Kitchen

15 of the best bar stools to complete your kitchen island

These stunning designs will have you sitting pretty.

A glorious island is a must-have in any dream kitchen, but what’s an island bench without the perfect set of bar stools? Home Beautiful stylist and author of The Home Style Handbook, Lucy Gough, says selecting the right bar stools for your kitchen can feel daunting, because they really can make or break the room. “Like anything in the home, you want your kitchen stools to have the right mix of beauty and functionality,” she says. “You want it to be the right height, the right colour and have function in mind.”

Roger Wei, head of design and product development at Temple & Webster agrees that choosing bar stools is integral to the success of a kitchen, because the island is ultimately where everyone tends to gather. “They’re a great way to connect with family and friends, so kids could be doing their homework while parents prepare meals, or guests can enjoy a glass of wine while talking to their hosts,” he says.

Muuto ‘Fibre’ bar stools complete this ultra-modern, all-white kitchen. (Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Jamee Deaves)

Need some guidance on selecting the right bar stools (or counter stools, but we’ll get to that in a moment) for your kitchen? We speak to the experts to get the low-down on all things bar stools and round up some of our favourite designs that are timeless and versatile enough to suit almost any style of home.

2024’s TOP BAR STOOLS

  1. Marcus beechwood bar stool, $299, Temple & Webster (here’s why)
  2. Saddle bar stool in walnut, $549, LoungeLovers (here’s why)
  3. Ce’cile stool in ivory, $990, Merci Maison (here’s why)

Best bar stools to shop 2024

CLASSIC WEAVE BAR STOOL-DARK

01

Classis weave bar stool, Dark

$620, Highgate House

Best for: Classic cushioned comfort

Handwoven rattan forms the snug surround of this stylish bar stool atop a solid timber frame. The cushioned seat invites long chats at the breakfast bar and there’s a comfy foot rail to boot! Also available in natural-toned rattan on a lighter timber frame, pair it with other rattan pieces around your open plan living and dining area (there’s a matching dining chair in both colours) or make a statement in coastal style.

Colours: Dark and Neutral

Height: H91 x 52.5 x 54cm

Width: 460mm

Key features:

  • Textured handwoven rattan back
  • Upholstered linen seat
  • Indoor use recommended

02

Marcus beechwood bar stool

$299, Temple & Webster

Best for: Curves and texture

“If you love the curved look, go for the Marcus beechwood bar stool,” says Temple & Webster’s senior buyer, Jessica Leone. “Its strong, durable timber frame is a drawcard, as is its woven rope back and seat which lends a contemporary coastal look to a home.” This chair comes witha 3-year warranty.

Colours: Beechwood

Height: 615mm (seat height)

Width: 460mm

Key features:

  • Textured woven seat
  • 3-year warranty
  • Stylish curved back design

03

Saddle bar stool in walnut

$549, LoungeLovers

Best for: Modern farmhouse or industrial style homes

Another classic bar stool design stylist Lucy says will always remain a popular choice is the tractor seat, “People love designs that they have a memory and connection to and this stool’s vintage aesthetic will be popular forever.” The Saddle bar stool is made from solid American walnut which gives the chair its deep, warm colour and sturdy construction.

Colours: Oak, black and walnut.

Height: 670mm

Width: 410mm

Key features:

  • Classic, timeless style
  • Sturdy solid wood construction
  • Available in three versatile colours

04

Ce’cile stool in ivory

From $990, Merci Maison

Best for: Parisian flair

Merci Maison’s sell-out Ce’cile bar stool was inspired by avant-garde Parisian design of the 1940s. It is handmade from powder-coated steel and the fabric is a classic linen weave sourced from France.

Colours: Jaune (yellow), Sicilian green, Noir (black), Biscotti and Midnight Blue. Custom fabrication colours and trims are available.

Height: 670.5mm. Bar stool heights can be altered upon request.

