So the height is an important criteria when choosing a bar stool, especially if you opt for a custom countertop height. But there’s more to counter-height stools than just that. Other measurements need to be taken into consideration as well. For example, make sure you space out the stools in a comfortable manner. The space between the center of a stool to the center of the one next to it should be between 26” and 30”.
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.
Fabric is definitely one of the easiest ways to bring in color and pattern into a space with bar stools. (Spaces that, typically, may be short on both of those design aspects.) Fabric bar stools tend to be comfortable and pretty, although probably the hardest to clean.
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.