Stylish Ways to Dress Up Kitchen Stools

Think twice before buying new kitchen seating. With these 8 easy makeover ideas, you can upgrade your stools to fit your design style.

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Go for the Gold

Gold and other metallic finishes continue to rise in popularity. To match your seating to your stylish surroundings, spray-paint your stools a warm shade of gold. Here, the standout color matches overhead light fixtures, faucets, and cabinet hardware.

When buying new stools, consider the height of your island. Most kitchen islands range between 35 and 39 inches. For comfortable leg room, your seat height should be between 24 and 27 inches. Adjustable barstools with hydraulic pumps are a good option to fit a variety of tables and countertops.

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Sitting Pretty

Dress up your kitchen seating with a beautiful fabric slipcover that covers the seat and back of your island stools. Opt for a playful print to add pattern to an otherwise utilitarian space. Learn how to make these DIY kitchen stool slipcovers.

Color Pop

Make your stools pop by painting them a color that's complementary to your island. First, find your kitchen's dominant color (in this case, blue) on a color wheel. The complementary color is on the opposite side. Here, orange stools with plush cushions make a bold statement against the island, while other pops of citrus shades make an appearance throughout the kitchen.

If you choose to make your own seat cushions, we recommend making box-edge cushions for maximum comfort. This pattern uses extra-loft batting, foam, and fleece-lined fabric—a big improvement from a metal seat!

Mix and Match

When looking for kitchen seating, don't be confined to a single set. Mixing up different styles and colors can make a big statement. Look for a variety of seating with a common element. Distressed metal stools with seats painted in a palette of bright colors look good individually but make a statement when mixed together.

When painting metal stools, use metal-approved spray paint in a high-sheen finish. Glossy paints are more durable and stand up to the test of time. Try a color-blocking technique by using painters tape to cover the stool legs before spraying.

Embellished Dining

Plain white stools are a dime a dozen, but there are easy and inexpensive ways to dress them up. A paint job could do the trick, but for an upgrade that doesn't involve drying time, embellish the seats with ribbon. Use fabric glue to adhere a strip of colorful ribbon to the base of your cushion. Complete the look with nailhead trim, using a ruler to evenly space nailheads and gently tapping them into the cushion with a rubber mallet. The small change is subtle but makes a big difference.

Vintage Chic

If shabby chic is your design aesthetic, you might want to think twice before you buy those secondhand stools from the thrift shop. Old, rusty chairs may look good as decor, but they can be dangerous as functional seating. Instead, give your existing set of stools a vintage makeover. As your fresh coat of paint dries, use a separate bristled paintbrush to lightly wipe away scratches of paint for a distressed look.

Be Bold

Natural wood is refreshing in a kitchen filled with high-tech appliances and shiny, smooth surfaces. Warm up your space by staining a solid set of wood stools. Before you begin, be sure to sand the entire surface, smoothing down any dings or scratches. If your finish is dull after the stain, try adding a coat of wipe-on polyurethane.

More Stain Projects

Fresh Fabric

Upholstered stools look lavish and extra comfy, but that all goes away once the fabric starts to show wear and tear. Instead of throwing away expensive seating, simply reupholster the fabric. Carefully remove old fabric to use as a pattern for your new upholstery. If your stools have batting, you'll want to replace that as well for renewed comfort. 

Learn more about reupholstering a seat here.

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