How To Choose A Bar Stool

Do you need help in making a selection for versatile home bar seating options? We’ve listed the steps you need to follow to get the right bar stools that are sure to work for your space.

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How to Select the Right Height for Your Bar Stools?

There is nothing worse than bar stools that are either too short or too tall. They are not just uncomfortable, but they may also look disproportionate when they’re added to your interior.

Here is a breakdown of the common heights for bar stools and how you can choose among them:

  • Counter Stool

At 24 to 26 inches high, a counter stool is best paired with a surface that is 36 inches from the floor. Being the standard height for kitchen islands and counters, look for this kind of bar stool if it will be in your dining area.

Square Metal Blue Counter Stool
Saddle Solid Wood Backless Counter Stool
Heather Gray Upholstered Counter Stool
Bucket Dark Brown Metal Counter Stool
Saddle Dark Walnut Backless Counter Stool
Round Dark Espresso Wood Counter Stool
  • Classic Bar Stool

A standard bar is around 42 inches high, which means a bar stool that has a height of 30 inches is your best bet. It is the size of the bar stools that you often see in bars and restaurants.

White Saddle Solid Wood Classic Bar Stool
Square Plastic Acrylic Classic Bar Stool
Bucket Manufactured Wood Classic Bar Stool
Bucket Black Metal Classic Bar Stool
Square Metal Backless Classic Bar Stool
Square Dark Walnut Classic Bar Stool
  • Extra Tall Bar Stool

If your surface has a height of 48 inches or more, then go for a style that's extra tall. It typically measures 34 to 36 inches. An extra-tall bar stool is an incredible option for when you host viewing parties.

Round Antique White Solid Wood Extra Tall Bar Stool
Round Taupe Gray Metal Extra Tall Bar Stool
Square Black Metal Extra Tall Bar Stool
Round Brown Manufactured Wood Extra Tall Bar Stool
Round Medium Walnut Solid Wood Extra Tall Bar Stool
Light Oak Wood Round Extra Tall Bar Stool

What Design Features to Consider When Buying Bar Stools?

Bar stools are available in different designs. Before you make a decision, it is important that you consider both the aesthetic of the space and your comfort. Here are the common features to consider:

Dark Brown Metal Adjustable Height Swivel Bar Stool
Brown Solid Wood Upholstered Counter Bar Stool
Metal Galvanized Steel Bar Stool
Upholstered Chrome White Bar Stool
Dark Gray Upholstered Metal Counter Swivel Bar Stool
Saddle Black Wooden Metal Bar Stool
  • Arms and back

If your priority is comfort, then bar stools with armrests are the best choice. They're capable of providing more support compared to traditional backless stools. They are also perfect for sit-down meals at your breakfast bar.

The only downside? The stools are much wider in comparison to the backless styles. This means you won’t be able to place as many stools as you would have originally planned.

Round Dark Brown Metal Bar Stool With Arms
Square Solid Manufactured Wood Bar Stool With Arms
Bucket Walnut Manufactured Wood Bar Stool With Arms
Round Black Metal Bar Stool With Arms
Round Metal Upholstered Bar Stool With Arms
Square Brown Solid Wood Bar Stool With Arms
  • No back

Backless bar stools are perhaps the ones that are most commonly seen in furniture stores. Typically round, the stools are best if you are on the lookout for seating options that save space. They are also great if you prefer your stools to be kept hidden underneath your counter.

Take note that backless stools are not the most comfortable options. If the users of the stools will be sitting on them for a long time, this is a factor that you need to take into consideration.

Gray Metal Square Backless Bar Stool
Square Distressed Gray Solid Manufactured Wood Backless Bar Stool
Metal Upholstered Square Backless Bar Stool
Round Gunmetal Gray Metal Backless Bar Stool
Brown Round Metal Manufactured Wood Backless Bar Stool
Rustic Black Saddle Natural Wood Metal Backless Bar Stool
  • Swivel mechanism

A bar stool can be heavy. Opting for one that has a swivel function will prevent you and guests from having to scoot back from your counter. A swivel function is very convenient, but it might not be great for households that have children.

