Hello everyone, how are you all? I hope you’re all coping and staying well. It’s been a really tough April here at Making Spaces HQ (still recovering from what we think was Covid), hence the lack of posting, but I’m trying to stay positive for May. And what better way to uplift everyone’s spirits than to write a trilogy of Design Crimes? Today it’s Part 1 – Kitchen Stools
(Probably loads of better ways to be honest, but this has been on my list of blog posts to write for about two years, so that’s what you’re getting).
Doing this job gives me a hyper critical eye on all things interiors. There is not one photo in my portfolio that I don’t completely pick apart, “I should have done this instead”, “Why did I do that?”… blah blah blah, yada yada. The learning curve I’ve been on over the last six years has been immense and it continues every day. What I love to do is share what I’ve learnt with you guys. So whilst this post may come across as negative, please do take it in the spirit it was intended. It’s a tongue in cheek (but also useful) post about stools, people – no hate mail please.
Design Crimes Part 1 – Kitchen Stools
A seemingly benign object that has been slowly driving me MENTAL. I can’t look at a kitchen island or peninsular without scoping out the choice of stool that sits beside.
Let me tell you for why…
Stools come in three standard-ish heights:
- 45cm stool – suitable for 75cm height kitchen tables, desks and dressing tables
- 60-65cm stools – suitable for countertops which are 90cm height
- 75cm stools – suitable for bars which are about 105cm
A lot of people get this wrong and it upsets me…. so much so I just can’t keep quiet about it any more! (Do you like how I’m building the drama here?)
Too many people have 75cm height bar stools sat at kitchen countertops, islands and peninsular units when they should have 65cm stools. There, I’ve said it.
But, why are they getting it wrong?
Mainly because when you search for “stool” online, 75cm bar height stools seem to pop up more frequently. They’ll fit under your 90cm worktop and look pretty, but as soon as you try and use ’em you’ll be way too high, won’t be able to squeeze your legs under the worktop and have to hunch over to rest your elbows on the surface to eat your antipasti and drink your Quarantini.
The ideal distance between your seat height and table top height is around 30cm, 12″ or 1 foot. Remember that now!
Retailers are terrible for showcasing stools in the wrong setting. Case in point here:
Bar stool sat at kitchen countertop – Garden Trading
Sorry Garden Trading, it’s a lovely photo for sure, but sitting on that is going to knacker your back. That stool is a mere 15cm lower than the surface you’re sitting at. You may as well sit on the bloody worktop, save yourself the price of a stool and put it towards a chiropractor. This 75cm height stool should be photographed sat next to a 105cm bar, not a 90cm countertop.
Then there’s John Lewis advertising a countertop stool as a bar stool.
No wonder people get this mixed and end up either too high up or low down.
If you want options height wise, then go for an adjustable stool, one that you can set exactly at the height you need. These stools from Loaf can be set between 64-80cm making them suitable for both countertop and bar height.
If you’d prefer stools with a back rest, always choose ’em based on how they look from the back, not the front. As this is how you will see it 99% of the time. This especially applies to upholstered stools, I have a real dislike for ones with the stitching that runs down the rear – same for dining chairs too.
Chairs with zippers or stitching down the back really grind my gears. Unless it enhances the overall design, which for the above cases, it does not.
Whilst these next stools look comfortable (shudders) just don’t do it. Ever.**
**Of course, you can have what you want, I just really dislike everything about these space aged, chrome and leather beasts. They look like car seats.
There are plenty more design savvy, functional seating designs to choose from these days as more and more of us are going open plan with their kitchens and adding islands and peninsulas to sit at. And, some places are actively trying to help you with your search, MADE have these which are advertised as Counter Height Stools. Hoorah!
See how they relate height wise to the countertop? I could get well comfy there. Look, no stitching running down the back either. Double hoorah!
So, now you know the score about stools (who knew there was so much to know!?) you’ll start eyeing up kitchens online and start scrutinising the stool set up. Are they the right height? Do I need a footstool to climb up onto the actual stool? Would they look at home next to a steering wheel? Do they look sexy from the back?
Welcome to my world people!
Whistler Adjustable Height Bar Stools at an actual bar. Result!
So, what’s the magic distance between the seating height and surface height? I told you to remember… did you remember?
(anyone called Margaret reading this?)
“The ideal distance between your seat height and table top height is around 30cm, 12″ or 1 foot.”
And that’s your lot for today. I have a list of about six major design crimes which I was meant to put into one post. But it seems I’ve already written over 900 words just about stools. Clearly they were really bugging me. I need to get a life.
Design Crimes Part 2 coming soon…