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A Complete Buyer’s Guide to Choose Your Bar Stool

Introduction

-Has anyone ever asked you the height of your bar stool?

-Was your answer to that along the lines of “it is about ‘yayy’ big”, rather than an actual number?

Then you should definitely read on.

Often the final piece of the jigsaw towards completing your home or commercial bar, selecting your bar stool involves much more than just selecting a style. It involves a number of other factors that need to be carefully addressed before you make the decision. There is no point in purchasing an attractive bar stool that does not fit in with your counter or table or serve your purpose. The purpose of this article is to give you a better perspective, based on your needs so that you can firmly decide on what type of bar stool you should invest in.

Bar stools deliver the idyllic selection of décor for your home, mini-bar, bar, café, office, diner or restaurant. Armed with limitless options to mix-and-match, you can choose from a wide variety of outfits that can enhance the ambient beauty of your kitchen, mini-bar, bar or restaurant without punching a hole in your pocket when shopping for a bar stool. Bar stools come in manifold shapes and sizes, tailored with various materials ranging from metal, stainless steel, iron to wood and wicker. Bar stools also come in adjustable heights that can be used for both residential and commercial purposes.

Bar stools are the perfect choice for maximizing your dining capacity, in a way that is practical and cost-efficient. Bar stools are lightweight and hence make for easy alterations in various kinds of spaces and seating arrangements. On top of being versatile and flexible, properly planned bar stool arrangements can add a ‘chique’ element to any arrangement by introducing modern designs and flavorful colors into your space.

Perfect for a quick and informal dining experience amidst our busy lifestyles, bar stools can also be used in tandem with a kitchen countertop or a high bar table. Futuristic designs and a modern vibe emanating from a bar stool, make it ideal even as a stand-alone chair against any backdrop or even the wall. Bar stools are affordable and viable options for anyone looking to enhance their informal dining experience merged with a contemporary feel.

Match the Height of the Stool to the Counter

Deciding on the height of your bar stool and your counter predominantly has always been the most hassling experience of designing around, and yet, it should be the most basic one. Many misinformed consumers often find themselves stranded with phrases like “it should be about this tall” or “make it up to here”, which is not ideal whilst building or designing your bar or recreation room or dining area. It also makes it umpteen times harder for the builders doing your work as they often have to struggle with whatever vague idea you might be pitching to them. Having a basic idea about the standard measurements in use by professionals might greatly reduce the pain you encounter whilst deciding on your own endeavors.

As a general “rule of thumb” to consider whilst shopping for a stool, you should remember to put a gap of 10-12 inches between your bar or counter or table and your stool seat. This is the ideal setting required for a comfortable seating arrangement regardless of the heights of individuals that might be occupying the stool. Measuring from the top of the table to the floor and subtracting 10-12 inches will almost always give you the perfect seating position.

Other than that, here are some of the most commonly used standards:

  • If your counter or table height is 36-39 inches, your bar stool seat height should be 24-26 inches—
    Bar stools of this height are often referred to as “counter stools”, and are the most common type of bar stool in use at households. This is because; traditionally these stools are designed to match up to your kitchen counter or table. (Hint: Counter stools are usually designed to match the height of your standard sink or oven)
  • If your counter or table height is 40-45 inches, your bar stool seat height should be 30 inches—
    Bar stools of this height are of the height of the traditional bar stools, that matches up to the height of your local pub or restaurant. This is the most commonly used type of stool for commercial spaces like a bar or a pub or a diner  as bar counter heights are usually a tad bit taller than your average kitchen counter. This can also be used in your home or kitchen if your table or counter at home, is on an elevated platform or includes a step-up (usually at least of 6 inches).
  • If your counter or table height is 28-30 inches, your bar stool seat height should be 18-19 inches—

Bar stools of this height are of also often referred to as “table-height stools”. These are usually the shortest form of stools available and are often shorter than counter or bar stools. These are rendered specifically to be a fit for the common dining table or counter and can be a good alternative for chairs to give a refreshing vibe for your dining table or breakfast nook. This can also be an alternative choice for children and kids' seating.

  • If your counter or table height is 45-48 inches, your bar stool seat height should be 34-36 inches—

Bar stools of this height are of also commonly called “stadium stools” or “spectator stools”, and are the tallest type of bar stools that is commonly used. These are handy if you are looking to elevate your seating arrangement to match up to some specific height requirement you might have. In other cases, it can be the ideal height for television viewing at home.

