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Serena & Lily Balboa Counter Stools: An Honest Review After 2 Years


"Where are your counter stools from?"

This is easily one of my most frequently asked questions! Now that I've had my Serena & Lily Balboa Counter Stools for almost 2 years, I am dishing all of my honest and unfiltered feedback about how they've held up and whether I'd recommend them.

First, the details -- these are the Balboa Counter Height Stools in "Natural" rattan with the White Perennials performance fabric cushions. (They are also available in bar height, as well as another color called "Mist" which is a beautiful gray with blue-green undertones. The cushions are available in about 10 other fabrics too!).

When we first got these stools, I could not get over how gorgeous they were in person and what a dramatic impact they made in our kitchen (especially compared to the very basic saddle seat stools we had before):

Before (old stools)
After (new stools)

It's like night and day, right!? I love how much texture and interest the rattan adds to this space and warms up the otherwise all-white kitchen! (You can see my original blog post about these stools here.)

And I am happy to report that I still love the look of these stools just as much today as I did the day we first got them! They have such a classic design that I really believe will stand the test of time.

When you walk in our front door, your sight line goes right through to the kitchen, so the backs of these stools are among the first things you see. I love how the warm, natural tone of the rattan relates to the wood range hood and the brass pendant lights:

Even as my style has evolved over the years and we've made updates to the decor (i.e. painted the kitchen windows black, painted the island, and changed some of the furniture and accessories), these stools have still looked great with every change we've made. The mere fact that I haven't gotten bored with them after a few years is is such a testament to their versatility and staying power!


Ok, so they look pretty, but are they durable?

I often hear from followers and clients "oh those are beautiful, but I could never have white cushions with my kids!". Well, after nearly 2 years of my family (including 2 very small but very messy eaters!) putting them to the test, I can honestly and confidently say YES YOU CAN! :) Not only are these cushion covers made of the best performance fabric there is (in my opinion), they are also removable and machine washable. The fabric repels liquids and most stains, and anything that doesn't blot off with a paper towel or cloth will almost certainly come out in the washing machine.

To give you some examples of things that have ended up spilled or smashed into these cushions that I thought would never come out, and yet vanished as if by magic: peanut butter, chocolate, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, jelly, play-doh, terra-cotta clay, marker, crayon, glitter glue, smoothie, food coloring, etc.

The one thing I haven't been able to remove from any fabric is this bizarre, other-worldly substance called Crazy Aaron's Magnetic Thinking Putty; super fun to play with, but please take my word for it and don't let this stuff anywhere near your furniture or your kid's favorite shirt! Biggest stocking stuffer regret. We learned the hard way before we had to make it "accidentally" get lost (shh, don't tell my kids).

But I digress.... Long story short, don't be afraid of using white in your home (yes, even with kids!); slipcovers are your friend! :)

Another concern I hear sometimes is about the rattan itself. Ours has held up incredibly well over time (better than I expected, actually!). One little end of a rattan strand recently came loose on one of the legs, and my youngest started picking at it and unwound it a bit.... At first I was a little worried, but it was easily fixed by simply wrapping it back around and supergluing it in place. Now you seriously can't even tell where it was.


Alright, but are they actually comfortable?

For the past year, my husband has also been working from home and has taken over our office, so most of the time (including right now) I end up working from either the island or the dining room. In other words, I sit in these chairs a LOT and they are super comfortable, even for long periods of time. My husband is a foot taller than me and agrees they are just as comfortable for his height/size too. I love the little foot rest, which is just as beautiful as it is practical:

The brass accents on the foot rest and feet are one of my favorite details of these stools. It ties in so well with the other brass pieces we have throughout our house, and adds just a little bit of sophisticated polish to the laid-back feel of the rattan.


So, bottom line: would I recommend the Serena & Lily Balboa Counter Stools?


Would I get them again myself? In a heartbeat!

These stools are the ultimate trifecta of iconic style, comfort and durability. If you're considering them for your own home, I encourage you to go for it without hesitation (just remember not to let any of that "Thinking Putty" anywhere near them, haha!).

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This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.


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