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Matching dining chairs and bar stools
I’m not one that usually suggests buying full sets of furniture but matching dining chairs and bar stools are an exception. If a retailer has both options in the same line, the difference in scale will make it ok to use them together.
These are just a few of my favorites that I would happily recommend to a friend or anyone looking for recommendations.
The stool version will sit much higher than the chair so they will be at a different level visually. The trick is to use several other different but complementary design elements. This will tie the spaces together and minimize the impact of matching furniture.
Coordinating dining room and kitchen seating
Mixing furniture is a great way to make your home look and feel more interesting. Sometimes matching dining chairs and bar stools isn’t always necessary or possible. You may find the perfect chair, but the collection doesn’t include a stool option. That’s fine with me because I prefer to mix complementary pieces for a designer look.
I have light-colored linen dining chairs around my wood dining table. They can be seen from the kitchen and I didn’t want to use kitchen counter stools that looked too similar. Instead, I went with the Serena and Lily stools from the Balboa collection. Rattan counter stools paired with linen dining chairs are one of my all-time favorite looks.
Some families routinely gather around the kitchen island at dinnertime. For special occasions or when you are entertaining guests, the dining room is where you’ll be heading. Since the spaces are adjacent, it’s important to choose seating that looks well together.
Bar stools vs. counter stools
With kitchen designs moving away from bar-height countertops, pretty bar stools are becoming a little harder to find. There are still plenty of matching dining chairs and bar stools, but you’ll quickly see the difference between the number of bar stools and counter stools available. Pottery Barn is one of the retailers that still has plenty of both sizes in most of their collections.
Just because something is labeled as a bar stool, doesn’t mean it will be an exact fit for your space. Be sure to check product details in the manufacturer’s descriptions. Dimensions of a bar stool can vary between styles so you need to make sure the measurements work in all directions.
The standard bar stool height is around 30″ but if it has a soft cushion that will flatten over time, think about how that will affect your position at the counter. If you want a stool that has armrests, measure the distance from the floor to the underside of the counter to ensure they will tuck neatly under when not in use.
The push toward keeping countertop height consistent is based on aesthetics. It makes your kitchen feel bigger and more open – that’s what we all want, right? Standard counter stool height is around 24″ – not quite as high as a bar stool.
Colors and styles that go with everything
There are plenty of options that are both neutral in color and style. I do like to mix things up, but I suggest steering clear of furniture that is too trendy or stuck within a particular style – like Chinoiserie, farmhouse, or ultra-modern. Think quiet luxury!
If your home is light and bright, woven chairs or stools will look great and create a casual yet upscale feel. Looking to add some contrast and drama, black dining chairs or counter stools will do the trick. Having a classic white kitchen opens the door to a wider variety of options.
Adding white or light-colored seating is a stunning contrast in darker spaces. Just be aware that light-colored fabric tends to show dirt and stains a little more. So, if you have kids or the seats are going to be heavily used, I recommend white or light-stained wood. If you really want light upholstery, check out my tips to keep the fabric looking new.
Wood is another versatile choice. However, use caution when choosing a wood counter stool if you already have a wooden dining table and chairs. If they all have the same stain color it will end up overwhelming the space. In the opposite direction, mixing too many wood tones can also make a space unappealing and that defeats the whole purpose!
Things to consider
Just like styling a shelf, there are a few basic rules of thumb to keep in mind when coordinating or matching dining chairs and bar stools. I’ll go over a few of them so you know what to look for and what to avoid when hunting for the perfect seating. Each of these should be repeated at least once in a space to make everything feel thoughtful and cohesive.
- COLOR – If you find the perfect dining chairs, look for counter stools in a complementary color. As I mentioned above – black and white pretty much go with every style. But if you really want to add a pop of color, make sure it’s a muted shade that you’ll want to keep around for a long time.
- MATERIAL – This can be the fabric used for a cushion or the elements that the frame is made of – wood, metal, leather, linen, rattan, etc. I’ve always been a fan of natural materials so rattan is right up my alley. Mixed material pieces are always at the top of my list.
- WOOD TONE – Is your goal a classic home that will never go out of style? Pick something that isn’t too light or dark, and just a nice warm tone that sits somewhere in the middle. If you are coordinating chairs and stools, stay within the same family of wood tones.
The rattan counter stools in my kitchen match the hardwood floors, but it works because they contrast with the white cabinets and marble countertops. If you don’t want to match your stools or dining chairs to your wood floors, choose a lighter or darker shade that matched the tone of your floors.
Counter stool and chair pairs that just work
My goal is to provide inspiration for you to create a beautiful and functional home no matter your style. So, now for the good stuff! I’ve put together some examples of dining chairs and stools that I would pair together for both mixing and matching. You can’t go wrong with any combination of rattan, white or cream fabric, black details, or brown leather.
Versatile dining chairs
Linen dining chairs might not be everyone’s cup of tea. For those of you that love the look of upholstery but have small children, I understand your apprehension. The thought of dirty little fingers is enough to send you over the edge! But before you rule out light-colored fabric altogether, remember there are options!
There is a reason slipcovered dining chairs (or any furniture) have been popular for a long time. You get the aesthetics you are looking for and the practicality of tossing the covers right in the wash. The best of both worlds! My dining chairs only have a removable seat cushion cover, but they have held up for years.
One of the main reasons to choose a fabric chair is its versatility. As you can see in the image above, the dining chair in the center (mine!) can easily be paired with any of the stool options I showed above. If you find the perfect slip-covered dining chair, don’t be afraid to go for it. Finding a coordinating counter stool or bar stool will be a breeze!