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Rest Your Arms
Need your bar- or counter stool to solve a problem? These options make life easier -- whether you’re looking for something super-plush so you can sit in comfort, or something super-durable that works indoors and out.
“Stools aren’t just ancillary and decorative,” says MSL decorating director Kevin Sharkey. “You need to be able to actually use them.” If your island is your main dining table, for instance, invest in substantial stools with arm- and backrests, like this handsome caned bar number. Bonus feature: The seat is removable for easy reupholstering.
Bella cane counter stool, in Rustic Black, $379, ballarddesigns.com
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Give It a Spin
Seats that can swivel are wonderful additions to extra-large kitchens or great rooms, because they allow you to follow the action. Gelco’s generously sized stool, featuring a high spindle back, turns 360 degrees and comes in both bar and counter heights. The two foot bars work for petite and tall folks alike.
Parawood Copenhagen swivel counter stool, in Unfinished, $99, gelcofurniture.com
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Materials: Linen & Foam
If softness and support are top priorities, try something that’s padded and upholstered. This sturdy counter stool, covered in linen and embellished with a nailhead trim, puts comfort at a premium: Its cushioned seat and gently rounded backrest encourage lingering over leisurely meals.
Corinne barstool, in Linen, $250, pier1.com
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Adjust the Height
The workhorse of stools allows you to change its height to fit your needs. Crate & Barrel’s trim, stylish model lowers to 24 inches for use at a standard 36-inch kitchen counter and raises to 30 inches for use at a bar-height counter (or drafting table!).
Turner Gunmetal barstool, in Black Oxidized Iron, $229, crateandbarrel.com
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Take It Outside
If you like to entertain in your yard or on your deck, consider stools that can double as outdoor seating. A powder-coated metal version, like this blue counter stool, can withstand the elements. It’s also perfect for families with young kids. “You can take it outside and literally hose it down if necessary,” says home editor Lorna Aragon.
Garden counter stool, in Blue, $179, homedecorators.com