Interior designer Kristen Ridler shares her recent obsession

Kristen Ridler

Considered the “jewelry of the kitchen” by interior designer Kristen Ridler, barstools add an unexpected touch of color and interesting architectural lines to any culinary center, as well as basements, patios, media rooms and game rooms.

Regardless of their designated space, barstools have become a focal point, featuring an array of fabrics, frames and shapes that complement or contrast any specific style. Give a traditional kitchen modern seating options or slide in a barstool with brushed brass or chrome legs for a classic, polished look.

“I also love the lush fabrics of bright velvets, as well as the look of suede and matte-finished leather,” she says. “These days, I’m especially drawn to mohair-upholstered stools. They are glamorously masculine and feature a slight sheen, perfect in a dark bar or media room.”

With so many options on the market, how do you choose? First, define their purpose. Do you need durability for children or guests? Prefer added comfort to style? Or does backless interest you?

Then, nail down the required height to make sure your top pick is appropriate for the space, keeping in mind barstool arms can take up more room than you think. For a 40- to 42-inch countertop, you need a barstool that sits 29 to 32 inches high; for a 36-inch countertop, look for a counter stool (a shorter barstool) that is 23 to 28 inches high.

After measurements have been taken and the hunt has begun, “don’t be afraid to go bold,” Ridler says. After all, jewelry, in any shape or form, is supposed to draw friends in and spark conversation.

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