How to cut down bar stools

February 19, 2015

How to cut down stools for the perfect island height.

I got our new island stools from HomeGoods – and I actually found a tag on them that gave me a bit more info, which is rare.

I’ve seen that every so often at HomeGoods – I know it can be frustrating when you find out something you love is from there but I’ve found they carry similar items throughout the country and those items often come back. (I’ve seen one of our family room chairs there many times over the years.)

The tags describes them as the sean barstool dark moon canvas – the HomeGoods price was cheaper than what they are going for online.

They have a canvas top that’s really easy to clean:

canvas stool with nailhead

Although I’ll probably go ahead and spray some Scotchguard on them just to be safe.

The canvas look wouldn’t be my first choice, but I loved the the color and the other pretty details like the nailheads:

canvas bar stool

You’ll notice this guy in any photos of these chairs. HE LOVES THEM. Really, he loves everything and loves to be in photos too. But he’s especially obsessed with the chairs.

I also love that they have a brass metal cover that goes over one foot support so it doesn’t get banged up. (It’s hard to tell but it’s in the front in that pic.)

Many of you mentioned that the stools were too high when I first shared my plan for the island weeks back. For some reason it’s hard for me to find counter-height stools that I like. They’re always bar-height. I found this little graphic that shows you the difference:

stool height guide


I’ve always cut down my stools because of this and it’s an easy DIY project!

I had already chopped mine so I recreated this for you. ;) First thing, wrap the leg with painter’s tape where you want to cut it. This will allow for a really clean cut:

cutting down stools

If you don’t do this you’ll probably get jagged edges on the bottom side, so this is important.

After that you can mark where it needs to be cut. I cut these down by 2.5 inches. I always mark it before I take the stool out to the saw, but then I find that I have to measure and mark again because I’m never quite sure how I’ll lay it on the saw:

cutting down bar stool legs

Just make sure the stool is up against the back to get a straight cut. You may need someone with you to get it tight. Also, on some cuts I have to lower the saw blade a bit to get the legs to fit in there.

If you don’t have a compound saw, no worries. These miter boxes work just as well:

miter box and saw

It will just take more time and muscle. :) Also, you’ll definitely want someone to help you hold the seat end up while you cut if you use the box, or just prop it up so it’s level.

I used a simple miter box and saw just like this for YEARS and did a ton of wood and trim projects with it – and had some great biceps. You can do quite a lot with it!

When you take the tape off you may need to touch up the bottom just a bit – if the chair legs are black or brown you can just use a Sharpie. Mine came out fine so I didn’t need any touch ups. I do always add some felt jobbies to the bottom to protect our floors:

felt protector pads

The legs most likely will have something on them already so you can also pry those off and put them on again – these had plastic bottoms so I wanted something softer on the hardwoods.

OH, I forgot to mention – after you cut down all four legs sit on it and see if it rocks. Three of my four did, so I just figured out what legs were just slightly longer and cut them down a bit. Just barely shave it off so you don’t have to keep cutting the rest to make it work! 

You’ll end up with miniature stools if you keep going. ;)

They are now a much more comfortable height! Our guests still used them before I cut them down and didn’t care. But this allows a little more room for the legs.

I told you he’s obsessed:

cutting down stools for island

I found a couple options that are really similar to these in case you can’t find them for a decent price – these are leather and would be GREAT for kids!:

That one only comes in the taller version, so if you have a regular island you’d need to cut those down.

And this one has a fabric top and comes in either the bar or counter height, so no cutting down needed.

This is our second set of wood stools at this island that I’ve cut down – it’s super easy to do, especially if you have a saw! Hope that answers any questions, let me know if not!

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  1. Thanks for the tutorial.

    Your kitty reminds me of mine. He's sooooo curious and always has to be in the middle of the action. He can be a real hellion and will swat or bite at your legs as you walk by if he's in the mood. I once hosted at at-home party with a group of ladies and he decided to plop himself right in front of the sales person. As she walked back and forth to pass out samples, I had to hold my breath LOL. (Amazingly he behaved himself.) Well, then he decided all the things on her table were fun to knock off so he got shut away in another room..! :)

    I love the humor pets bring to our lives.

    1. Ashley yours sounds EXACTLY like ours! He does the exact same thing and has to be in everyone's business, whether he knows them or not. :)

  2. They look terrific, I really like that they are a nice classic style and shouldn't date. I have a little suggestion to add to your good tutoria,l that you lightly sand (or plane) the very sharp 90 degree edges where you cut. This protects the cut edges from chipping up the leg with the grain if they get a knock. Your felt pads will help protect them but it might be a big pain to get a chip at the bottom. Hope this adds something cheers. heres a link to some internet dude to help explain

  3. Hi Sarah!! First time commenting but I've been reading forever. I adore your house and wish I could copy/paste onto mine! They have these similar bar stools at target. Here is the link:
    Thanks! Sarah K.

  4. I saw this exact stool @ TJ Maxx @ Souix Falls, South Dakota on 2/14/15. They had two for $79.00/ea.

  5. I love those stools, but I love even more when you show them since your kitty is always on them! I just want to come snuggle him. ;)

  6. Thank you for the tutorial! Love your blog and your adorable cat :)

  7. So how high is your island and what is the finished height of your stools. I am struggling with stools for our counter. It is 36" high and we purchased 30" bar stools....too high, the store did take them back and I purchased 24" high...I don't know if this is the right height since first sitting on the 30" stool I was up I feel a little lower...LOL....I should have purchased the 30" and cut them down but I think I would not be able to return them..
    Love the tut for all that you did on this island.


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