Bar Stool Buying Guide

1. Measuring guide

To choose the right bar stool start with measuring. You’ll want to take detailed measurements of your table or counter’s height, width, and depth.

If you have a bar height between 40″-42″H, you’ll want a stool that has a 30″ seat height. Counter height surfaces that are 36″H accommodate a stool with a 24″-26″ seat height. If your table or counter isn't a standard size, consider allowing at least 10″-13″ between your table or counter and the top of the bar stool seat.

Be sure to allow adequate elbow room by reserving 24"-26" per bar stool. If the stool has arms or turns on a swivel allow at least 30″ for each seat.

2.  Style Guide

Bar stools come in any and every style imaginable!  There are thousands to choose from.  You can buy stools that blend with your current space, or you can use them as an accent in your decor.  The shape and materials of the frame and seat, along with the finish impact the stool.  Some things to consider: 

Wood: Quality can vary greatly with wooden stools. The best frames are made from kiln-dried hardwoods for durability. Wooden designs tend to be more traditional, bringing old-world sophistication to a room. Finishes run from dark to light, and can be matched with complimentary upholstery.

Metal: Metal stools are sturdy and long lasting. They come in any style you want. Finishes range from shiny stainless steel to subdued antiqued brass or brushed nickel.

Upholstery: A cushioned seat provides utmost comfort and adds character to a stool. Whether made of fabric or leather, bar stool upholstery should be easy to clean and maintain. Leather, microfiber, and polyester typically offer more stain-resistance, an important factor around food and beverages.  


3.  Function guide

Swivel?  Backless?  Armless?

Swivel Mechanism: Swivel stools have a turning range of 180°-360° that makes them generally easier to get on and off. They also are great in social situations allowing you to turn to different people with ease. Better swivels will automatically return to the front-facing position, maintaining a neat and tidy look. Keep in mind that swivel stools require more spacing and sometimes can present a challenge for older guests or small children.

Backless:  Backless stools require less space and are lighter in weight, making them easier to move. Tucked away, they provide an uncluttered sight line in a room. Without a back, they offer less support, so they are best used in areas where people won’t be sitting for extended periods of time. They’re also ideal for counters with less depth or overhang.

Arms: Arms offer additional comfort, support, and style, but they also take up additional space, so you’ll want to make sure they can fit under your table or counter top.

Bar stools serve both a decorative and a practical function. Taking time to measure and consider other factors before you buy will ensure that you will be comfortable with your purchase for years to come.


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