What stools should I choose for my island

dreamojeanOctober 15, 2013

I'm stumped at what stools to choose for my kitchen island and would love suggestions. This is for an open kitchen/dining room in an old brownstone in a city. We will need 3 to 4 stools depending on which stools we choose.
In a perfect world we will have stools with a swivel function as well as a comfortable back (The back function is the more important one and it doesn't have to be a full back but it does have to give some kind of back support).

I've already been through a number of possible stools at places like Ikea but none of them quite work. They are either too modern or too bulky. And we liked a metal and clear-seat stool from cb2 but it was too low and deep and the price was too high for the comfort level so we returned it. Right now we have a cute restoration hardware metal stool in white but it is huge for the space and if we kept it I'd swap it for a metallic one to match the fridge - but we wouldn't have a swivel function if we go that route. It is mid range in price.

I've been eyeing the metal and white stool at the store called Room and Board, and it seems very nice but it's over $300 per stool. I've also been eyeing similar stools that are significantly less but don't look as sturdy or long-lasting. I'm not above splurging on the stool in question so long as it really works in our kitchen and is comfortable. So the question is does the stool work?

I think our price range is $50 to $325 per stool. I'd prefer $75 per stool but with the time this is taking, getting settled is worth a higher price. I love some of the design within reach stools but for $700 per stool, ha ha.

I've attached a link to pics of our kitchen and some of the stools we are considering. And here is one pic of the kitchen. I will post a reply with a pic of the room and board stool

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen pics

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Here is the stool I'm favoring right now but concerned about the price and whether it is too modern

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 6:01AM
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What does you dining area look like? Could you post a pic of that?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 9:38AM
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have you looked at the delta stools from crate and barrel? they are metal with back but don't swivel.
i think the room and board one is too modern.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 9:54AM
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I should mention that without an adjustable height stool, our best height is 26" and many stores sell 24 or 30 which isn't ideal for us.

AGK2003, yes that is my favorite C&B stool (http://www.crateandbarrel.com/delta-barstools-and-cushion/f7341 for anyone who wants to see it) but the black or yellow (not white) cushion threw me as did the height/inability to adjust the height (I tried the 24" and it's a bit low, and the 30" is a bit high; the Remy counter stool from Restoration Hardware is 26" which is the perfect height for us, since we bought one to test out and height works).

I've attached a pic of the dining room facing our bay windows. it's cluttered and stark as we still have to figure out pantry/storage solutions in the dining room part of the open kitchen/dining room but hopefully this will be helpful since opposite the bay windows are pocket doors with similar trim around them; it's a long slightly narrow dining room so space is at a premium. (sorry it's coming up sideways, I don't know how to fix that)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 4:58PM
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I need the same help! I ordered a stool from a local store because I was told it had a metal finish, in actuality it was painted and marred, and generally cheap looking on delivery. Then I ordered a stool from overstock, it was awful, too.
I want the same things: 26" (for 36" counter), swivel, and at least a small back but not too modern. I could go with brushed metal or wood legs.
I don't mind paying $300+ if I love it and it meets all our criteria, but I'm beginning to realize finding the "one" (need 4) is difficult at any price.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 6:36PM
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Checked out the retailers you mentioned, and fell in like with this one. I have satin nickel pulls and lots of stainless, so I'm not so sure about chrome...


I think I'll try to visit the store tomorrow, they have some floor models on sale.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 7:00PM
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Hi dreamojean,

These are favorites from West Elm. They're 26" high, extremely comfy, and have clean, contemporary lines but a bit of warmth and texture from the wood grain.
Best of all, they're on sale for $160 right now.

Your kitchen layout is exactly like mrslimestone's --you probably already know that. (-:

It looks lovely!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 7:44PM
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Shanghaimom, I didn't know about mrslimestone until now when I saw your post, I'd never heard of her until you mentioned her.

I've checked the restoration hardware stool and it is too dark for our room, and I feel the same way about the west elm stool - I like west elm but none of the stools are sitting right.

I'm still toying with the room and board stool and might buy one as a test to see if it works and we like it. It is tempting to do the same with the metallic restoration hardware stool but since we have the one white stool from RH already and i think 3 of them would overwhelm the space (we can't get more then half under the 9" overhang for example) perhaps not- as much as i like it. And the target stools are so affordable that it is tempting to try some of them too.

