Bar Stools to Brighten Up a Rental Apartment
Q: I live in a NYC rental apartment with my two roommates. We want to do something to personalize the common areas more, but we aren't allowed to paint the walls or anything. We were talking about maybe getting some new stools for our counter to replace the ones that were left by the previous tenant. Any suggestions?
- John C., New York, NY
A: In a word...YES! Your counter stools are the perfect opportunity to introduce a little color and personality to the space, without making any alterations to the apartment itself. It can be really hard in a rental--especially one that is shared with two other people with all different tastes--to make it feel like you own. I've got a few different suggestions for some fun stools that would look great in your space. But first, a few tips for buying new stools.
Bar or Counter Stools?
The first thing in to determine whether or not you need bar height or counter height stools to ensure that you order the correct size. The easiest way to figure this out is to look at your kitchen sink--if the counter space where the stools will go is at the same level as the sink (or other prep space), you'll need standard counter height stools. If the counter space where the stools will go is higher than your sink/prep space (i.e there is a "step" up), then you're probably looking at bar height stools. So be sure to check first and buy accordingly. You don't provide dimensions in your question, but judging by the picture you sent, it looks like you need counter height stools.
How Many Stools Should I Get?
A good rule of thumb is to allow 30" for each seating spot. There's a little flexibility on this number, especially if you order very petite or narrow stools without arms, but dividing the length of the counter space by 30 is a great place to start. Just by looking at your photograph, I'd recommend considering three stools, rather than the four you currently have. With just three stools, you'll give yourself a little more elbow room, and visually, the stools will sit more comfortably in the space. I'm guessing no one ever actually sits in that fourth stool against the wall anyway since it's tight against the wall and the counter space is eaten up by the drying rack. Plus you can buy better stools for your overall budget if you're only buying three ;)
Got It! So Which Stools Should I Buy?
Right, so back to your original question! Here's a roundup of some of my favorite (counter height!!) stools. For anyone reading along with taller counters, many of them also come in bar height.
First, a selection with backs, since that is what you've currently got going on:
And here are a few without backs, for a sleeker, space-saving set up:
Hope you are able to find something in here that all three of you can agree on!
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