Dec 18, 2013

Posted by | 16 Comments

Video: Take a Seat – Chairs VS. Stools in the Art Room

As if art supplies weren’t distraction enough for our students, the clanking, screeching and tipping of furniture in the art room can drive a teacher batty. Some teachers prefer chairs for art room seating. Others prefer stools. Many of us think the grass is greener and WISH we had something different. I talk about both options and my thoughts on the matter in the video below.



So, which do you think is the lesser of two evils for art room seating? Chairs or Stools?

Which option do you have, or WISH you had?

Any creative hacks to help? 

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  • Pam

    Stools that don’t move. Squeaky stools are the worst!

  • Krngriffith

    I have the lower stools that are the same height as a regular Chair. I really like them. a lot of my students like to stand to work which I allow, as long as they don’t move out of their area they can slide it under the desk. I also have regular desks which I like also them they give the students ” defined space”. Also since I can rearrange the room for large projects or smaller individual projects. The whole systems works great.

    • Jessica Balsley

      Ohhh.. Regular desks in the art room. Does it help with ‘defined space?’ It sounds like a good solution for separating kids physically if needed, too. What about sharing supplies, how does that work?

      • Krngriffith

        I don’t have a problem I usually have the desks set up into groups of 4. I cut large brown paper to fit over all 4. Students use this also to sketch on etc. then after a week or two depending on how messy projects are I toss it and recut more. However if I am doing a project that more groups need to share supllies or large mural etc. I may slide together groups into 6 or 8 desks. Or if I am doing a smaller projects I may slide the group of 4 to 2. I also like that the desk can hold all the portfolios. I teach K – 8 so I like that the room can be changed throughout the week depending on the projects or class by just sliding the desks together or apart in the morning.

  • sarah

    I have old tennis balls on the feet of all of my stools to help keep the noise down in a room with high ceilings and old tile floors

  • Ann

    Stools, but I hate the scraping noise! On Pinterest I saw a way to wrap a piece of scrap felt around the bottom leg of the stool with a rubber band. That might cut down on the noise, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. 35 stools, 4 legs each, this could take a while! Has anyone tried this method?

    • Jessica Balsley

      I did use those sticky felt protectors (ordered a bunch with extra funds) and they worked well at first until some started to peel off. It seems to be something you’d need to ‘re-do’ each year. It’s also important to clean the bottom of the stool feet really well before applying these.

  • Mary Ann

    Stools! And yes, I do wrap the felt squares around the bottom of the legs and it makes a big difference in the noise. I have to replace them mid-year because they get dirty but I just cut them out and let the 5th graders attach them to the stool legs…no big deal!

  • Jodi Youngman

    I used to have stools in my old district and hated them. Even with the tennis balls, kids would just randomly fall off the stool. They were usually fine, but what a distraction! I have two types of chairs in my new district and one school has light, easy to use chairs-which break constantly. In four years I’ve had to have the whole set replaced-one or two chairs at a time. My other school has old chairs, like I had when I was a kid. They are great, except for the two that are shorter than the rest (we just call them Minnie) and how heavy they are. I feel bad asking my second graders to put them on the tables!

  • Marion

    I had science stools in my old art room and they were noisy and rocked a bit. Now I have stools that have a wider base and seat area. You cannot rock on them , but they stick out as the back legs are angled to stop the rocking. They are easier for the littlies to climb onto. Stools are better for a wide range of different edged students.

  • Susan

    When I had chairs it seemed I was always talking to the back of some students’ heads. With stools they can move 360 to face me wherever I might be in the art room when I need the attention of the whole class. Tennis balls took care of the squeaking.

  • Erica Carlson

    Stools are great to flip upside down at the end of the day and that’s about all I can say as a positive. Kids don’t fall off as much as they did when we first got them, but I am constantly telling the K-1 to stop using it as a toy (or rather standing on the ring part). Older kids will fall off on purpose for attn and then there is always the painful moment when someone didn’t mean to fall off and their peers think it’s much funnier than it is (leaving that person to feel like total crap). I think stools are very questionable for our youngest kid and I really wish I hadn’t been talked into them. I do miss chairs even though they are larger and appear to take up more room. (I also personally hate sitting on a tall metal stool)

  • Steve

    I have a mix of both, but I’m actually teaching my students that for some mediums its better to stand up. As an artist I prefer working on the ground and standing up depending on the physical interaction that I’m having with the art. The students rock on them a lot which just causes a safety issue for them, I do love the stool because when the students come and sit at the front they can easily bring a stool so its more comfortable.

  • Vicki

    I teach high schoolers and chairs work better for us. The stools are not comfortable and cause distractions when the kiddos start to readjust and wiggle around. Also, I find the students as less likely to want to “re-arrange” the classroom if they have to move chairs rather than stools. One last problem with stools, high school boys tend to be tall and this can cause height problems and back problems.

  • marilynpeters

    I teach high school and a few years ago when it came time to replace the stools and tables in my art room (they were at least 30 yr. old and a safety hazard as the stools would fall apart while the student was just sitting calmly on them) I checked with the other art teachers around–didn’t have the access to other art teachers like we have with AOE. The college teachers and other art teachers I checked with all recommended stools and tables. I had considered drafting tables and stools with backs. I decided to do what others recommended. The retailer who sold me the tables–basically very heavy conference room tables and stools. Whey the new stools arrived they were about 4 in. shorter than the tables–the retailer wouldn’t do anything about it and my wonderful pastor took all 32 stools and cut an additional 4 in. off of the legs. They fit. Honestly I wouldn’t have enough space for 32 more chairs not to mention the difficulty of having them to stack them at the end of the day for the custodian. As 2014 rolls in I look into moving into a new high school and wonder still if they are going to get new furniture as they usually do when they build a new school. No one has said anything yet, I just know I am getting a smaller studio space than I have now. I have a few students who need chairs because of height or some type of physical disability or condition. I like the flexibility of movement that the students have on the stool and the ease of moving them around as needed since we are very fluid in my classroom. But I do tire of the skreeching of the stools and the whining about being uncomfortable. But we use the stools in a variety of ways that would be difficult if not impossible with a chair. I wonder about the durability of chairs in the rigors of the art room. I am really open to recommendations because I know I will be put on the spot soon making decisions for our new schools. Please keep the suggestions and recommendations, pros/cons coming.

  • Susan

    I have stools which is different from what they use in their regular classroom. I go through the procedure of how to sit on a stool as one of the first day procedures for all the grade levels which include K-11 for me. The procedure is repeated daily until the students learn the proper way to sit in a stool.