10 best bar stools

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The Independent Online

Whether you're after a design classics, a pop of colour or a bit of Scandi cool, put the finishing touches to a breakfast bar or kitchen island (or an actual bar, if you're lucky) with our round-up.

1. Hot Mesh Bar Stool: £165, heals.co.uk



This stool by US-based studio Blu Dot updates the traditional steam-bent wood bistro chair. In laser-cut and tubular metal, its lightweight, stacking design is ideal for bringing a cool coffee shop feel to your kitchen. Hot Mesh comes in a range of six bright colours.

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2. Kartell Charles Ghost Bar Stool: from £85.85, nest.co.uk



The Louis Ghost chair is one of design superstar Philippe Starck’s most famous products. The Charles stool is from the same family, and is made from a single block of transparent coloured plastic. In a range of pop colours, this stool would look equally good at a breakfast bar or outdoors on wooden decking.

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3. Nicolle Chair: £225, conranshop.co.uk



Nicolle was first developed in the 1930s as a robust stool for French factories. It became an icon of industrial design, loved for its characterful backrest often described as a “swan neck” with a “whale tail.” It comes in two heights: 90cm which is good for high bars, and 60cm for kitchen counters.

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4. Cappellini Ribbon stool: from £319.60, utilitydesign.co.uk



The base of this elegant stool, by Japanese studio Nendo, is laser cut to mimic a gymnast’s swirling ribbon. The thin metal seat and base are folded together and lacquered in a range of bright primary colours and a foam seat can be attached by magnets.

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5. Kitson Stool: £65, made.com



There’s something a bit retro about this wooden bar stool. Its splayed legs and circular footrest hark back to 1970s when having a bar at home was the height of cool. It’s a simple design is lifted by characterful details, like the doughnut-shaped padded seat.

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6. Orson Bar Stool: £89, swooneditions.com


Swoon Orson.jpg

This industrial-style stool is handmade in India by a family-run business and is a great price for a beautifully designed piece. It has a solid mango wood seat and pale blue lacquered iron frame, but you can also get it with a plain steel frame or a copper-clad seat. All Swoon designs are limited-edition, so you won't find your next door neighbour with them, too.

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7. Hay Copenhague Bar Stool: £186.15, nest.co.uk


Hay Nest.jpg

An understated choice from the Danish furniture design company, this one was originally designed for the University of Copenhagen (hence the name). We love the butterfly-style moulded seat and this hard-wearing lacquered oak finish – though it also comes in pale soaped beech and black or grey stained oak.

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8. Tolix H Bar Stool: £164, madeindesign.co.uk



This 1930s chair has become an industrial design classic (and we don’t use the term lightly, it’s been exhibited in the Vitra Design Museum, MOMA and the Pompidou) and chances are you’ve sat on a knock-off at least once in your life. Get the real thing with this glossy red bar stool version, which is coated in galvanised steel, just as it was when it was first created by Xavier Pauchard.

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9. Mikey: £40, habitat.co.uk



Rattan isn’t just for the garden. Combined with powder-coated metal, it makes a chic indoor option. The seat on this one is made from a long-lasting imitation of the natural palm. It’s more compact than some of the stools with a back rest on the list, making it ideal for smaller breakfast bars. 

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10. Bernhard: £100, ikea.com



Ikea can be relied upon for durable, functional kitchenware. This simple, steel-framed seat is made from hard-wearing leather and has just enough padding not to be uncomfortable. It also comes in yellow if white is a bit too minimal-looking.

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If it's a design classic you're after, the Kartell and the Tolix are both beautiful, timeless investments that aren't eye-wateringly expensive. For a bit of a bargain, we love the soft industrial looks of the Swoon Editions Orson stool; the variations on the legs are a great way to add a pop of colour without going OTT and you can pretty much guarantee no one else will have them.


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