A note to remember:

  • 34-36 inches is the maximum height that most builders make their stools for but custom-made taller stools might be available via billiards suppliers but taller than 36 inches is not recommended, as they are prone to tilt over

Some other measurements to keep in mind while you are choosing a bar stool are the spacing options to consider between each individual stool. Here are some tips on the same:

  • For linear spacing options, you can measure a gap of 26-30 inches from the center of one stool to the center of the adjacent one. This leaves optimal room for eating, working or socializing without getting the feeling of getting in each other’s way. Following this method will also allow you to decide on the number of stools that will fit into your seating arrangement, depending on the size of your round-table or counter.
  • For optimal leg-room options, you should look to maintain a gap of 9-12 inches between the stool seat and the underside of your counter or bar.

If after reading through all of this, you still can’t decide which height of bar stool to opt for, you could just opt for an adjustable height stool that can serve multiple purposes for you.

 

Decide on the Width of your Bar Stool Seat

Often times, people spend a lot of time in choosing the right height for their bar stool but forget to consider the seat depth or seat width of their stool. When deciding on how to choose the correct seat width for your bar stool, you should definitely consider the amount of space that you have to work with. In the previous section, we have already established how to optimally decide on the linear spacing options for your bar stool

Standard bar stools come with three common seat width options that are 15 inches, 17 inches, and 21 inches wide respectively. When it comes to seat width, bigger girth is likely to be better, but you should keep in mind, that it will also take up more space. Thus, you should also consider the comfort of whoever is likely to be sitting on these stools, and how frequently they are to be used, before opting for a particular type.

If you are likely to be using a stool for everyday dining purposes, you should opt for a wider 21 or 17-inch width stool as here comfort is of more importance. Wider stools are generally more comforting to rest on. On the other hand, if you are primarily going to use a stool to accommodate extra guests for when you are having a party, they wouldn’t mind sitting on a smaller width stool for a while. Also, often times smaller width stools are cheaper than the wider ones.

 

Choose The Right Material for your Bar Stool

Showcasing a myriad of styles, bar stools offer you the ability for you to choose from near limitless options that can seamlessly blend in and enhance your décor or your space. You could choose from various options of shapes and sizes and materials used for both the frame and the seat, as well as choose from the various finishes that might be applied. Here are the most commonly used types of materials in bar stools:   

  • Wood: Traditional wooden designs bring a very “old-school” vibe to any seating arrangement. Although, over time, contemporary builders and designers have experimented widely with newer and edgier designs that can satisfy the needs of a modern household or café. Wooden stools, though are very prone to quality blemishes, and the quality of wooden stools can vary greatly from builder to builder. Kiln-dried hardwoods is a very durable material used in the making of bar stools and often make for the best framework for a wooden stool. You could also check for corner blocking that will offer a greater strength and sturdiness.Some other commonly used types of wood in the making of bar stools include cherry, oak, pecan, maple, mahogany, and walnut.
  • Metal: Metallic designs in bar stools marked the advent of contemporary styles in the genre. Since metal is usually more tangible and moldable than wood, you are more likely to find a larger pool of options to choose from in terms of designs and architecture if you opt for this type of stool. The various materials used in the construction of metal bar stools include materials like stainless steel, wrought-iron, iron, brass, and nickel. Metal stools are known for their durability and robustness, and are generally famed as “long-lasting”.Some metal bar stools often come equipped with a hydraulic lift that lets you adjust the height of the stool without difficulty and by a simple press of a button or by pulling up a lever.

 

Getting Your Bar Stool Upholstery Right

Although subjective as a matter of personal liking, the right upholstery can not only enhance the comfort levels as you or your guests sit on the stool but aided with the right design, color, and fabric, they can fit seamlessly into any ambience you might be going for. You shouldn’t take your choice of upholstery material lightly, because you're likely to be spending a lot of of time sitting there. The right upholstery can be mounted on top of either your wood or metal bar stool and the materials used can range from microfiber, leather, polyester or any other custom boutique that a builder might add. Some tips on how to go about choosing the right kind of upholstery are as follows:

  • Whatever material you choose to go for, you should make sure that it is easy to clean. Bar stools are most commonly placed in the kitchen or dining area or your bar or your snack having area, and as such are vulnerable to inevitable spillages and droppings from someone or the other. Thus, ideally, you would want to use a fabric or material that you could easily clean or wash and not have to live with the stains. Leather, microfiber, polyester, plastic and vinyl are examples of materials used that are easy to clean.
  • You need to make sure that your choice of upholstery not only goes with your bar stool, but matches your overall décor and ambience.
  • Whatever you choice of padding, you should make sure it covers the entire width of the seat and not just the center. Comfort for the type of demographic you are catering to is of utmost importance, and you should also make sure the upholstery covers dents or sharp edges that might otherwise be exposed.
  • Leather is natural, readily available and seamlessly fits into almost any interior designs. But, whilst being the natural choice for most indoor stools, you should also remember that leather fades away over time when exposed to sunlight, and might not always be the most obvious choice.  
  • Traditionally metal bar stools are the ones associated with the upholstery as most traditional wooden stools are solid. In that case, you could opt for a separate set of cushions to fit on top of your solid wooden stool. You could also do the same with metal stools, but since the number of design options available for metal stools are far more than the wooden one’s, chances are you’d come across something good readymade rather than something you might have to customize.

