There has been an increase in demand for apartments and homes featuring an open layout. Often the kitchen, dining area, living room and/ or family room are connected into a larger open space so homeowners can entertain guests. Connecting these spaces through renovation and redesign is also an effective way to increase the resale value of a residence, especially if the new floor plan generates more natural light throughout the space. Invariably open floor plans will have a counter area either as a build in or as part of an island in the kitchen. If the layout incorporates stools, the first important distinction is between bar stools and counter stools. Bar height stools are generally 30” tall facing a bar area of 40-42”. Counter stools are lower, with a height between 24-26” at a counter height of 36”. The average height for kitchen islands is 36” and counter stools are usually the most appropriate option. For outdoor spaces in residential environments bar stools with 40-42” tall tables can work. Bar stools can be a great option if you would like to be able to sit higher to see a view or or possibly be able to see beyond a window/ guardrail. Spacing between the stools will also determine how many you will be able to place, typically requiring 26-30” between the middle of the seat top. Additional space will be required if you purchase stools that swivel or feature arms. Stools are not typically thought of as a centerpiece in the same way as a chandelier or dining room table. They are usually a substantial focal point and selecting stools that have the right combination of elegance, design and functionality is important. Here are several options we considered for a project in Soho. The first option features leather, wood and metal with a comfortable seat back. The second option is a leather seat with a lacquer wood finish. The third counter stool is stainless steel with a leather seat and the last option features leather, solid oak and metal.