Stool vs Chair

Difference Between Chair & a Stool

Choosing a Stool or Chair for Your Dining Room

When deciding on stools vs. chairs for your dining room, kitchen or home bar, a few design elements require some thought. Both types of seating have their merits, so it’s best to choose the chairs or stools that fit your available space, needs and decor.

Stools and Chairs Defined

Stools can have three or four legs or a pedestal base. Made from a variety of materials, stools can feature a painted, stained or metallic finish as well as cozy upholstery. Some pieces offer a backrest, while others are backless. Counter-height, bar-height and standard table models are also widely available.

Streamlined stools make excellent seating for kitchen islands as well as dining tables.
Streamlined stools make excellent seating for kitchen islands as well as dining tables.

Conversely, chairs typically have four legs, a seat, and a back. Both arm chair designs and armless side chairs are popular styles for dining room layouts. Gorgeous cherry or light wood side chairs and polished chrome seats, with or without upholstery or cushions, provide comfortable seating around standard dining tables, and other sizes are also readily available.

Dining chairs provide comfortable seating for multi-course meals and daily family dinners.

Space-Saving Seating

Stools may work better than chairs if you’re decorating a small space. Stool sets typically have a smaller footprint, and backless models tuck away easily beneath a table or counter. In contrast, dining chair designs can take up more room and may not fit entirely under a table, which can be a problem if you need to conserve square footage.

Stools that store neatly under tabletops help create dining spaces without sacrificing square footage.
Stools that store neatly under tabletops help create dining spaces without sacrificing square footage.

Choosing Chairs for Comfort

Ergonomic design and support are additional factors to consider when choosing between stool vs. chair sets. Think about the following elements when selecting chairs or stools for your home:

  • Dining chairs with full backrests provide support while you enjoy meals, which can be a better option for older adults and children who want or need a little extra comfort.
  • Adjustable height chairs and stools make seating more accessible and comfier for family members and friends who are taller or shorter than average.
  • Footrests on barstools give diners a bit more support while chatting or sipping cocktails at a home bar.
  • Padded upholstery or plush cushions ensure guests have a cozy seat from the appetizer course to dessert.
  • Stools with swivel motion make keeping up with lively conversations a breeze.

Decorating with Stools vs. Chairs

For a minimalist or industrial room, simple wood or metal stools offer authentic texture and streamlined designs. A rustic style bar with an upholstered stool set is also a winner. On the other hand, light wood arm chairs create a laid-back cottage chic look, while velvet dining chair sets come in an array of hues and patterns to complement your color palette.

Both stools and chairs offer plenty of colors and finishes to suit your room design and palette.
Both stools and chairs offer plenty of colors and finishes to suit your room design and palette.

Are Stools or Chairs Right for You?

When choosing stools and chairs, there are plenty of hybrid options to consider as well. For example, bar height stools often include backs and arms, which are great for kitchen islands or counters. Whichever type of stool or dining chair you select, taking space, comfort and decor into consideration will help you find the perfect fit.