I did a little counter stool research this weekend. While I'm happy to buy some furniture and decor items sight unseen (I've had great success with rugs!) there are some things I think you need to try in person to be absolutely convinced. Seating is one of them. You need to know if they are going to be comfortable and the only way to do that is to actually sit in the seat. Besides comfort, the other thing I wanted to test in person was what we are calling "the wobble factor". Would the stool stand up to a four year old climbing onto by himself? Once seated would the stool remain stable and hold it's ground ? We took along our resident wobble tester (it's always good to give a four year old an official title and important job when you want them to cooperate!) and made him try out all the stools.
After reading all of your comments we decided that having stools with backs was important to us. This quickly eliminated many of our choices which was a good thing!
Our first stop was Design Within Reach where we happened upon the Era Stool designed by Michel Thonet.
These stools are very reasonably priced and come in a selection of colours. They're classic, stylish and fun. From a wobble point of view they are a bit light on their feet. Henry was okay getting up on the stool by himself but when he jumped the stool gave way a bit giving him a startle. I'm also a little concerned that over time nicks and scratches would start to ruin the finish.
Our next stop was Style Garage to check out the Factory Barstool.
These stools with their rubber feet and heavy construction are sturdy. They passed the wobble test with flying colours. I wouldn't be afraid to let Henry climb in and out of these stools by himself. They also come in a range of colours -at least 20-30 options. We narrowed down the selection to about 6 choices which you can see on the table above.
The interesting fact about these chairs is that they are made by Lyon. In actual fact they are the same stools that Martha Stewart uses in all of her kitchens (which if you remember I has listed as a separate choice.) The backs are removable so in essence you get two stools in one. The next step for me is to contact Lyon directly to see whether or not I can get a better deal directly through them.
In the meantime, I'm still open to new suggestions. I would really love a wood or leather stool but haven't found anything that is a) budget friendly and b) beautiful to look at.
The search continues....