Lessons From A Small House :: Why Our Counter Stools Were All Wrong

relax

My house teaches me things.

Every house has and usually, if I pay attention, I can learn a lot about what is and isn’t working by simply paying attention to how people are using our home.

kitchen 2stool source

Shortly after we moved in I purchased four of these metal and wood stools. I love them! They are such a nice contrast to the quartz counters and white cabs.

But within a few weeks of having them in my house, and watching how we interacted with them, I knew there was a problem.

We avoided the stools.

They are cold, and sharp, and because the bottom of the legs come out farther than what you expect if you are just looking at the top, they often tripped people–and us, and even drew blood! BLOOD! Because of a cute counter stool!

I decided we could deal with it. What’s a little blood, right?

In my old house I could get away with uncomfortable seating in some areas–like at the bar, because our house was bigger and there was never a need for anyone to sit at the kitchen bar for a long time.

But here’s the thing, when you live in a smaller house, EVERY CHAIR COUNTS.

Every hiney holder has to play its part, and if you have 10 people who need to eat dinner and no one wants to sit at the bar because they know they could be stuck there for an hour, it’s time to make a change.

bar stoolsource

Two and a half years later I faced the facts that I bought the wrong stools, and I bought the most comfy, warm, non-tripping stools I could find.

Lucky for us we can use the old metal stools on our “stage” at the barn– we were constantly moving them over there and back anyway.

kitchen

Ahhhh.

seating

And for the record, the same applies to our kitchen table.

We have a small family room, so when we host a crowd–like we did a few days last week, the wives end up sitting at the table ALL DAY LONG and coloring and chatting and laughing, and because there’s really no place else in the house for us to go, it’s a life saver (tush-saver?) to have soft, comfy seats at the table instead of a bunch of wooden chairs.

Thank you house for teaching me things.

In a small house, ever seat should be comfortable.

Comfy chairs 4Ever.

***

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And if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to claim your free Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning kit — find out more here, offer ends the Friday!

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Comments

  1. Oh I hear you on the comfy counter chairs! We bought some comfy chairs very similar to yours except ours are covered with vinyl. We’ve had them for 3 or 4 years and due to hard use, it’s time to replace them. We will get the same chairs because of comfort and clean-ability. We have 8 grandkids and they are always sitting up to the counter so the vinyl chairs make for a comfortable, carefree seat.

    • I used to think replacing something with the exact same thing was a cop out–now I realize that it means you were simply right the first time!! Well done!

  2. Amen to this! We have lived in our house for almost 17 years, and in that time the house has gone from 2 bedrooms to 5 bedrooms! as a result, our living space has drastically been reduced. I am constantly evaluating how to make the best use of our space and I actually enjoy the challenge. It really teaches me a lot! For example, there is a lot of stuff we really don’t need. Anyway, I think may consider more comfy chairs for our kitchen table!

  3. Your navy velvet chairs are my favorite.

    LOVE those new bar “stools”. Can you really call them stools? They are too pretty for a weird looking word.

  4. I’ve been thinking of this lately. we have two wooden chairs in our living room. They were each $10 at a garage sale and I think they are beautiful. But no one wants to sit in a wooden chair if they can help it! I know our budget does not afford a new chair (maybe a used one?) But I’m pretty sure I can afford a cushion for the seat so that is my next move. comfy chairs here I come! ;)

  5. Really love your new comfy bar stools! And thanks for sharing your “Uh-oh, I got it wrong moment.” It really helps to remember that we won’t always get it right and it’s okay to start over and try again : )

  6. Thank you for this post! Your timing is perfect. I will need to invest in chairs soon … both table height and counter height. Comfort will be #1. I’m a big fan of your work and your philosophy. I’m interested in hearing thoughts about chair matching vs mixing, the bench concept (looks good but probably not as comfortable as a chair, even with a cushion) and an upholstered banquette (built in or free standing). I’m overwhelmed by all the options and the potential cost.
    Any thoughts??

    • My initial thoughts: there’s no wrong!

      If you think people will be sitting at your table for a long time, a backless bench can be tiresome, and I would say two people max to a bench, three? well, the one in the middle will be annoyed.

      I’ve never had a banquette before so I can’t weigh in on that–but I LOVE the idea!

  7. Amen and amen. I’m so glad you’re listening to your house! And to be honest, I have a big house, but I still need my counter stools to be comfortable. Industrial-looking stools have been all the rage the last few years and I’ve felt a little out of step with home fashions because of our big, solid, upholstered barstools with backs. . . but it’s comfortable to sit at our bar!

  8. I did the same thing. I bought those tolix chairs that are all over blogland…and everyone hated them. Haaaaated them. Especially my husband. We had three shield back chairs at the table as well, and the five of us would all fight over who got to sit on the shield back chairs. A few months ago I sold those chairs for pennies on the dollar and bought a set of cushy chairs at a thrift shop. The comfy chairs aren’t as pretty but you can sit in them for hours.

    • but the tolix are SO pretty! and SO hurty!

      we have the knockoff Panton chairs, which I thought would be hurty, but they are surprisingly comfy!

      Good for you!

  9. “I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love. And I don’t care who knows it!” I saw these on your instagram and was purring! So fun to get the details–and know for the chandy update, can’t wait to hear about that.

