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The Ultimate Counter & Bar Stool Roundup

Hey all, I’m traveling, speaking, hanging out in New York this week, but we can’t let perfectly good bar and counter stools lay around without being rounded up. As you know, searching for the perfect stool that is both comfortable, beautiful, and affordable is not an easy task especially when that search happens to be online where you don’t have any context of size, finish, and quality (photo above by Ellen, owner of Amsterdam Modern and those stools are vintage). So to aid you in your search, we’ve pulled together 60 of our favorites that we wouldn’t be ashamed to have in our space.

Before we get into them, let’s go through a few basic rules when it comes to bar stools vs. counter stools and which will work for your space. Bar stools got their name from, you guessed it – the bar, so as you know they are much higher than your typical kitchen counter. They range anywhere from 28-33″ and work best for counters or bars that are 42″ in height. Be sure to measure your countertop height before you go out and buy as most kitchens don’t have counters that tall so these may not be the best option for your space. They do work well for built-in bars, worktop seating, or cocktail table seating (not that you have a floating cocktail table in your house – but if you do, I will be over for happy hour soon). You will also want to keep in mind that since you are sitting so high when in these chairs, you may appreciate a back or armrest to help you relax a bit into the chair and not feel like you are going to fall off. My personal favorites: 1 (its simple and classic shape), 17 (its perfect mix of rattan and woven material and somewhere to lean back as I sip my drink), 24 (hello $39 price tag), and 30 (leather and iron – yes please).

Barstool_Emily Henderson_Roundup_Affordable_MidCentury_Chair_Budget_Best Barstools

1. Vienna Stool | 2.  Coleman Stool | 3. Raskog Stool | 4. Perch Stool | 5. Bend Stool | 6. Wexler Stool | 7. Reverb Stool | 8. Safavieh Stool | 9. Cushioned Stool | 10. Barley Stool | 11. Wishbone Stool | 12. Vig Stool | 13. Gubi Stool | 14. Daily Stool | 15. Javanese Stool | 16. Schoolhouse Stool | 17. Riviera Stool | 18. Wrap Stool | 19. Hot Mesh Stool | 20. Acrylic Stool | 21. Tailored Stool | 22. Flint Gold Stool | 23. Zip Stool | 24. Dalfred Stool | 25. Curran Crema Stool | 26. Duro Stool | 27. Elston Swivel Stool | 28. Grant Fabric Stool | 29. Carrie Stool | 30. Roadhouse Leather Stool

Now, lets move onto counter height stools. These guys typically range from 24-27″ in seat height and will fit under most standard island counters. Due to the fact that they are not quite as tall as the former, you can get away with a little bit less support in the back and arm area, and have a little more fun with the design and shape of them. I’d be happy to add 2, 11, 19, and 29 to my cart.

Counterstool_Emily Henderson_Roundup_Affordable_MidCentury_Chair_Budget_Best Counterstool

1. Nicole Counter Stool | 2. Sidecar Stool | 3. Tig Stool | 4. Leather Stool | 5. Kens Stool | 6. Oviedo Stool | 7. Wire Stool | 8. Scholar Stool | 9. John Vogel Stool | 10. Metal Stool | 11. Swivel Stool | 12. Quincy Stool | 13. Portland Stool | 14. Machinist Stool | 15. Silver Stool | 16. Abacus Stool | 17. Jays Stool | 18. Ammon Stool | 19. Emerson Stool | 20. Country Stool | 21. Cabin Stool | 22. Riviera Stool | 23. Bend Goods Stool | 24. Carlisle Stool | 25. Carson Stool | 26. Safavieh Stool | 27. Slope Stool | 28. PO Stool | 29. Muuto Nerd Stool | 30. Asti Stool

Which ones are your favorites and more importantly what are you ready to see in our next roundup series? We have a few more in the works based on your suggestions from the last posts, but love to keep them as relevant as possible, so comment below and let us know what you are craving.

In the meantime, check out some more roundups: 9 Lovely Dinnerware Combos, 7 Affordable Kitchen Designs, 48 Budget Friendly Kitchen Hardware Knobs & Pulls.

***Photography by David Tsay


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7 years ago

Very nice thanks for sharing lovely post.

7 years ago

It never ceases to amaze me how much solid content you guys produce every single week. I find myself pinning everything, and I’m always excited to see what the next day’s post has in store.

Keep up the great work!

7 years ago

I love all of these round-ups! It’s so helpful to see so many options in one place!

