'Get This Element Right, and Add The Perfect Finish to Your Kitchen,' Say Designers

The kitchen counter stool, of course! Designers point out the most exciting trends around this element, and how it can give your space the right polish

A kitchen with cushioned seats and sleek frame
(Image credit: frenchCALIFORNIA SELENE)

Raise the bar of your cook room with kitchen counter stool trends that add that last but essential bit of finish to the space. Plus, these seaters are all about comfort and convenience, adding to the plushness of the room.

Gone are the days of limited styles. Today, counter seating is available in several modern to rustic designs, pop colors, and even customizable styles. No matter the size of the kitchen, there's a stool waiting to steal the spotlight. Experts tell us about the latest kitchen trends surrounding counter seating.

1. Bold colors

A blue kitchen with bright orange counter stools

(Image credit: Par Bengtsson. Design: Laura U Design Collective)

Nothing personalizes a modern kitchen quite like bright tones. So choose stools and chairs in bold colors that add depth to the room and contribute to the kitchen colors. If you want to go for more toned-down shades, the popular ones are sage green, deep blue, and cream. But if yours is mostly a monotone space that is begging for more color, then good shades for kitchen island with seating are reds, oranges, or yellows, like in this project.

'In this space, we chose orange stools,' says Laura Umansky, founder and CEO of Laura U Design Collective. 'The client loves bold, bright colors. And the home throughout has pops of sunset hues so we took it up a notch in the kitchen, which is more playful and whimsical.'

2. Seats with wide back and foot rest

A kitchen island with five counter stools that have a footrest and a wide back

(Image credit: Par Bengtsson. Design: Laura Design Collective)

Want to make sitting at the kitchen island more comfortable? The new and evolving ergonomic designs in counter stools ensure that dining or even socializing on these seaters is a breeze. Plus, these designs are meant to last you decades.

'Anything with a back is the most comfortable,' says Jane Lockhart, founder of Jane Lockhart Design. 'And slightly wider stools also tend to be more comfortable (around 21" wide rather than 18 or 19" wide). The ones with footrests helps with long-term comfort.'

3. Wood and leather designs

A kitchen with wood and leather stools

(Image credit: Mike Schwartz. Design: Studio Gild)

A big trend at the moment is that of rough luxury kitchens — spaces that beautifully balance expensive materials with organic elements. If you want to add an earthy touch to a luxe kitchen island, you could do so with wood or leather stools.

'For a luxury home, you'll want materials that not only exude elegance but also offer durability and comfort,' says Laura. 'Genuine leather adds a touch of sophistication to any kitchen. It's durable, easy to clean, and becomes even more luxurious with age. Woods like walnut, cherry, or mahogany add a warm and inviting feel. Wood stools with intricate detailing can elevate the overall look of your kitchen.'

'These stools were selected for their comfort, materiality as well as size,' says Kristen Ekeland, co-founder of Studio Gild. 'We wanted a stool that sat comfortably but could also tuck under the island. At only 14” deep (approx. 35 cm), it fits perfectly under the island when not in use, but at 18” wide (approx. 46 cm), it allows for a generous place to perch when eating meals. The seat’s curved leather strapping is durable and beautiful, adding a soft contrast to the kitchen’s hard finishes.'

4. Stools with adjustable height

A kitchen with four white counter stools with adjustable heights

(Image credit: Andre Doyon. Design: Desjardins Bherer)

Make your kitchen breakfast bar the most comfortable and relaxing space with adjustable stools. With this, adults and children alike can spend hours in this space, and use the counter for multiple uses.

'You should measure the height of your kitchen counter to allow comfortable seating, and consider the space available around the counter as to not overcrowd or obstruct movement,' says Guillaume Coutheillas, founder of frenchCALIFORNIA. 'The design of the stools should complement the overall style and aesthetic of your kitchen. Consider factors such as material, color, and shape to ensure they integrate seamlessly with the existing decor. If multiple people will be using the stools, consider adjustable height options to accommodate different preferences and body types.'

'The ideal height of kitchen stools depends on the height of the kitchen counter,' says Guillaume. 'A standard kitchen counter typically has a height ranging from 34 to 36 inches. For comfortable seating, the ideal stool height should allow approximately 9 to 12 inches of space between the seat of the stool and the underside of the counter. However, for higher counters or bar areas, taller stools with heights ranging from 28 to 30 inches may be more suitable.'

5. Upholstered designs

A kitchen with cushioned seats and sleek frame

(Image credit: frenchCALIFORNIA SELENE)

And finally, for the deepest comfort, trends are moving towards cushioned chairs for eat in kitchens, that look smart and are practical and cozy.

'Upholstered stools with plush cushions or velvet seats provide both comfort and elegance and also color to the room,' says Laura.

3 counter stools and chairs to buy

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.