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2012 - Spring Issue
Casas Bonitas
Home Furnishings
Article: Jessica Muncrief
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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One of the most exciting aspects of decorating a home is selecting the furniture. Whether your style preferences lean towards modern, traditional, rustic or retro, the furniture you choose forms the basis of your overall design theme. However, unlike art and other elements of décor, furniture must also be functional. While most people wouldn't select a sofa without trying it out and ensuring it fits comfortably in the room, the same care is often overlooked when selecting smaller pieces of furniture. Bar stools are great opportunities to bring interest and eye-candy to a room and there are many, exciting options on the market. However, not all bar stools are created equal, so to ensure you get maximum enjoyment out of your selection, take some consideration in choosing the best stools for your home.

Selecting a bar stool that is the correct height is the most important factor in ensuring functionality and comfort. To expedite the shopping process, measure the height of your bar or counter before you head to the furniture store. You want to find stools that are 10-12 inches lower than your surface area. Go in knowing if you are looking for counter height seats, which are generally 24-26 inches tall (at the seat level, not necessarily the highest point) or bar height seats which are typically 30-32 inches tall.

Horizontal dimensions are no less important as this will determine how many bar stools can comfortably fit in the area. As a general rule, you will want to allow 26-30 inches of space between the centers of each seat. Keep in mind however that swivel stools and stools with armrests will require even more space to be utilized comfortably. If you aren't sure you are going to be comfortable, err on the side of caution and leave six inches between each chair.

Think also about how you to plan to use the bar stools because this will help determine what features you need. For example, a large family might require adjustable stools so the height can be customized to the different individuals. Do you regularly have large gatherings at your home? If you plan on using your bar stools for extra seating, consider that backless stools without armrests are not comfortable for long periods of time. Even if you think you have found the perfect stools for your bar or counter area, take a second to think about the materials used in its construction. Wood and leather are very durable and, if taken care of properly, they can last for many years. However, prolonged exposure to the sun, heat and humidity can damage these materials, so take placement into consideration. Upholstery is often cozy and comfortable, but spills often result in stains. Vinyl is a good choice for families with children.

Fortunately, there are plenty of style options available, no matter what features you are looking for in a bar stool. There is no need to settle, all you need is measuring tape and a little forethought to be sure you get the best bar stools for your home and family. ///
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