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Kitchen Island Bar Stools

Make sure this room's centerpiece has comfortable seating for your guests.

These days, entertaining guests at home usually means will eventually congregate in the kitchen. It's important to have places for at least a few people to sit. The right kitchen island bar stools can turn your kitchen into an inviting sitting area.

For starters, consider the decor and style of your kitchen. Is it modern or traditional? Do you want bar stools that will blend with or complement the room's other furnishings. Alternatively, would you prefer a style, material or color that will provide a contrast or a pop of color?

Think of the design of the bar stools you'll be choosing. How tall do you want them to be? Do you prefer a bar stool with a back? Would you like bar stools that swivel? A swivel top can be particularly nice if your kitchen is part of a large space in which you entertain, as they will allow your guests (and you) to turn and join conversations behind you in the room.

What material do you want your bar stools to be made of? For a traditional look, choose oak or other wood and stain or seal it to suit your tastes. Sleek lines in painted wood or metal will complement a contemporary kitchen. Or you can create an eclectic look by choosing bar stools in a contrasting style or color to the rest of your kitchen's decor.

You'll also want to consider whether you want cushioned seats on your barstools. Fabric cushions add comfort, but they can be a hassle to clean after food spills. You can choose leather or vinyl instead. If you have children, you'll want your stools, including the seats, to be durable. A bar stool with a curved wooden seat can be just as comfortable—if not more so—than a cushioned seat.

Do you want kitchen bar stools with backs? You'll need to determine how this style of bar stool will fit under the overhang of your kitchen island, and whether or not it will overpower your island visually.

You'll also need to consider your budget. Bar stools come in a wide range of prices, from discount-store price tags to custom-designed big-ticket pieces.

Last, but certainly not least—how many bar stools should you buy? You'll base your answer on the size of your kitchen and island, the size of the stools themselves, the size of your family and your entertaining style.

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