Client Seating at Island-KD wants to know

jakuvallOctober 7, 2012

Looking for some input- we are in process of putting in an island display that will have a seating area. This will occasionally be used to meet with clients. Though there is another area with normal chairs which is the primary meeting area.

What I want to know is your opinion on stool options-

Backs or backless

Wood seats or padded

Adjustable height or fixed

swivel or stationary.

Style is a bit unusual/transitional and island is right as you enter the studio:

We are leaning toward backless- definitely armeless, your not here for hors d'oerves :)

Also leaning toward padded but not sure I think it is better- my own island has backsless wood seats that I love- but this isn't for me either.

There is only one options we have found suitable that has adjustable height (so far at least within budget)

I'm wondering if swivel creates more problems than it solves in this case (again "meeting" not party) especially if I use wood seats. However stylistically padded seats are going to be a better options- there is one stainless swivel seat in the mix right now.

I don't want to post the choices at this time- really want your preference for type- will post a final when all is done- it's kinda cool:)

Thanks for any input.

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if they are counter height, then I'd be fine with backless. Bar height; I'm short... and would prefer a back. Have padded and love padded. Ours are also swivel but we eat almost all our meals there. If your clients are older; as in empty nesters redoing for the last time as they age; you might want to consider swivel so it's easier for them to get into.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:50AM
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Fori is not pleased

Padded, backs, swivel, no need to height adjustable.

That said, I've had to sit at a counter-height table in a stool as a client and I was p#ssed about it the entire meeting and could not interest myself in the services proffered. It's unprofessional and uncomfortable and awkward unless you're trying to sell me beer. :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:05PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Is the island counter height or bar height?

If this is the first thing clients see when they come in, IMO, it should be as wow-bang as possible. That means backs and swivel at least.

Esp if it is bar height, (I'm 5'4") I can barely get into those chairs, and once in them, I can't move them closer to the bar to get comfortable, so at a minimum swivel, and arms help me maneuver myself in the chair if not the chair to the bar.

Our stools are at counter height and DH insisted on swivel and back and I'm glad he did. Even at this height, it's very helpful.

And party or no party, it's about the comfort and security of the people sitting in the chair. If I'm trying to do a deal and I'm uncomfortable the whole time, I'm on some level less likely to do the deal....

Backless bar stools say party to me even more than those with backs.

Check out places like or costco for better pricing.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:07PM
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For me, if you want me to pay attention, backs are important. If backless, I'd be more focused on trying to make sure I'm not going to fall off while still trying to be comfortable with my lower back issues. This won't get better as I age so if you see a broad age range of clients, then backs would be important. No one ever complains about a stool because it has a back. Conversely, many people do mind when there is not a back.

Padded is probably better, but if it's a comfy wood seat like my stools then either is fine. Again, padded is more universally friendly.

Swivel has never been important to me, although, like a padded seat, it's probably more age-range friendly.

Heights adjustments would probably not be used in your circumstance so is unnecessary.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:16PM
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To clarify-
It is counter height.
It is not for for "doing deals"- primary purpose is for some meetings we need to be out in the main are to have easy access to cabinet features, reason for it is easier up and down than marching out to the other room from the main comfy meeting area.
Island is wow which is why we are thinking of avoiding backs is to not hide it when you walk in. Visually backs will detract. Comfort may override that.
Thanks and keep em coming.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:42PM
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I'm thinking that if its to pick out cabinet guts, it could turn out to be more of a spouse or child parking lot. I'd be on the business side of the island so I could see the cabinet guts close up. As a child, I would also have been on the business side so I could see how they worked.

Dh, on the other hand, would be sitting at the island doing a math puzzle. He wakes up for choosing finishes. He's never had a lot to say about layout either.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:56PM
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I would want a back so I could hang my purse.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:16PM
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backs, padded, swivel. These will also serve a purpose to help clients understand what they like/don't like about island seating. If it weren't for the visual, I would say get several different types, just so clients can compare.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 5:17PM
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I'd want a back and padded seat (or one shaped to be comfortable).

I'm short--and hate climbing up on to stools. If you have older, less flexible clients, they may not even be able to climb up on stools.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 5:42PM
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I'm going to be contrary here. This isn't real life, and most showroom visitors won't be GW kitchen level savvy. If this is primarily a visual display, with only brief meetings on it, then don't worry about having backs or padded seats. Have whatever looks good and can be OK for a 10 minute perch. I think it's also extremely instructive for clients to learn that the pretty stools at the knockout island that they are envisioning aren't really comfortable! People will hold on to all kinds of mental images in their heads unless presented with a concrete example that flies in the face of that mental picture. Use those stools to show them that perching at that island isn't comfortable, and so probably won't happen much because of that. Just make sure you do another island elsewhere with more comfort in mind. And, then find a manufacturer that sells stools with backs and padding and sell those! You'll be doing a good design service, and can add to your profit margin. :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 6:46PM
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Padded swivels with backs. The first time a child, or anyone, falls off a backless stool, you will be blamed for it because as a KD, you'd be expected to know the special risks of a backless counter-height stool.

If you expect kids to be in the showroom, they are going to spin on those swivels, just for the fun of it, and get them going as fast as they can... better to have the backs to hold them in for safety.

Best of luck with the new installation!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:57PM
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First rule of marketing is, never ask consumers what they want. They have no idea. Give them something they'll want when they see it.

Backless. More people will see the stools than sit in them. It's your first impression. And that's more important than the doubtless hundreds of small children who will break their necks toppling backwards to their doom, lol.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Thank you all- useful and got a few laughs- especially LWO and Marcolo
I expected the responses to lean toward backs but not so wholeheartedly.
As an aging empty nester with lots of grandkids, nephews etc I don't find backless as problematic as some say, actually my experience is opposite that. Have had more kids dump backed chairs and stools over by pushing with feet, never had one fall off plain stool. Same goes for getting on/off- personally I find it easier without a back but have had to pry friends (aging) out of backed stools at restaurants. I am worried about the wheee factor with swivels and no backs though and that appears to be more commonly available.

In any case all still useful and will take all into consideration and am having another look at backs. Final decision will likely be aesthetic first in this case though as it is secondary area.

We already have some accomodations for folks with kids, i.e seperate area near the island, at home design meetings, and meetings at my residence 1/4 mile from here with TV table and toys,
The concerns expressed have made me think about adding to what we have here at the studio for younguns to do.
Oh and there is a perfectly good SO parking area next to the island, a window seat that seams to attract the guys despite the pillows :)
Very useful to see how folks think can't thank you enough for the responses. Just don't get upset if I don't follow your advice- just like my clients and me :)

Figured I'd post a couple of pics just so you can see what you've help with- obviously we are still under construction but...
first is from the front door and you can just make out the main meeting area in the second room, other shows window seat and hints at the extra space by mantle (non working FP) Sorry LWO- no room for another island :)

Just so you don't have to guess- Island cabinets - Walnut with Autumn stain, legs -Art for Everyday, wood top and custom pedestal - white ash with custom oil stain from Engrain. Rest of counter will be Hahnstone Aspen- template is tomorrow.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:13PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

The base is pretty wow....any stools will block the design....are you sure you want them there at all???

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 6:34PM
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