If you have a kitchen island, you might just want to finish it off with a set of wooden bar stools. Or, perhaps you have a counter-height table in an office or breakfast nook. This versatility is precisely what makes wooden bar stools such a great decorating choice--they're comfortable, adaptable to a wide range of room spaces, and give you lots of seating flexibility.

Cute wooden bar stoolWith a set of kitchen stools, you'll always have extra chairs for those family dinner celebrations, a place for kids to do their homework, and a place to pay your monthly bills. While they may never replace that comfy couch in the den as your favorite seat in the house, you're likely to spend a lot of time sitting on them!

And, if you've been in the market for wooden bar stools for any length of time, you've probably noticed that there are *a lot* of online sellers who think they have just what you're looking for. Because they're cheap to ship and easy to stock (they don't take up much room in a warehouse) they've become a popular furniture item. That's why it's especially important that you're careful when shopping for stools online--you don't want to wind up with wobbly ones or worse!

So, before you buy wooden bar stools online, here's what you want to do.

1) Decide on the type of stools you want.
Do you want something counter height or shorter? Something with leather accents? Are you looking for swivel counter bar stools?

It's not enough to know that you want wooden stools--that's still too wide a net to cast helpfully in Google. So, close your eyes for a moment and picture the precise type you're looking for.

Once you have the picture in your mind, think about the specifics, the details, that make those stools the ones for you. Then, add up all those descriptive keywords to prepare for your search for the perfect stools.

2) Begin your search.
Now that you have a specific type of wooden bar stools that you're looking for, head to your favorite search engine to see what options are out there. Remember to check out several vendors so that you can find the best stools for what you need.

Always check the measurements, especially if you need stools of a very precise size. This is where people are most likely to be disappointed--they don't take the time to really "see" the piece in the space and instead make assumptions about the size. I find it's easiest to picture if I find something that's the right size, whether it's a piece of letter-sized paper that's the same size as the stool seat, or a chest of drawers that's the same height.

3) Select the store.
A few things to keep in mind as you select the store you'll be buying your wooden bar stools from--first, make sure to check out the reviews of the store in question if you've never shopped there before. One easy way to do this is to Google "store name + reviews" or "store name + sucks." Remember, there's always going to be someone out there who's unhappy with a store, so don't put too much stock in one negative review, but if you find many or if they're very, very strong, you may want to continue your search for a new store to buy your wooden bar stools online from.

Also make sure the store offers secure online payment options and that they take the credit card of your choice. Then, check out shipping costs--sometimes a store is offering a great price *until* you add the cost of shipping in and then you find that you could buy much nicer wooden bar stools for the same price because shipping is so expensive.

4) Practice safe online shopping.
Even after so many years of online shopping, it's important to be careful. Start by making sure the store offers complete contact information (including a mailing address). Also double check to ensure the store is offering secure online shopping--this is indicated by a lock in your URL bar so that makes it really easy to check for.

Also look at the store's guarantee and returns information--you don't want to find out after the fact that they won't let you return merchandise that arrives damaged or that they charge a 50% restocking fee!

5) Search for coupons.
Before you place your order for wooden bar stools, make sure you search for coupon codes. There's no sense in paying more than you have to. An easy way to find coupons is to search "store name coupons" or "store name free shipping" and Google will often take you right to the best coupon code.

Some stores don't offer coupon codes ever, so this won't always save you money on your wooden bar stools, but it works often enough to make it well worth the extra 30 second search.

6) Use a trusted credit card.
Although it's rare, fraud does happen. If you have a credit card you use exclusively for online purchases, that's perfect. Otherwise, stick with a card you know will protect you should any wrong charges appear on the bill.

Several years ago, someone used my Capital One card to make $300 in various purchases. I noticed my bill was wrong, picked up the phone, and about 20 minutes later the charges were removed and my card was canceled (they had to send me a new one so that it would be secure). They were polite, and really supportive (I was a little freaked out) and took care of everything. They even followed up a few weeks later to let me know what had happened and what they had done to protect me.

So, while it's not any fun to have this happen, knowing that you're using a card with such a strong devotion to resolving any fraudulent charges quickly will go a long way to making you feel safer shopping online. Also, remember that it's really no less safe shopping online than it is in a store (some security experts believe the reverse is actually true), so don't be paranoid, just be careful.

7) Place your order.
This is the fun part! Place your order and start counting down the days until your fabulous wooden bar stools will be delivered.

8) Enjoy your new wooden bar stools!