I just don't want to blow my budget in shipping costs for stools we end up returning!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 9:25PM
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So I took a look at Mrs. limestones blog on the house and boy you aren't kidding: our kitchens are very similar. Her kitchen has a sink on the island - I was advised by most people to have a sink on the island and I just didn't want that because I wanted an open space for entertaining, so we made the sink work near the fridge. And we will have a door off our kitchen instead of a window as soon as our contractor converts it - hopefully tomorrow (We had a deck built off the kitchen in June and due to complications haven't been able to get the door to the deck until now and have been climbing through the window as needed and not using the deck)...

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 9:39PM
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LOL I thought all the Brownstone renovators in the world followed Mrs. Limestone's adventures!

She was on GW back in 2008-ish, and her kitchen was a big influence on some of my choices for our kitchen. (Mainly, to KEEP IT SIMPLE!) She was also one of the earliest carrera/basketweave bathroom gals. Very nice. People went nuts over her pretty bathrooms.

Those Brownstones are a lot to tackle--yours is looking great!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 9:51PM
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hi dreamo. Agree with others that the white is too modern for your space. I love this one from Ballard. A bit pricey but warm and cozy with nice clean lines and metal for a contemporary feel. And it swivels! Looks good and sturdy too..


    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 10:27PM
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It was very helpful to look at the link with pictures that give a feel for architectural elements of the rest of the space. I had in mind a remy type chair and think that is your best look, but I would go with the unpainted galvanize to play off your backsplash.

I can understand the desire for a swivel, but the room is not so huge that you need to completely turn 180 to communicate with someone behind you and across the room. It can be hard to find swivel chairs with a back that are not too modern. And while I understand the temptation to contrast modern and vintage, I don't think any of the modern pictures of stools you have posted above are working for me. A stool at a countertop is already anachronistic enough for your space. I would choose a remy type stool to tie it together. Many, many companies sell them online. The restoration hardware price did not seem outrageous but you might be able to find other prices out there as well.

Your space is gorgeous. Congrats on the renovation. And thanks for turning me on to Mrs Limestone. I live in an old rowhouse and had never heard of it. Am off to check it out now.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 6:14AM
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Have you tried craigslist or ebay? I've seen chairs like the CB one you posted on there for a lot less than the CB price. Don't know about quality, though!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2013 at 12:45PM
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OK so after all your helpful advice I ended up just going for the Room and Board Leo stool and LOVE it - here's a picture.

I was going back and forth considering some Restoration Hardware stools that might have worked and been less pricey, but taken up more precious space in the dining room - and also some Target stools that were basically knockoffs of the R&B stool for less money. Or internet sourced stools but return policies were very onerous. In the end I decided to go for the R&B one because the design is semi-square in the seat but also rounded (which nicely compliments the more squared-off kitchen), and white/silver like the kitchen. It was a splurge but now I can focus on other things.

My son loves them too - swivel, ability to adjust etc. And what I like is that when they are pushed under the overhang on the island, they basically disappear from view when standing in the kitchen area. And our dining room is NOT deep and we need every square inch of depth from end of stool to wall opposite the dining room table/chairs, there will be some maneuvering if we have a full house for dinner, we have length but not width. So the smaller stools help on that front.

I realize these are a bit modern but oh well. Another option we considered were Design Within Reach but compared to R&B their shipping was way higher, return policies way more onerous (restocking fees, paying shipping in both directions vs. $0 return shipping for RH and R&B) so they lost a sale on that alone (I learned the hard way - we bought a DWR couch and regret it, and the return will cost us way too much, I doubt I'd buy DWR again for that reason alone, much as I love their stuff)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 7:51AM
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They look very nice. Modern but still work fine, IMO.

However, I've got a mental film playing of me of sitting on one, forgetting the back is so low and falling off backward. I can totally picture doing that, lol.

Pretty kitchen!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2013 at 9:02AM
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The little area at the back of the seat (kind of a butt-rest) would prevent falling off the back - but my mother in law who is 82 years old, and not small, DEFINITELY isn't comfortable in the smaller stools so for her we kept a $35 IKEA folding stool that she preferred, it has a back - or she can just sit in a dining room chair and call it done. it's not a big dining room/kitchen...

Thanks for the compliment deedles!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2013 at 6:38PM
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