will be extra thankful!)

  9. 8.5.18

    They are perfect! I thought maybe you would go with those or the bamboo ones. Can’t wait to see the space come together.

    • 8.5.18

      Lauren, how funny you could pick my pick from the lineup! Love that! I hope I like them as much in person as I do from the pics!

  10. 8.5.18
    Angie said:

    Hi Kelley,

    I, too, have been struggling with replacing my counter stools,. I’ve had swivel stools for over 25 years, but am considering the leather Thomas counter stools from Ethan Allen. It may take some getting used to. I’m curious why swivel stools weren’t in your list? In any event, I love your choice. They will be beautiful.

    • 8.5.18

      Angie, it can be so hard! It actually wasn’t intentional not to include any but my fabricator did ask and said that swivel stools (with backs) can be rough on the countertops if they constantly bang into them. I guess I have just gone so long without swivel, it wasn’t really a consideration/deciding factor. It may take some getting used to but I am totally good not having a swivel 😉 Best of luck in making your final decision!

  11. 8.6.18
    Lisa said:

    LOVE them!!!! Love this post!!!

  12. 8.8.18

    Kelley, I’m so glad your ordered #16! It was my fav, next to #1! Who wouldn’t like #1? Anyhoo, I think the color and the back of #16 are gorgeous! Looking forward to seeing everything come together!! Yay for room makeovers!! Have a great rest of the week! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  13. 6.18.19
    Andre said:

    Hi, great post! I am desperately trying to get number 6 in bar height. West Elm seems to only stock counter height for this product now and it’s just too low. I’m new to the US from the UK; any hints as too where I might be able to source old West Elm collections from?

    Thanks!
    Andre

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