Width: 480mm

Key features:

  • Upholstered in durable linen
  • Eye-catching, statement bar stool
  • Custom options available

05

Ark bar stool in oak

$299, LoungeLovers

Best for: The all-rounder

The Ark bar stool by LoungeLovers references the iconic ‘Wishbone’ chair designed by Hans Wegner for Carl Hansen & Son in 1949. (The original chair is available via Cult Design). It’s a timeless design stylist Lucy says will never date. “This stool is visually beautiful, well designed, has arms for comfort and has a solid wooden frame.” 

Colours: Oak, black and white

Height: 650mm (seat height)

Width: 560mm

Key features:

  • Iconic profile inspired by Hans Wegner’s ‘Wishbone’ chair
  • Sturdy solid wood construction
  • Available in three versatile colours

06

Rhodes brandy counter stool

$299.99, Adairs

Best for: Comfy and easy-to-clean

Does your family almost live at the kitchen counter? Then comfy bar stools with an easy-to-clean surface are a must. The Rhodes stools from Adairs fit the bill with a padded seat and backrest upholstered in a leather-look PU material. The frame is made from sturdy, powder-coated steel.

Colours: Olive, copper, beige, black and brandy.

Height: 650mm (seat height)

Width: 505mm

Key features:

  • Upholstered chair with easy-to-clean PU surface
  • Powder-coated steel frame.
  • Available in a wide range of fabrics and colours

07

Crawford bar stool in natural

$329, Freedom

Best for: Minimalist yet interesting

It can often be tricky to strike a balance between sleek and modern, yet textural and interesting, but somehow the Crawford bar stool manages to get it just right. The woven seat is firm yet supportive while the solid oak frame will stand the test of time. Serial renovators Josh and Jenna used similar woven bar stools in the renovation of their Rutherglen homestead.

Colours: Natural and black

Height: 650mm

Width: 350mm

Key features:

  • Simple, minimalist profile
  • Solid oak frame
  • Textured, woven seat

08

Plume swivel bar stool

From $1130, Oden Design

Best for: Designed and made in Melbourne

“We’ve designed Plume to fit most situations,” says Oden co-founder Kat Noden. “We wanted to create a soft and comfortable yet supportive high stool that is both functional and hardwearing. The Plume stool gives a hug to the lower back: the seat has a pillow-like quality while the back is cushioning and supportive.” This chair is made to order, so you can tailor both the fabric and the powder-coating of the metal frame. It’s also available in swivel and non-swivel options.

Colours: Custom fabric and powder-coating selections available.

Height: 760mm (bar stool), 660mm (counter stool). Custom heights available.

Width: 420mm

Key features:

  • Australian designed and made
  • Unique design with stainless steel footrest
  • Custom options available

09

Capel rattan bistro counter stool in navy

$449, LivingStyles

Best for: Hamptons chic

The French ‘bistro’ chair, which dates back to the 1930s, is timeless, and was originally developed to be lightweight, durable and easy to stack. Today, they’re synonymous with Parisian elegance and are particularly suited to Hamptons style and elegant, coastal homes. This design by LivingStyles is made from a rattan frame and woven synthetic seat. 

Colours: Navy, white and natural.

Height: 670mm (seat height)

Width: 460mm

Key features:

  • Easy to wipe clean
  • Adds colour and texture to an all-white kitchen
  • Hand-crafted rattan frame

10

Dario vintage leather bar stool

From $656, Bisque Traders

Best for: Soft and sleek

A sturdy, timeless bar stool constructed from vintage leather and fire-resistant foam. Perfect for the minimalist or contemporary kitchen. 

Colours: Vintage leather with brass metal frame.

Height: 690mm

Key features:

  • Sturdy metal frame in brass colour
  • Soft padded seat
  • Durable leather upholstery

11

Revolver bar stool in red

From $490, Hay

Best for: Modern and minimalist

Sleek, minimal, sophisticated – that’s Hay’s Revolver stool summed up in three words. A cult-favourite, this stool was designed by American industrial designer Leon Ransmeier who believes “use follows form”. 

