Counter Chairs & Bar Stools Buying Guide

Comfort, style and the perfect height, explore our chairs and stools buying guide for complete peace of mind when choosing counter chairs and bar stools that will fit effortlessly into your living space When it comes to selecting the right counter chair or bar stool for your kitchen island, counter or breakfast bar, our style team at nkuku have all the advice you need to help you make the best decision for your living space.

When it comes to choosing the perfect chair or stool for your space, we have some tips to bear in mind that will make the whole process easier. Our collection of unique furniture combines natural materials and hand-crafted finishes with timeless style that means no matter which piece you settle on, it has been created with comfort and practicality in mind.

There are a few things to remember when choosing between a bar stool or counter chair. The likelihood is, that if you’re making this choice you have either a kitchen island or a breakfast bar and while they both share similar requirements and can often be interchangeable in aesthetics and design, there are a few differences that might crop up when choosing between pieces. Before drill down into the final details of materials, styles and finishes, the first thing to do is to think about your physical space, and that means you’ll need a tape measure to hand.

Sizing up your space... Simple dimensions to find out if a bar stool or counter chair will work for you.

Let’s begin with the most basic requirement that can often be the most confusing - measuring up. It’s not just the height of the seat itself that you have to take into account, but the width and depth are also essential to bear in mind when making your selection. If you are measuring an existing space then you will want the seating height to be around 15-25cm lower than your counter top or bar. This is to give you plenty of leg-room to sit in comfort.

A really simple point to consider is that if you are using your area for eating you will want your bar stool or counter chair to be lower to the ground and offer more leg room than if you just want your seat to be an occasional perch that guests use to join you for a drink or conversation.

The average height for a kitchen island in the UK is around 90cm, so we design our bar stools and counter chairs to sit at around 65 - 75cm from the ground which gives plenty of room for leg clearance while putting you at the right height for sitting in comfort, allowing for eating and drinking with ease. A lower seat is better for dining and a slightly higher one feels good for occasional perching and a drink, but it really does depend on personal preference – our bar stool and counter chair collection is designed to suit all styles and needs.

By following our simple rules, you’ll avoid feeling crammed into a cramped space. We always design our pieces so that whoever is seated at one of our bar stools or counter chairs feels comfortably relaxed at the perfect height, rather than perched precariously high off the floor. And we always test out our stools and chairs on humans of all heights to make sure they work for everyone. Our seat heights also means that each piece can slide easily under the counter or bar to create extra space when not in use. Most kitchen islands have an overhang of at least 15-30cm to allow for neat storage, but do check your individual specifications and bear that in mind when looking at the depth of each bar stool and counter chair.

Similarly, the width of each piece is important when selecting which bar stool or counter chair to fit your space. If you only need one then make sure it fits the space with ease, but if you require multiple pieces then it’s crucial to allow ample space on either side. A rule of thumb is 30cm to both the left and right, so that, on average, works out at one seat for every 100cm. Of course, you may feel you need to fit more seats into the space you have to meet your requirements, but the spacing that we’ve suggested below would be our preference to ensure everyone has plenty of room.

Counter length: 100cm

Max no. of seats: 1

Counter length: 150 - 200cm

Max no. of seats: 2

Counter length: 250 - 300cm

Max no. of seats: 3

Counter length: 350 - 400cm

Max no. of seats: 4

Counter length: 450 - 500cm

Max no. of seats: 5

If you are looking at counter chairs, the final dimension to bear in mind is the height of the overall piece and whether the height of the back support will work with your living space. We provide all dimensions in the product description section on our individual product pages, and if in doubt you can call our customer support team who will be more than happy to advise you and talk you through the various options.

Is a counter chair or bar stool the right choice for you?

A counter chair is perfect if you’re using your kitchen island or breakfast bar for regular dining as it’s designed to be the ideal height for comfortable eating. A back support gives an extra level of comfort and helps you feel perfectly at ease for a truly relaxed dining option.

Our wide selection of stools also allow for an array of seating choices so if you prefer the aesthetics of a stool over a chair, then we have some very comfortable, generously-sized seat options that will offer all the comfort and balance of a chair without the back support.

One thing to bear in mind, if you like to rest your feet when sitting at a countertop or bar, then do look out for a footrest. Some are substantial and provide plenty of space while others have a more discreet cross bar design. It really depends on what you prefer. We also offer bar stools that have a smaller seat dimension as these are ideal for smaller spaces and can be tucked away easily when not in use.

Location: where will you be placing your bar stool or counter chair?

Next up, location. An important consideration is where your bar stool or counter chair is actually going to live. Will it be a piece that gets a lot of daily love or will it be one that gets occasional attention when you have guests? While you may be drawn to a pale upholstered look, if it needs to perform in a practical family kitchen, do think carefully about the materials you are choosing. Thankfully, our range of bar stools and counter chairs come in a wide range of finishes and styles – from wood to metal and naturally dyed leather – that should suit all your needs from beautifully busy kitchens to calm uncluttered scenes.

A kitchen island or counter will likely see a lot of daily use from all family members so you’ll want something robust and reliable as well as beautifully timeless. If your kitchen island is your only source of dining area, then you may want to consider counter chairs that offer a little more support.

