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Stools are a favorite decorating tool for designers, and it's clear why: Extra seating is never a bad idea, and they can bring a splash of color or texture to a dull space without the commitment of hanging art or painting the walls.

And while they do subtly enhance a room much like a brightly patterned settee or accent chair, stools are less aesthetically risky because they're usually bought in pairs, which means the color or print will be naturally repeated.

Of course, the type of stool you need depends on your countertop arrangement, which varies from home to home.

Measurements are crucial when shopping for stools, and designers recommend leaving about 12 inches of space between the height of the stool and the height of the counter to keep guests comfortable (most counters measure 36 inches high, so look for stools that are around 24 inches). It's also worth noting that bar stools and counter stools are not the same; bar height is closer to 40 inches, which means bar stools will often be 28 to 30 inches high.

Placement is fairly obvious: The stools should slide right up to the counter's edge. And be sure to mind the seat's depth, especially if you're planning to arrange seating between an island and a nearby wall. Round stools, or stools with rounded edges, come in handy in spaces like this because they allow guests to swivel and face each other comfortably without feeling squished.

If there's no room in the kitchen for any seating, try creating a small, makeshift counter in the living room with a high pub table. They typically measure counter height (36 inches) if not higher, and take up about as much as space as a thin desk. Many come with a pair of matching stools that tuck underneath like nesting tables.

There's a stool for pretty much any decorating style. Windsor-back are popular in traditional homes and look great in a room with a high ceiling, and saddle stools with perforated leather seats can look nice in a setting with more masculine design.

Source: Washington Post

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