Colours: Black, red and sky grey.

Heights available: 650mm, 760mm

Key features:

  • Seat and footring spin 360 degrees
  • Miniamlist design
  • The seat has a slight dip for added comfort

12

Requin counter stool in white oak

From $450, Trit House

Best for: Enduring style

Stools with a spindle back are classic for a reason, says Lucy. “It’s a trusted style that has been around for hundreds of years and it popular with the masses.” The Requin counter stool by Trit House offers a modern update on the classic spindle chair and is made from solid oak timber with a plywood and oak veneer backrest. Comes with a 12-month warranty.

Colours: Black oak, white oak and light oak

Height: 920mm

Width: 510mm

Key features:

  • Classic spindle-back design
  • 12-month warranty
  • Natural timber frame

13

Judd bar stool in black old elm

From $690, MCM House

Best for: Rustic yet contemporary

Made from solid timber, the Judd bar stool features a boxy construction that is bot rustic and modern. Versatile enough to fit right into a contemporary home or a modern farmhouse. 

Colours: Black old elm and natural old elm.

Height: 690mm (seat height)

Width: 400mm

Key features:

  • Made from salvaged old elm beams repurposed from 100-year-old buildings
  • Sealed with one coat of sealant for a raw aesthetic
  • The stool’s rustic fabrication is contrasted with its contemporary, boxy silhouette.

14

Muuto Fibre bar stool tube base in white

From $495, Muuto

Best for: Barely there stool

Want a barely there bar stool? The ‘Fibre’ stool by Muuto features clean lines and a delicate silhouette, and in white, will blend seamlessly into a clean all-white kitchen. This style is also available with a backrest, so you can customise it to suit your home’s needs.

Colours: Natural white/white, Black/Anthracite black, Grey/grey, Refine leather cognac/Anthracite black.

Height: 750mm (seat height)

Width: 450mm

Key features:

  • All white seat and frame
  • Version with backrest available
  • Seat made from 100% recycled plastic and wood fibre composite, frame made from powder-coated steel

15

Bernadette bar stool

From $689, McMullin & Co.

Best for: Sculptural elegance

This statement bar stool is oozing with style. Firstly there’s the woven rattan ‘cape’ that cascades down the back of the chair, then there’s the scalloped wave detail along the backrest, and then there’s the pure feeling of comfort you get as you sit on the plush, upholstered cushion.

Colours: Natural

Height: 670mm (seat height)

Width: 470mm

Key features:

  • Wrap-around frame made from powder-coated steel and textured woven rattan
  • Wave motif design
  • Cushion upholstered in crepe velvet, 100& polyester

16

Crop stool in white

From $625+GST, Relm Furniture

Best for: Genius simplicity

“The Crop stool from Relm is one of our favourites,” says Oden furniture co-founder, Kat. “It has simplicity of design but most importantly, it’s made in Australia.” While it may look like any other ordinary timber bar stool, the standout design feature is the powder-coated steel seat plate which really pops, especially when the stools are placed against a white kitchen island.

Colours: White and black.

Height: 750mm

Width: 400mm

Key features:

  • Handmade, sanded, polished and assembled in Geelong, VIC
  • Made from solid timber with a powder-coated aluminium accent plate
  • Made-to-order

Choosing the right bar stool height

The first step to selecting a bar stool that works with the height of your kitchen bench is to measure – then measure again. Kat Noden, co-founder of Melbourne-based furniture design company, Oden Design says bar stool heights really can be confusing. “When purchasing a stool, we suggest measuring the bottom of the counter or bar and allowing for the seat height to sit between 250mm-350mm beneath that,” she says. 

The next thing to think about is how much legroom you need and whether the stool you’re selecting has armrests, says Roger. “If the stool has arms, you’ll need to consider whether it can be tucked in under the counter.”