I was going to suggest an “affordable art round-up,” but after some googling, I realized that you’d already done it! You guys are really pros 🙂

7 years ago

We have three Perch counter stools (you show it in the bar stool version), and I love them! The wood seat is so lovely and each one is totally unique. I love that they tuck nicely under our island so they aren’t in the way, yet they still make a statement. However, they doesn’t play nice with the newly finished hardwood floors we have. The felt pads we put on them just won’t stay put, so it’s scratching and indenting our floors. Anyone have any suggestions??

7 years ago
Reply to  Jamie

I have the same problem with our yellow powdercoat Perch stools – they keep indenting the floor. I wasn’t able to get felt pads to stick, but I bought a larger area rug, and they now sit on that cushion instead of directly on the hardwood.
I adore the stools though and don’t want to change them out!

7 years ago
Reply to  Jamie

could you do some kind of twine or leather wrap (i’m picturing a piece of leather that has holes that you lace shut.) around the leg that’s a loop (if i’m seeing the chair correctly…as for the other legs i’m at a complete loss. that’s a tough question! But, twine/leather/wood of some kind came to mind right away. (this i not helpful at all…but maybe a springboard for someone else!)

7 years ago

I would love to see a rug runner round up. I know you’ve done rugs, but I’m in serious need of a runner for an entry hallway and would love ssome ideas. I’ve found some good ones, but I’d love to see what your team could come up with.

7 years ago
Reply to  stephiez

She did that recently! Here is the link:

7 years ago

Bar height #20 and counter height #6 are my faves!

7 years ago

Please do a bamboo shade round up! And are more expensive ones worth it? Should they match your wood floors or be lighter?

7 years ago

The #26 bar height picture doesn’t match the link 🙁

7 years ago
Reply to  Brooke

Good catch! We have swapped out the link for the correct one. xx

7 years ago
Reply to  Brady

#9 bar height is listed as $199 but it’s actually $209 for TWO! I wish it was in counter height. I’d order them.

7 years ago

I just ordered a power couple (table and chair combo from an older post). Thank you.

I’d actually LOVE to see clothing pairing. I know this is a home blog, but it’s your all around personal style that I love.

I’m also still holding my breath for the makeup tutorial guest post you mentioned a couple times.
Also, your baby bird put such a smile on my face yesterday. All the best to you!

7 years ago

A roundup/tutorial on island pendants would be helpful. We just purchased some on Etsy, but finding ones we loved in the right size drove me bonkers. I’d find ones we’d love, only to have them come in too small of a diameter. The island pendants were probably the most frustrating part of designing our kitchen.

7 years ago

Thanks very much for the roundup! How about accent tables? Bar carts?

7 years ago

If only I had the need for stools in my house! I am really liking these roundup posts, but I realized you haven’t done a craigslist city tour in a while. Do you have any of those planned in the future? Maybe Baltimore (cough cough)?

7 years ago
Reply to  Shira

I second this! Those CL posts were some of my favorites. They really helped refine my eye for vintage finds. (I’m also in Baltimore, wink, wink.)

7 years ago
Reply to  Rachel

“They really helped refine my eye for vintage finds” – I second this. More craigslist city tours, or just vintage advice posts in general, please! 🙂

7 years ago

Love your content & your book! I’ve been telling my husband that you’re my spirit animal!

I’d love to see a roundup of kitchen islands/worktables that can also be used with counter height stools to double as seating since everyone always hangs in the kitchen during dinner parties.


7 years ago

Yes! This awesome. I’ve been in the market for some barstools to go in my kitchen. I recently bought the Madeleine chair from RH for my kitchen table but wanted something contrasting to go at the bar. Loving the idea of #12, #18, or #22…

7 years ago

A few months ago, after my toddler took a terrifying spill by falling off the back of one of our kitchen counter stools (similar in style to #4) and her head hit our wood floor with a sickening thud, I immediately took them to the garage and then to the Salvation Army. I wasn’t attached to the style and they were clearly NOT kid friendly. Gah, I have a lump in my throat just typing this because it was so awful. ANYWAY, we someday want to replace our kitchen countertops to create an overhang that will be more conducive to counter sitting but that’s down the road. In the meantime, those John Vogel stools from West Elm are screaming my name and look like they’d be more secure; no falling off the back, in any event.

So I thank you. As does my little girl’s very hard (and hopefully unmarred) cranium.

7 years ago

Thank you so much for your Roundup posts. I have a friend who is starting over and I’m helping him decorate his new apartment. Because he was absolutely financially decimated in a divorce settlement, he has nothing. Your posts really help me because it has such a wide variety of price points. It brings light to an otherwise sade situation.

