Take a Seat With Kitchen Island Stools

If you've finally invested in a kitchen island, it may be time to equip it with some stylish stools.

Kitchen islands are proliferating — about half of all kitchens made today have one, according the National Kitchen and Bath Association. On the heels of that trend, people are now using the island as an eating area as well as a prep space. Savvy manufacturers are keeping pace with both trends and creating a third: oodles of kitchen stool options.

No longer are you limited to the loss-leader natural wood or white stools so prevalent in discount department and home stores. Stools come in every color, mod designs, sleek materials and even overstuffed models just one step removed from a La-Z-Boy.

Here are just a few eye-catchers to consider:

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The "Cafe" Bar Stool comes in swivel and standard models, with round, cushioned seats, metal finish and a metal backrest with a cozy cutout of a steaming cup of joe.

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The Chippendale Swivel Bar Stool is rattan with a short backrest and natural fabric cushions and would suit a sunny room or glass-top bar nicely.

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The Monarch wood and Cordovan leather bar stool is really comfortable and really imposing. King Arthur would feel right at home in these super-masculine stools with sturdy backs and armrests available, and they will surely suit "real size" adults who lounge around the kitchen a lot.

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Fire Seating Bar Stools have welded, 7-gauge steel bases that look like modern sculptures of flames, flowers or geometric shapes. The colors are vibrant, the seats made from moisture-resistant Crypton Fabrics and they come with or without backrests.

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Suspend-It Seating, a fairly new type of kitchen seating, has self-supporting frames. They do not attach to the cabinets or counter tops (though they sure look like they do). They'll swing back into place when you get up and come in loads of custom versions, from Mission Style wood to solid fiberglass chairs that look like airport seats to wrought-iron and cushion models, one with a flying mallard worked into the backrest.

When you choose stools, remember the measuring tape — the standard rule in the industry is 10-13 inches between bar stool seat and eating surface and the countertop should extend out at least 12 inches to allow plenty of leg room. If you want barstools with arms, leave extra room (or buy shorter stools) so they'll fit under the table.

If you're not planning for the stools to slide completely under the counter for storage, keep in mind that you'll still need at least 36 inches between the backs of the stools and other counters in the kitchen and preferably 42 inches.

Last, if you plan to use the stools as the family partakes in daily meals, opt for models that don't include fabric to absorb grease or other drips or that have very durable fabric such as leather, vinyl or micro fiber.

More Info

Rattan Chippendale Swivel Bar Stool
Bar Stool Superstore
www.barstoolsuperstore.com

Fire Seating Bar Stools, Suspend-It Seating
www.kitchensource.com

Monarch wood and Cordovan leather barstools
Sitting Pretty, Inc.
www.sittingprettyinc.com

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