Contemporary, neutral open plan kitchen designed by Josh and Jenna Densten.
Woven rattan bar stools in the home of Josh and Jenna Densten. (Credit: Photography: Sini Louhela via @joshandjenna on Instagram)

What’s the difference between a bar stool and a counter stool?

“Bar stools are 760mm and counter stools are 660mm,” says Kat. “But at Oden, we know that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all, so we customise the heights to work in any space.”

Jessica Leone, senior buyer at Temple & Webster says that counter stools tend to be the best height for most kitchens. “The average Australian kitchen counter has a height of 900mm, which complements 600mm-680mm stools. Bar height is more common in commercial spaces,” she says.

‘Judd’ bar stools from MCM House add texture to this inviting coastal kitchen.

How much space do you need between bar stools?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when selecting bar stools is failing to think about the space needed between each stool. “You need to make sure there’s enough room for people to hop on and off,” says Jessica. 

Stylist Lucy says a good rule of thumb to follow is allowing 200mm between each stool. “This will allow you to get in and out without disturbing the person next to you.” 

But, if you’re really short on space, selecting smaller stools without arms, backrest or a swivel function can spare you a few extra milimetres, says Jessica. “Set these stools 150mm apart,” she says.

A neutral coastal kitchen with an island, brass tapware and angled range hood by the stove.
‘Dario’ vintage leather bar stools in a wabi-sabi style home in Byron Bay. (Credit: Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Studio Haus Co)

What style of bar stools are on trend right now?

There’s a marked movement away from fast home decor trends, which means it’s best to choose the bar stools that appeal to you, suit your home’s needs and that work best with the other furniture in your kitchen and dining area. 

Rather than opting for something ‘on-trend’ Lucy recommends looking for stools that look and feel timeless. But which stools will really stand the test of time? “Something that is designed in a simple way, in a good quality material that doesn’t make you think of a particular decade when you look at it,” she says.

Kat says good quality furniture will always be beautiful. “Make sure it’s good quality and comfortable,” she says, adding, “Buy something you immediately fall in love with, it’ll be timeless for you.” 

mid-century-dream-family-home-kitchen-island
A sleek modern kitchen island completed by black ‘Revolver’ bar stools by Hay. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

Which bar stools are the most durable?

Rattan bar stools may be enjoying a moment of popularity for the texture and warmth they can add to a space, but Roger says it’s a delicate material that may not hold up to the demands of families with young children. “To ensure your bar stools stand the test of time, consider durable options with metal frames versus stools that feature more fragile materials such as rattan,” he says. 

If durability is one of your top concerns, Kat recommends investing in good-quality furniture with a long-term warranty. “Always check warranties because anything under five years is a big red flag … if you buy cheap, you buy twice,” she says. 

Farmhouse kitchen with two island benches
Food-writer Louise Keats’ home features classic tractor bar stools. (Credit: Photography: Nicki Dobrzynsky | Styling: Kerrie-Ann Jones)

Are upholstered bar stools worth it?

This depends on how you’ll be using them, says Kat, “If you think you’ll be spending a lot of time on your stools, then upholstered will offer the most comfort. They also add a different texture to a space, which can be important in a kitchen where the majority of the surfaces are hard.” 

Lucy says families with young children may prefer stools without upholstery as they are so much easier to keep clean. “But if you’re going to sit in the chair for a long time (because you work from home or your kids need to do homework for an extended period of time) then a padded upholstered seat is a must,” she says. 

If you’re concerned about upholstery getting dirty, consider slipcovers as an easy-care alternative. (Photography: Sue Stubbs | Styling: Bree Oliver)

Think about the big picture

Open-plan layouts are so common now, which means it’s important to think about how your bar stools will coordinate with your dining chairs, says Roger. “If you’re bold, select contrasting bar stools to make more of a statement. If you prefer a safer look, opt for complementary colours or materials.”

Related stories