  10. This is great. I think it falls into the same line of thinking with the “you can’t ruin something you hate”. If it not working, change it!! It’s so cut and dry, but I get bogged down with the what ifs and trying to “justify” something I need to change. Sometimes met with resistance by my sweet husband doesn’t make it easier ;) But, I’ve been wanting/needing to switch some rugs around due to freezing cold floors this time of year. This includes one new purchase to fix three rooms. I need to stop trying to make it perfect and just do it!

  11. Question … how do you keep the comfy chairs clean?? Or do you wait to use chairs with cushions at the table until your kids are no longer little? ‘Cause my three year old’s chair is pretty gross, haha!

    • my kids are no longer little.

      and they get dirty, I do my best to clean them but such is life, they’ll look bad in a few years, but you know.

    • I had some hand me down dining chairs with upholstered seats (with 3 little boys). I took them outside every 4-6 months and sprayed them with auto upholstery scotch guard, and it really worked well. I could just wipe off most spills with a light scrubbing with a wet washcloth. You have to be diligent, though, about reapplying the scotch guard. I got lazy for a while and it (literally) showed.

    • For us, we have wooden junior chairs for our boys to sit in (ages 4, 3, and 22 months) and then what I guess can be termed “grown-up chairs” for my husband and I. Because yes, their chairs get gross. >< Each boy has his own special chair, and they love them!

  12. Do you mind me asking how big your house is? Square footage-wise…

  13. I know your post was about chairs, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of your FLOORS! Oh my, I could die on your floors! (I won’t, because that would be bad, but you know what I’m sayin’ right?!?!) Beautiful, shiny, wide board floors and DA BOMB! So envious over here.

  14. These are the bomb. I need them for my house in Florida. I clicked on the source link and see that they must be bought in pairs (which is fine!) but is the price correct for a pair? They are worth it even if the price is for one!

  15. Yes! we regularly use our bar stools, and they just weren’t made for big hineys or for sitting for even a bowl of cereal. Sound advice.

  16. Hooray for you for listening to you home! We totally agree at our house- my mother-in-law, who had beautiful taste, bought and decorated for looks. A few years ago, she decorated a condo in Florida for us. Our only restrictions were that all seating be comfortable, and the television be decent. It was a challenge! Enjoy, and thank you for sharing!

  17. I love your new counter chairs/stools! So much cozier. ;-)
    Your house is looking great!

  18. Loving the chairs you you have at your dining table! Pretty and practical is almost always the way to go in real life ;)

  19. Hooray for chairs people want to sit in! I really love what you chose, too. Ebery decision I’ve made that acknowledges function first has been the right one. Hmmmmm. Some sort slipcoveed dining chairs to replace the hard wood chairs sounds nice. ;-).

  20. Ebery? Really, Dixie? Ha ha ha.

  21. I love your new stools, but it’s so interesting because we just made the opposite decision. We had square, large, sturdy barstools with leather seats. They were comfy, but they just never felt right at our bar. Too bulky, too hard to move, too dark. And once you were seated, you were stuck. We sold them on craigslist (got a good price as they were still like new) and replaced them with cheaper stools that look a little like your “hurty” ones, only without the back. And these new ones swivel. They’re so much better for the space, especially since those seated at the bar can swirl around to talk to people seated behind them at the table. They’re not made for hours of sitting, but plenty comfy for the length of a meal. And they just look and feel so much better in our house.

  22. Perfect timing! I told my husband one evening that we HAVE to get comfortable chair. The next day this showed up in my inbox. I love that your home has form, function, and comfort. Thank you for sharing this post with us!

  23. Amen! I did the same thing: bought cold, hard stools very similar to yours and NO ONE like to sit in them. Ended up buying a leather version similar to yours from crate and barrel. They are easy to wipe if needed. Now, shoot, i just remembered I put the others in our basement storage and never put them on craig’s list.

  24. Are your new stools counter-height stools (the pub height)? They look a bit lower and I’m wondering if you are able to eat comfortably with the lower styled seats? I do love them!

  25. Where oh where can I find that Relax artwork? I love it!

  26. Courtney Moore says:

    Oh My Goodness! light bulb moment! We are living overseas in a much smaller house than what we last lived in. A huge issue I have with this house is I never feel like we can have another family over because there isn’t enough seating. Our dinning room chairs are wooden and uncomforatble! We have 3 small children so I didn’t want to get fabric chairs but I could always make slip covers! duh! I just installed a breakfast bar in the kitchen and was on the hunt for some stools I will be a much more informed shopper after reading this! The legs thing genius! Thank you so much Myquillynn you are such a blessing to me on my life long journey of homemaking.

  27. Confirmation. I just had my own lightbulb moment a couple of days ago regarding the need for comfortable chairs at our dining table. When guests come we end up sitting for hours and hours around the table talking. Our wooden chairs are comfortable enough for eating a meal, but when enjoying friends and families, all would appreciate at least the addition of cushions. I have fought for my wooden chairs for years but have finally realized this is a new season in our lives, a season for savoring long moments with those we hold dear. Our family needs a comforting place for gathering more than I need a certain look. Thank you for the confirmation.

  28. We had almost gotten ones like your non-comfy ones, but then ended up with leather-topped reasonably comfy ones from the Pottery Barn Outlet! I have second-guessed them a few times because the un-comfy ones look cool, but now I’m glad we got the comfy ones! Thanks for this post…now I won’t have regrets!!

  29. Thank you for sharing these awesome tips! You’re so good at explaining things in a way that I can understand, and your photos are a huge help!

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