They can be chosen to coordinate with the countertop in which case you need to be really careful when selecting the color and material. It’s possible to have them both custom made as a set. If the counter stands between 35” and 36” high as it’s usually the case, the stools should have a seat height of 24” to 26”. These measurements differ depending on type and the height of the kitchen counter.
If your bar stool area is nearby other chairs, you might consider coordinating the seating throughout the space. This isn’t to say you should run out to the nearest furniture store and buy a set of identical-except-for-height chairs and stools. But you could consider keeping one style element similar for consistency, such as the wicker seats in this photo.
In some cases, the color palette sets certain ground rules. Like this contemporary kitchen that’s mostly white with a few black and gray-beige accents. The black bar stools are the excellent addition to the décor, making everything else come together wonderfully.
Upholstered seats are, as a general rule, certainly more comfortable than their non-padded counterparts. But there are pros and cons when considering upholstery on a seat that sees more than its fair share of staining potential.