If, on the other hand, your island is only used occasionally when you need to make extra space for additional guests, then you may want more slimline, discreet bar stools and counter chairs.

A home bar is more of an occasional area but also more of a statement – you may want a stool or counter chair with real standout – an unusual finish, a striking style, something a little out of the ordinary with a noticeably hand-crafted appearance. Wherever the stool or chair is destined to be, our collection has a wide array of artisan-made pieces forged from materials that are durable, unique and sustainable, so take your time to look through the full range and discover the design that fits the needs of your living space.

Discover the perfect pieces for making the most of smaller spaces...

If you’re looking for a bar stool or counter chair to fit into a small space, then it’s even more crucial to pay attention to the dimensions in our product description section. Look carefully at the depth and width of each piece to see what will fit best. And measure, measure, and measure your space again to be sure it’ll fit, taking skirting boards and any other immoveable features into consideration.

If you’re still drawn to counter chairs despite the space constraints, then we advise opting for the lower-backed designs that give a clearer eye line and thereby create a more spacious feel.

The materials you choose and the overall form are crucial to making the right choice for a small space so look for finishes that blend into your surroundings and designs that have a clean, simple aesthetic rather than more solid or industrial styles. Also, if you need to move the piece around to make room then think about the weight of the design too, some of our cast iron pieces can be weighty, whereas acacia and mango wood are light and easy to manouevre.

How to ensure your chosen bar stool or counter chair fits with your living style...

Your personal style is key to making the right choice when it comes to a bar stool or counter chair that fits the style of your living space. With so many beautifully hand-crafted pieces to choose from, it’s easy to get swept away and forget about the reality of what the piece has to fit around when it arrives into your home. But be realistic and really picture your favoured piece in its final location and be honest with yourself. If it’s a piece you absolutely love, yet will stand out from the rest of your scheme that can be an wonderful way to make a statement. Just make the decision with both eyes wide open. And get a second opinion if needed – an honest friend can be a helpful sounding board.

Thinking carefully about the finishes and furnishings that you already have is the key to a successful bar stool and counter chair selection. Do you have a contemporary, uncluttered look in your home? Is the existing furniture minimalist, sleek and designed around clean lines and simple silhouettes? Or is your style more eclectic, embracing a wide variety of materials, shapes, colours and textures? A daring option would be to choose a mix of bar stools or counter chairs (we wouldn’t suggest mixing stools and chairs, although even that could work if you have the right space!). The only caveat being to check they are all at the same seat height.

At Nkuku we design each of our pieces to work in all kinds of wonderfully individual homes. Whatever the style of your interior space, our wide and varied collection will have a piece that fits perfectly into your carefully curated home. You may want this piece to add stand out or you may want it to blend right in. Only you know what’s needed. From natural carved wood, simple rattan and elegant woven seats to hand-forged metals and naturally dyed leather, we’ve got the perfect perching places to make you and your guests feel instantly at home.

Crafted to Last

The beauty of our artisan-made bar stools and counter chairs is that they have an effortless style that never dates. That’s because we never design with trends in mind. We update and add to our collections seasonally, but we don’t respond to fashions or fads - we just focus on sustainable materials, and beautiful form. We pride ourselves on creating pieces that are fresh and relevant to our 21st-Century lifestyles, yet are always utterly timeless. A Nkuku piece is always built to last both practically and aesthetically and should be seen as items that can be passed down for decades to come.

Try before you buy and return with ease...

If you’re still undecided and want to work out what works for your living space before you commit, then we recommend you find a Nkuku retailer and visit for a test sit. There are suppliers UK wide, but if you happen to be in South Devon then we’d love to see you at our Nkuku Lifestyle store and café. You can try all the latest pieces and also see a selection of bar stools and counter chairs in action at our café setting, as well as sampling something delicious from our ever-changing menu. We also have a simple returns policy so even if you were to order something that didn’t quite fit in your setting you can return or exchange it within 28 days for something different that is better suited for your space.

And now the fun part, making your choice...

Now that you’re armed with all the facts and figures, choosing which style to go for should be easy and enjoyable. This part is all about your personal preference. When you’ve taken sizing, space and style into consideration, there really isn’t a right or wrong option. The only thing to bear in mind is: how often will the bar stool or counter chair be used and who will be using it? This might affect some decisions like the materials you go for, but apart from that it’s just about what will look great in your living space. All our bar stool and counter chairs are artisan-made from sustainable materials that have been sourced and crafted with care. From acacia wood and mango wood frames with woven seats from fast-growing fibres, to cast iron and leather that have been naturally dyed, all our furniture is designed for beauty and durability.

If you have a clean kitchen aesthetic then you could choose to continue the look with pale natural wooden bar stools or you could draw the eye with a robust hand-forged cast iron frame and a natural leather seat. Whether you’re looking for elegance, simplicity or a statement you’ll find the perfect piece within our timeless collection. The perfect bar stool or counter chair is waiting for you at nkuku.com. Simply make sure you have a tape measure to hand and start browsing our collection...

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