 

 Backless or With Back Support?

Bar stools come in both incarnations—with backrest and without. Either of them are liable to be purposeful, depending on what your needs are.

  • Backless bar stools are almost always lighter in weight and are less space-consuming that their back-ended counterparts. This makes it easier to move around the house, and is ideal if you are prone to keep changing the placement of your stool or if you use your stool for multiple purposes. Comfort levels, though are less than ideal as it does not account for the backrest support that a person might require when remaining seated for prolonged periods. Backless bar stools are also quite popular amongst people who opt for a swivel styled stool.
  • Bar stools with back support are much more comfortable to sit in, especially for a longer duration of time. There are additional levels of options available in this category, and you could opt for either one with “medium back-support” or “high back-support”. Stools with low back-support might not enhance the seating comfort by much but are almost as lightweight and maneuverable as backless bar stools. On the other hand, stools with high back-support, provide superior seating comfort but might be harder to shift positions.

While looking for bar stools with or without back support, here are some proportion standards to follow:

  • If you’re choosing a stool with no back support, but has long legs,your bar stool seat width should be 30-45 centimeters to provide proper balance.
  • For medium back-support, if your backrest height is 18-27 centimeters, your bar stool seat width should be 38 – 45 centimeters.
  • For high back-support, if your backrest height is 30 - 38 centimeters, your bar stool seat width should be 38 - 50 centimeters.

 Do you need arm support?

While bar stools sporting an armrest offers extra comfort and support, you should really think about how important that is, and who are the kind of people likely to be sitting in it, before making the decision. Additional armrests can take up additional space, and you should make sure they would fit underneath your counter or table before investing in one.

 

To Swivel or Not to Swivel?

One of the rustic charms that people associate with a commercial pub or café or bar is the swivel of the seat whilst sitting on the counter. Bar stools usually have a swivel swinging range from 180 degrees to 360 degrees. It is ideal as it allows for someone sitting to have a look through the setting of the whole place without much effort, and such is a perfect fit for pubs or diner that promote social interaction. They also make for getting on and off the stool or the counter easier, and can be used for household purposes as well.

Sometimes, though, the swivel of the seat can be disorienting in the case of some young children or elder statesmen.

 

Bar Stools are Not Just for Indoors

Bar stools are not just a decorative showpiece, but they serve a practical purpose as well. If you are a fan of open air dine-ins or like having food outdoors in open spaces like your garden or terrace, then you can use your bar stools to sate your emotions. Bar stools offer their lightweight, flexible and manueverability services in an outdoor setting too, and can be your perfect partner as you sip on your favorite wine or take in the aroma of a freshly baked meal under the limelight of nature.

One point to consider when shopping for an outdoor bar stool is that you should account that they are susceptible to weather changes and must be able to withstand environmental factors such as sunlight, dust, rain, and the wind.

As an outdoor stool, you should be on the lookout for materials that do not hold or are not prone to absorbing moisture. Metal bar stools are generally deemed more durable and are more likely to withstand the elements of weather as time goes on, although wood can be polished to be made “weather proof” too. Materials like plastic, vinyl and polyester would be good as an accompaniment for the upholstery of your outdoor stools.

 

Conclusion

Bar stools are an interesting piece of fun and functional furniture that has increasingly found its adoption on the rise, for settings outside of the traditional old school pubs in the basement, to find itself being placed at various nooks and crannies inside of a home, including a kitchen, mini-bar, or game room. It can be used for various purposes, at different times, and as such are the perfect modern-day furniture to epitomize our needs to the point. Getting the height of the bar stool right is the first and perhaps the hardest decision making required when you’re surveying to buy a bar stool. But, you should also not neglect the seat width, the seat design, and very importantly the purpose that you intend to use the stool for. Bar stools offer flexibility, maneuverability and add a dash of color and fun to exemplify the contemporary and minimalistic lifestyle most of us lead today.

After reading this guide, you should be in the know-how with enough information on what to look for and what to not, as you go in to purchase your new bar stool. Happy Shopping!

If you need any other assistance before you buy a bar stool or want to enquire about which stool best suits your needs, feel free to contact us at contact@duringdays.com. You can let us know your queries and one of our staff members will get in touch with you within as soon as possible. We are the leading suppliers of the best quality bar stools across Australia including Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Victoria, and other prime localities. You can also avail some of the best deals and discounts we frequently offer our customers, to get your hands on some beautiful top-notch affordable bar stools, for really cheap prices.

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