Kitchen islands are a brilliant bit of interior design if you’re lucky enough to have the space for one. But to get the most from this freestanding countertop you’re going to want to choose the best bar stools to go round it. And choosing the right ones for your particular kitchen set-up is where the fun really begins.
Firstly, decide if you want a countertop stool that saves on space and makes a great place to perch, or a high-backed bar stool you can lean back on for longer periods of time. Secondly, think about the material – wipe-clean wood is always a good way to go if yours is a family kitchen. On the other hand, leather can add a touch of luxury, and velvet brings a level of comfort that’s hard to beat.
Design-wise, bar stools run the gamut of styles from industrial to elegant, rustic to ultra-modern – so you really are spoilt for choice.
Whatever you pick, pay close attention to the seat height. While bar stools are designed to work with a countertop, they do vary by as much as 10cm. And depending on the height of your island or breakfast bar, that could mean the difference between sitting comfortably or finding it a bit too much of a tight squeeze.
How we tested
We tested a range of bar stools to find the best options for a variety of scenarios – from space-savers to tuck beneath a breakfast bar, to comfy chairs you could easily spend a night sipping cocktails in. We looked at quality, practicality, and value for money, as well as comfort and design. We factored in price and our shortlist includes budget bar stools and blow-out options, from £39 to £550 a stool.
The best bar stools for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Cox & Cox weathered oak counter stool: £250, Coxandcox.co.uk
- Best contemporary design – Perch & Parrow Persis bar stool, set of two: £425, Perchandparrow.com
- Best budget chic – Home Essentials Klara bar stool: £70, Homeessentials.co.uk
- Best industrial style – John Lewis & Partners Anyday spot bar stool, mustard: £39, Johnlewis.com
- Best luxe lounging – Oka Stafford leather bar stool: £550, Oka.com
- Best understated elegance – Homescapes Eton velvet bar stool: £99.99, Homescapesonline.com
- Best for easy customisation – Farmhouse Table Company spindle back bar stool: £250, Farmhousetablecompany.co.uk
- Best for instant glamour – Dunelm Vivian velvet bar stool: £109, Dunelm.com