A Beginner's Guide to Buying Bar Stools
Often seen in your kitchen, dining room, or outdoor setting, a bar stool is a fantastic seating option that can spruce up literally any room possible. Designing a room, especially a kitchen with bar stools, creates a fresh statement with versatile and unique seating features.
But the trickiest part is how it can fit your space's layout. What is the right bar stool height? How about the size? The materials? Free-standing or built-in?
With so many styles to choose from, we'll help you narrow your choices to the best ones with this bar stool buying guide.
Bar Stool Size
The bar's dimension is one of the most important factors to consider when shopping for a bar stool. Depending on your counter or table's height, your stool should be the right height to let your legs be tucked under the table, giving you a comfortable and ergonomic fit.
You may select from standard bar stools or counter-height bar stools, which are lower. Some stools can fit regular dining tables. To determine what bar stool height is perfect for your table's height, get your tape measure ready and start measuring your space.
Generally, standard kitchen bars require 29–32 inches of bar-height seating from the floor. We use these stools for 41- to 43-inch worktops. The lower counter bar has a 23- to 28-inch seat that complements a countertop that is 35 to 37 inches tall. If you're looking for a more versatile solution, go for an adjustable bar stool.
Note: When choosing your bar stool's height, consider the legroom to make sure you can freely move or adjust your feet when sitting.
How to Measure Your Space
- Measure the counter’s height from the top to the floor, then subtract 12 inches to give you enough legroom.
- Include armrest measurements and the space between the stool and counter.
Ideal Distance Between Bar Stools
This depends on how spacious your counter or island is and how many stools are needed. To ensure your comfort, we recommend leaving at least 6 inches (15 cm) between each end of the stools. Measure twice to be sure! If you have to position your bar stools against the wall, allow enough space between your backrest and the wall so you can comfortably move and walk around without restrictions.
A Bar Stool with Back or No Back?
Style is important when choosing a bar stool, but we can't deny that comfort is the most vital. While the main focus of designing with bar stools is to complement the counter without taking its spotlight, bar stools have lower backrests that mostly take the visual focus away from a chair.
So how do you ensure your comfort?
The idea is to understand the purpose of your stool in the kitchen. Backless and low-back seats are great for short stays, but if you use the stool for a longer period, choose a piece with a higher backrest. Many stools have very lightweight designs to avoid providing too much visual impact to make up for the back height.
With Arms or With No Arms?
Some tall bar stools can also come with armrests, like other chair styles.
The presence of armrests makes the seat comfier and warmer. Although they are essential to keeping a cosy bar, we highly suggest you consider your space since armrests take up relevant space.
Before shopping, measure the width of your counter, divided by the number of seats you intend to fit in the space. Make sure you allow at least 15 cm between the seats. For your reference, the average seat width is 40 cm.
If the seat has arms, the width can increase to 50 cm.
Bar Stools Styles
There are myriads of bar stool styles you can splurge on, from simple to swivel to intricately designed bar stools. What you choose depends on your preferences and comfort requirements.
Bistro Style Bar Stool
A cafe-like bar stool brings a clean and rustic feel to the kitchen. It comes with a tall backrest and a detailed look. If you want to accentuate your simple counter area and make it more visually interesting, opt for a bistro bar stool.
Bucket Bar Stool
We frequently see bucket stools at food stations, restaurants, and bars. They are notably sturdy and can withstand wear and tear. Compared to standard wood or metal bar stools, a bucket bar stool provides better comfort because of its structure and thick cushioning.
Swivel Bar Stool
Based on its name, a swivel bar stool presents a rotating mechanism that helps you move into a comfortable position without adjusting the whole chair. This can help prevent wear and tear and scratching on the floor. One thing to ensure when shopping for a swivel stool is to allow enough space between the seats since they are generally heavy.
Stationary Bar Stools
Compared to swivel stools, stationary bar stools have fixed seats. Although you will need to get up and manually move your chair when adjusting your position, the good thing about a stationary bar stool is that you can position it based on what works for you.
Like other seat types, bar stools are also made with a variety of materials. Your choice of materials will help determine how your space will look and how comfortable you can be as you use the chairs. When choosing your bar stool material, factor in how you will use your chair.
For example, metal is not the most comfortable option, but it is very stylish, easy to clean, and durable. This is great if you want something that is low maintenance. Wood is also a durable material and is highly versatile, giving you many choices in terms of style. Many furniture designers and manufacturers add cushions and fabrics to the seat to make the generally robust material comfortable. Upholstered bar stools lean more toward modern and formal looks.
We hope that the simple guidelines above will help you become an equipped furniture shopper and be a step closer to your dream space.
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