Round Metal Steel Faux Leather Swivel Bar Stool
Bronze Metal Faux Leather Swivel Bar Stool
Round Black Metal Foam Swivel Bar Stool
Bucket Chrome Deep Brown Metal Swivel Bar Stool
Round Red Metal Pedestal Swivel Bar Stool
Metal Black Brush Silver Round Swivel Bar Stool
  • Upholstery

If you use your kitchen counter as the main dining area of your home, then you may need an upholstered style. Upholstered stools aren’t just 10 times more comfortable compared to non-cushioned styles, but they also add a sense of formality into your countertop dining.

The downside is that your kitchen and dining areas are prone to spills and stains, especially if kids are going to use them. To make sure you beautiful stools have a long, attractive life, choose fabrics that will easily withstand the kitchen mishaps.

Leather and vinyl are by far the most forgiving, the latter being the less expensive option. Both are incredibly durable and easy to clean, althrough leather might need slightly more TLC.

If you, however, prefer the different blends of cotton, polyester or viscose (they offer a raibow of beautiful colors), give them a Scotchguard treatment to lengthen the life of your upholstery.

Also, remember that patterned fabrics hide stains and wear and tear better than plain-colored upholstery.

Dark Espresso Finish Cotton Linen Upholstered Bar Stool
Solid Wood Linen Square Upholstered Bar Stool
Brown Manufactured Wood Faux Leather Upholstered Bar Stool
Solid Wood Dark Walnut Polyester Upholstered Bar Stool
Espresso Manufactured Wood Linen Upholstered Bar Stool

How to Best Match the Bar Stool Material to Your Specific Needs?

Just like with any other kind of furniture, material matters when choosing bar stools. Whether you are on the lookout for a material that is great with a particular theme or style or you want one that is durable and can stand to daily, heavy use, you need to weigh all pros and cons for the materials that we have listed below.

  • Wood

Wood bar stools can be expensive, but they are solid and can fit in any style or aesthetic. Opt for wooden bar stools with upholstered cushions for added comfort. However, you need to keep them inside, so they don’t get wet and damaged.

If you intend to use wooden bar stools outdoors, make sure you choose denser wood such as acacia, eucalyptus, and teak as they are woods that are repellant to the weather and insects.

Round Antique Coffee Wood Bar Stool
Square Acacia Amber Wood Bar Stool
Black Mahogany Square Wood Bar Stool
Gray Square Wood Bar Stool
Beige Square Wood Bar Stool
Square Natural Grain Wood Bar Stool
  • Metal

A bar stool that is made of metal has a very sleek silhouette, which means it is especially suited for a small space. Style-wise, it is a perfect match for modern or industrial aesthetic, but brightly colored metal barstools are also a common choice for lovely farmhouse kitchens and dining rooms. Brushed with gold, iron barstools will look fabulous even in elegant, contemporary settings.

Counter Square Metal Bar Stool
Bucket Red Metal Bar Stool
Round Gold Iron Metal Bar Stool
Steel Square Pedestal Metal Bar Stool
Bucket Chrome Steel Metal Bar Stool
  • Wicker or Rattan

Wicker and rattan bar stools are timeless and casual. They make great additions to kitchens as they are to sunrooms. They are incredibly lightweight, so they can easily be moved around the space. Keep them in covered spaces unless they are made of an all-weather wicker.

Square White Distress Wicker Rattan Bar Stool
Saddle Marble Brown Wicker Rattan Bar Stool
Round Full Back Wicker Rattan Bar Stool
Low Back Square Wicker Rattan Bar Stool
Square Beige Wicker Rattan Bar Stool
Square Brown Rattan Wicker Bar Stool

Follow these steps and you won’t just have the appropriate bar stools for your home, but also great investment pieces that your family and friends are going to enjoy for years to come.