How to Shop for the Perfect Bar Stool

Caitlin Bar Table and Chairs - Acme Furniture

Bar and counter stools are popular home seating options for both kitchens and recreational spaces like home bar rooms. Choosing these furnishings, however, can be a bit challenging as it’s crucial to purchase stools that are the ideal size and height for your space. Today, bar stools come in a wide range of styles and may boast many different features. Some stools swivel while others feature backs or even arms and footrests. In this short guide, we’ll explore how to shop for the perfect bar stools or counter stools for your home. We’ll help you ensure that you get the right sized stools for your table, bar, or living space.

About Stools: What’s the Difference between Bar and Counter Stools?

It’s not uncommon for people to use the terms bar stools and counter stools interchangeably. However, there is a difference that primarily has to do with height. In short, bar stools feature a higher range of possible heights than counter stools. Therefore, when you choose between these two types, you’ll want to know the precise height of your bar. That way, you’ll be able to confine your search to counter or bar stools. Both types of these stools come in a dazzling array of styles and pricing. 

 Choosing Stools by Height

The key to choosing a stool by height is to remember that the two main types of stools are bar stools and counter stools, but you can also shop for short stools and extra tall stools. In order to choose, measure the height of your bar; then, remember that there should be a 10 to 12 inches between the seat of the stool and the bottom of the counter, bar, table, or island. 

 When discussing stool height, we’re discussing seat height. Common stool dimensions are as follows:

  • Short Height Stools:16-23 inches
  • Counter Stools: 24 - 27 inches
  • Bar Stools: 28-33 inches
  • Extra Tall Stools: 34-40 inches

Again, when you choose one of the above stool types, you’ll first need to consider the height of the counter or bar first. Then, choose a type that features a 10-12-inch gap between the seat height and the bottom of the counter.

 Choosing Stools by Width

Many shoppers, understandably, choose stools because of the inherent comfort they may offer. Comfort, of course, is important, but when considering width, you should also think about how much space you have to work worth. If your area is a compact one and you’re hoping to fit three bar stools into your space instead of just two, you’ll want to choose stools that are more narrow in width. Common stool widths include: 15 inches, 17 inches, and 21 inches. Ideally, try to leave a space of at least six inches between your bar stools to ensure comfort. Otherwise, people will be inclined to bump elbows.

 Choosing Stools by Design

You can choose stools for your home based on their design characteristics. As you consider design traits, think about which will work best for your breakfast counter or bar.

 Backless Stools

Both counter height chairs and bar chairs are available in backless styles. Often featuring simple constructions without ornate design details, these stools are perfectly functional and made in a wide range of materials, including wood, metal, and even acrylic. Because these stools offer less support than bar chairs with backs and armrests, they may not be ideal for settings where you expect occupants to sit for a long time. Instead, they’re perfect for quick breakfasts around your kitchen island.

 Adjustable Stool

Looking for bar stools with adjustable height? Adjustable stools offer you the versatility you need in order to accommodate different counters. Depending on who uses your stools, adjustable height may be necessary to ensure comfort. While many bar and counter height stools are designed without this feature, you can find both types with the adjustability option; although, you may not find them in as wide a range of styles.

 Stools with Armrests

If you have space around your bar to accommodate stools with armrests, you’ll find that these chairs offer a robust level of support and comfort for sitters. The armrests will necessarily add additional width to the seats, which means your bar or counter stools will take up more space. As a result, you might not be able to fit the same number of stools in your space as you wished.

 Swivel Chairs

By offering a range of motion, swivel chairs make sitting and departing from your bar convenient. If you have a large bar, swivel chairs make conversing easy for guests as well. If you have guests who suffer from back pain, the ability to swivel in order to exit the chair makes for a more comfortable experience. 

 Covered Bar Stools

Looking for a more formal look for your bar? Add some upholstered stools to your setting. Not only are these stools attractive from an aesthetic standpoint, but they will also add great comfort to your space. If you plan to entertain your guests around your bar for long periods of time, upholstered seating ensures a more plush and cozy experience for sitters.

 Choose Bar Stools by Style

Finally, of course, you may wish to select your bar or counter height chairs based on their appearance. When shopping, you should be able to locate counter and bar height chairs in multiple decorative styles, including industrial, traditional, cottage, contemporary, vintage-inspired, and more. Consider the room where your bar is located and choose stools that will complement your setting. 

Keep this information in mind as you begin to shop for bar or counter stools for your home. Naturally, you’ll want to consider the quality of construction before you make your purchase. Any models you choose should have a reputation for durability as well as design style. Check out the high-quality bar and counter height stools available from Modern Bar Room. We also feature cabinets, racks, carts, and more.