Photo: Lisa Shin

Standout Stools

Used for centuries to pack in patrons at ye olde watering hole, backless stools are equally handy in a kitchen for keeping family close at the breakfast bar or as casual, convenient seating in any other room in the house. Where and how you use a stool is typically dictated by its height: 24 inches for enjoying a cup of coffee at a counter, 30 for pulling up to a raised bar, and 18 for paying bills at a sit-down desk. Some stools are adjustable with a telescoping seat that lets you crank 'em up or down depending on the height of the surface. From the myriad stools in the marketplace, we selected these 15 distinctive and versatile ones. In wood or metal, with bright paint or a classic shape (some have both!), you're sure to find a stool to fit your needs, personal style, and wallet.

Tip: For comfort at a countertop bar, space stools 24 inches apart to provide elbow room. Stools with swiveling seats need 26 to 30 inches for knee clearance.
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