The Best Bar Stool Styles for Kids
Having children doesn’t have to inhibit beautiful or functional home styling. Although these little people in our lives can be messy and rambunctious, and need to be factored into the pieces we purchase, overall, designing a home with your kids in mind just requires a little care. So, don’t throw out your favourite furniture pieces just yet! A home with kids can still be clean, organised and chic, even if there are a few more plastic toys lying around than before…
We’re taking it to the kitchen and breaking down the things you should consider when purchasing bar stools with children in mind. These pieces can be heavy, they’re up high – a potential safety concern with young ones – and often are made of materials like leather or upholstered with fabric. If bar stools are a non-negotiable in your home, it’s possible to find options that are completely child-friendly and still look great, fitting your existing style. Keep these things in mind when you’re going through the selection process…
DESIGN AND FUNCTIONALITY
Let’s start off by evaluating the overall design of your bar stool. This will encompass things like height, weight and frame style, so it’s an important place to start, as these are some of the greatest considerations you’ll need to make with kids. It’ll be the make or break between a safe place for them to perch for homework, meals and more, and a no-kids-allowed zone.
Several features will make a bar stool a kid-friendly option, such as the material and any features that enhance its safety. Here are a few things to look out for.
A solid, stable bar stool with a heavier base is likely a better option for children, especially younger ones (under 8 years old). They won’t be strong enough to pull or push the bar stool off the ground, meaning there’s no risk of it falling on them, or conversely, them falling off it while sitting. A wobbly bar stool is always a no-go, but in particular with little ones to think about – there’s nothing worse than constantly having to monitor them in fear they’ll fall off or the bar stool will topple over.
Wooden options are your best bet as a result, as this material is inherently heavier and bulkier. Thankfully, there are also wood options available to slot perfectly in with any style and existing home design, so it won’t be hard to find the right fit. Kid safety and a beautiful, long-lasting bar stool that’ll be a part of your home for ages? Check.
The legs of your bar stool also play a huge role in whether it’s child-friendly or not, although this might not be apparent at first. Narrow, straight legs don’t distribute the weight of the stool and the user as much as wide-splayed legs do, so inherently, the latter will be sturdier and better at accommodating small, squirming humans!
Make sure your bar stool has a crossbar if you want some added reinforcement. The other positive of a crossbar at the bottom of the stool is ease of access – kids love to be independent, so it’s almost certain they’ll want to climb on the stool themselves rather than with your help. The crossbar provides a platform for them to use to hoist themselves up into the seat, ready for a meal or to sit at the kitchen bench to do activities.
Bar stools come in a few standard sizes, but ultimately, you’ll really just want to find something that suits the height of your bench. A downfall here is that a height that suits kids will almost certainly not work for adults, and vice versa. It’s important there’s enough clearance for adults to sit comfortably at the kitchen bench, so you may need to grab a flat cushion or similar to raise up younger kids.
Want to know more about bar stool sizing? Read our guide to choosing the right bar stool height.
We’ve established that wood is a go-to for a bar stool, as it’s tough, heavy and won’t topple over with ease. But, as much as you can prevent the piece from falling over, chances are that with kids it may take a tumble or two – even if that’s just during a boisterous game of tag! So, it’s key that you opt for something that will resist chips, cracks and dents as much as possible.
Popular bar stool materials include ash and beech, as they’re durable and strong enough to handle the occasional fall. Whatever you do, make sure to check for any nicks or scrapes on the stool (and of course, your children if they’re involved!) after the fact, and polish up as necessary.
Backrests are a fantastic feature if you use your bar stools regularly – they let you lean back, chill out and enjoy your meal or activity in a comfortable manner. Children are wont to squirm, move around and play escape artist on any given day, so a backrest is a great addition if you want them to stay put in a bar stool (for instance, if you eat family dinners at the kitchen bench). Plus, it’ll give them a way to lean back safely.
Higher backrests are generally a better option, as they fully support the back, and so, will prevent your kids from overbalancing or falling backward. It’s important to note that if you have a particularly mobile child who loves to squirm, swing or wiggle in chairs, a bar stool may not be the right choice – further away from the ground, there’s more room to fall off or hurt themselves than on a regular chair at a dining table.
Whether you’re seven or 70, spills happen – it’s just a fact of life! Bar stools are particularly susceptible to spillage, as you’re likely to be eating when using them, pulled up to a kitchen bench or high dining table. As a result, don’t forget to consider any upholstery on the bar stools, and determine before you purchase whether both you and your tiny tots can keep them looking good.
Light colours and easily marked fabrics, such as cotton and linen, may not be the way to go, especially if your children are young. Instead, opt for darker colours, like blues, greys and blacks, and material that’s easier to clean. Leather is wipeable, making it a great option if you can get to the spills in time. However, leather is expensive, so if you’re the kind to leave stains for a while, then it might not be the best choice. Vinyl serves a similar purpose and can look great, but is a fraction of the price.
Finally, think about any additional features that may make your bar stool choice more or less suitable for the kiddos. For instance, many bar stools have a swivel function, but depending on your family, this could be a total no-go. Kids are far more likely to want to swing back and forth, turning your new bar stool purchase into an accident waiting to happen. The only thing that’s worse, in this case, than your child falling off a bar stool is them falling off a bar stool while it swings from side to side…
Another add-on that, unlike the swivel, is worth considering for all families is armrests. Bar stools with armrests are incredibly comfortable, and give kids a place to rest and balance their weight while using the seat. Pushed up close to the bench or table, this is the next best thing to strapping them into a high chair – and, it works at almost any age!
BAR STOOL STYLES
Now that we’ve exhaustively covered the safety features and potential hazards of the bar stool, you’ll likely be feeling pretty confident in the functionality of your new piece. However, what about the aesthetic? Just as important, your bar stools need to look good and suit the existing style and decor of the room. Even though the key focus is making them kid-friendly, that doesn’t mean you need to compromise taste.
Classic and French provincial
These like-minded styles are perfect for families with kids, as a bar stool in this style will likely have all of those bells and whistles we’ve spoken about, like arm and back rests. Classic traditional and French provincial pieces are often made of wood, a sturdy choice, and although cream and white are musts in this style, grey and navy blue also work a treat if stains are on your mind.
Modern style doesn’t exactly scream functional – especially with little ones at home. It’s characterised by clean, sharp lines, metal and dark tones. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a suitable bar stool that’s both modern and appropriate for children, as long as you know what to look for. Stay away from swivels and light metal frames, and instead, opt for something weighted that still has that modern flair. There are ways to still tie into modern design without the piece being perfectly in-theme.
Another style that lends itself well to a child-friendly home is Scandi. This style is all about light wood, neutral colour tones and simple construction, and there are bar stools that fit these specifications that also satisfy the safety and practicality aspects of your selection. Something with a backrest and upholstery just on the seat might be a good fit – such as the Bianca Set of 2 Bar Stools.
Of course, you can make practically any style work as long as you try to adhere as best as possible to our kid-friendly considerations. Plus, not all children are the same, so where some may be rambunctious and full of energy, others may be more reserved and find sitting still on a bar stool an easier task. Take add-ons like back and armrests and crossbars into account before purchasing, as these little extras will not only give you peace of mind, but they’ll help your child navigate using the bar stool.
So, what are you waiting for? Make family meals fantastic by adding some bar stools into the mix in your kitchen or at a high dining table. Brosa offers a huge range of bar stools across styles, including modern contemporary, classic traditional, Scandinavian and mid-century modern. Shop our bar stools and much more with flexible payment options, virtual styling services and Australia-wide shipping on offer.