(The Washington Post)

We are well into the summer entertaining season, which puts bars and kitchens front and center for barbecues, pool parties and other gatherings.

Jonathan Lo, the founder and principal designer at J3 Productions, a creative agency based in Southern California, says that new bar stools are a quick and easy way to freshen up your entertaining space. Lo, who is also editor in chief of the Octopian and the guy behind the lifestyle blog Happy Mundane, suggests using the bar stool as a statement piece or simply to add seating.

We asked Lo to choose several stylish bar stool options at different price points. Here are his picks.


(ABC Carpet & Home; Ikea)

SPLURGE: Arper Babar chrome stool ($706,  abchome.com ), left. SAVE: Janinge bar stool in white ($129,  ikea.com ).


(Restoration Hardware; Target)

SPLURGE: Remy backless stools in burnished steel ($344 for two,  restorationhardware.com ), left. SAVE: Carlisle 29.5-inch backless metal bar stools in antique brown ($100 for two,  target.com ).


(Design Within Reach; Room and Board)

SPLURGE: Tractor bar stool in walnut ($1,400,  dwr.com ), left. SAVE: Bay bar stool in walnut ($449, roomandboard.com).


(Kathy Kuo Home; Target)

SPLURGE: Jordan industrial loft wood backless swivel bar stool ($334,  kathykuohome.com ), left. SAVE: Lewiston adjustable swivel bar stool in bronze ($75,  target.com ).


(West Elm; Overstock)

SPLURGE: Scoop-back 30-inch bar stool in white ($338 for two,  westelm.com ), left. SAVE: Pisa 30-inch stools in white ($160 for two,  overstock.com ).