7 years ago

Coffee table round up next please

7 years ago

This post is godsent!!! Thank you for doing all the work!!! Amazing roundup

7 years ago

What about a round-up of things to fill a large blank wall (like my bedroom wall)?

7 years ago

I’d love to see a round up of dining room chandeliers.

7 years ago

I am at a loss for a good dining room table + chairs. SO MANY OPTIONS, but a lot of very expensive ones. I’d love to see your ideas for ones you love!!

7 years ago

Emily, I am saddened by the recommendation of so many copy products on your list. Please get behind real designer original furniture. Some of the copy products here are made in China, using lead based paint and formaldehyde (materials industry have fought so hard to remove from manufacturing in the US). Some stools are even dangerous, a Tolix stool copy has been withdrawn from the market in Australia after children lost toes from the sharp edges of the legs. An investment in a real, quality product is just that, an investment. Bertoia, Eames, Jacobsen, Wagner, originals keep their value and and having used my Fritz Hansen table and chairs for over 20 years I can personally vouch for this.

7 years ago
Reply to  Caitlin

I love everything you do Emily but second this comment; unauthorised copies of original designs are not ok in any way.

7 years ago

Not sure if you included any stools from Industry West (I have yet to click on each link) but I have been very happy with ours. They are well-made, sturdy, & comfortable. I searched high and low for months for affordable stylish counter stools and I’m so glad I found them.

7 years ago

Emily, there just have to be attractive options for fire pits or bowls. Pretty please can your team find them?

Brittany C
7 years ago

I would love to have seen bar height benches…something that seats at least 2 people. Do those exist?

7 years ago

I second dining room light fixtures round up!

7 years ago

This roundup is wonderful!

Does anyone have any suggestions for extra tall stools? The counter in the apartment I am renting is 47″ and I am having one heck of a time finding anything that would be tall enough!

7 years ago

Thank you so much for all of these roundups! They’ve come at just the right time since we’re moving from a small space to a much larger one and need a lot of new furniture.

Not sure if these would be roundups, but I’d love to see posts about paint sheens and the best lightbulbs you’ve found for daylight and warm/neutral light.

7 years ago

PLEASE do a dining room chandelier round up. I am having the hardest time figuring out what to do above my long (seats 10) rectangular dining table. I have canned lights now and no fixture.

A round up with more than just modern sputnik-style pendants/chandeliers would be so appreciated!!

7 years ago
Reply to  Grace

I second this. I know you just did a lighting roundup, but it didn’t really help me. What does the avg homeowner in a basic colonial 1950ish home in Midwest suburbia put over the kitchen table in an eclectic open floor plan? Thinking a drum style pendant, but not finding the right look. Some of us can’t go to far out with this sort of thing or the house looks overdone for what it is. Hope that makes sense.

7 years ago
Reply to  Grace

I would love it if you could possibly include some traditional chandeliers in a round up! Our house is open concept & the foyer, living room, and dining room can all be seen at once and I’m in desperate need of better light fixtures.

On that note, it would be FANTASTIC if you could give some tips on how to choose lighting for these difficult situations where the home requires similar lighting, but it cannot be too similar. (Unfortunately, every space must have a chandelier because the ceilings are vaulted, so the foyer is really high, the living room is crazy-dark w/a super high ceiling, and the dining room is quite formal.)

A little help for the traditionalists out there would be so incredibly appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 [Plus, I live in a design desert so I wouldn’t even trust the local “professionals” to be able to help me.] HELP US PLEASE, Emily!! <3

7 years ago

I’m glad that you shared this helpful information with us.

7 years ago

I love these! I would be very interested in a round-up on nightstands – particularly ones that go with a reclaimed wood headboard – I have been in a holding pattern for the past few years because I can’t figure out what to do!

7 years ago

What about a list of affordable nursery gliders/rockers? It can be hard to find attractive ones that aren’t super expensive!

7 years ago

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7 years ago

I like the bar in the kitchen
It helps me enjoy coffee in the morning, read the book before have afternoon lunch and enjoy a glass of wine in the evening.

7 years ago

We bought the navy version of the Serena and lily riviera stool 4 weeks ago for our new white kitchen and we absolutely love them!!! I get so many complements on them too.

Love your round ups! I’d love to see something on shelving, book cases, etc… We’d love to put built-ins on either side of our fire place but need a temporary solution for storage and that still looks good until we can afford it.

Good post !! I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand.