A staple seating choice in many kitchens and dining room interiors, a bar stool is no longer just a seat you’ll find tucked around the bar at your local pub!
Taller than your average chair, bar stools often have adjustable heights and a footrest to support your feet when seated. The height and narrow shape of bar stool seating have made them ideal for use at bars and at high tables in pubs, but in recent years bar stools have increasingly found a place in the home, generally around a kitchen island, counter or a home bar. Wooden and metal bar stools, stainless steel and chrome styles, and adjustable height features are all very popular, so there are plenty of shapes and designs of bar stools to choose from.
So whether you’re wondering how to style a bar stool in your home, what bar stool height is right for your counter or whether to have a fixed height or gas lift seat, you’ve come to the right place! This blog post, along with our handy Bar Stool Pocket Guide, is packed full of bar stool sizing and styling tips. So sit back and relax as we guide you on how to find the perfect bar stool for your home.
What’s the Right Size Bar Stool for My Kitchen?
First things first; measurements. You could find the comfiest bar stool but if it doesn’t fit, then it’s not going to be right for your home. So when it comes to bar stool sizing, there are a couple of key measurements to consider:
- 1) Height (we’ll talk about fixed and gas lift later)
- 2) Seat width (from side to side)
- 3) Seat height (this is from the floor to the top of the seat)
- 4) Seat depth (the back to the front)
- 5) Back height (so the height of the backrest)
- 6) Footprint (how much room the base of the stool occupies)
If you’re buying a bar stool online, most websites will list all of these vital measurements. However, if there are any missing there’s no harm in ringing up and finding out. It’s best to know your sizing before hand than ordering a bar stool that doesn’t fit!
Top Tip: As a general rule, it’s best to allow about 15 cm between bar stools for a comfortable seating arrangement. If the stools swivel, you’ll need a little more space for the seat to rotate. It’s also a good idea to consider how often you’ll be using the stools. Will it be for everyday dining or special occasions and drinks with friends? This will help you decide what type of bar stool you need.
What’s the Difference Between Counter Height and Bar Height Bar Stools?
There are two main bar stool heights: counter height and bar height. Do check these measurements because they are different.
A counter height stool is more suited to a kitchen worktop counter and is generally 58cm – 71cm from the floor to the seat. This sizing means it should be used with a surface that is between 88cm – 93cm high.
On the other hand, bar height refers to higher bar areas. A stool of this size is generally 73cm – 81cm from the floor to the seat. This should be used with a surface that is between 104cm -109cm high.
Fixed Height, Gas Lift or Cantilever?
There’s really no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing a fixed height, gas lift or cantilever bar stool, it’s more about what works best for you and your setting. A gas lift offers a bit more flexibility while a fixed height stool will help keep your space looking uniform. A cantilever stool is something a little bit different and will instantly add a contemporary vibe to your room. Here’s a quick run down of the features and benefits of each.
The main benefit of a gas lift bar stool is its adjustability. You’re not set at one height so you have a bit more flexibility when it comes to matching up with counter heights. A gas lift mechanism also means that the individual sat on the stool can adjust the seat to suit them.
Top Tip: Gas lift bar stools are usually on a pedestal base. Remember to account for the stools footprint when you are planning out your space, as some have a wider bottom half.
A fixed height stool does what it says on the tin: it’ll always be at a fixed position. This can be really beneficial if you can find a stool that matches your counter height, as you’ll have a seat that’s always at the optimum height and a comfortable position. Generally more lightweight than gas lift bar stools, a fixed height stool is also much easier to move and reposition around your breakfast bar or in your dining area.
Top Tip: If you’re sure you don’t need the function and you are conscious of a budget, save yourself a few pounds and stick to a fixed height rather than gas lift stool.
Okay so cantilever bar stools technically come under fixed height stools, but we thought this seat deserved a special mention. Unlike a fixed height bar stool, a cantilever base will provide a gentle bounce when seated. It’s not as much movement as a gas lift, but it’s enough to add an extra bit of comfort. A cantilever stool is great for opening up the area around your breakfast bar, so consider this if you’d like to create a really clean and spacious look. This is because cantilever stools have less of a visual impact so free up lots more space.
Top Tip: A stool with a flat front, such as our Form Chrome Bar Stool, can sit close to the panel of a breakfast bar when not in use, keeping the area looking effortlessly sleek and neat.
What Style of Bar Stool Should I Choose?
With so many different shapes and styles of bar stool available, you really will be spoilt for choice! To make your selection a bit easier, we’ve done the edit on a variety of bar stool styles:
A bar stool with armrests will offer that extra bit of support when seated. It also offers a more encompassing seat sit that is super supportive. Often bar stools with armrests have a deep seat which creates such a generous and luxurious feel. This will allow friends and family to sit comfortably on your bar stools for even longer.
A backless bar stool can neatly be tucked under your counter or breakfast bar making it a great space saver. A backless seat will also have less of a visual impact in your room. If you’re after more support, a bar stool with a backrest of 30cm or more is ideal for lumbar support and added comfort.
A bar stool with a footrest will offer that extra bit of help getting onto the stool and will also provide a place to comfortably rest your feet when seated. There are loads of different styles available so it’s best to think about what will work within your interior.
What Material Bar Stool Should I Choose?
Easy to clean and maintain, faux leather bar stools are usually available in a whole variety of colours. Faux leather is a little lighter on the purse than real leather so this might be a better option if you’re updating your home on a budget.
GREAT FOR – easy cleaning and everyday use. Faux leather is a really popular material choice as it’s ideal for seating that’s used every day.
HOW TO CLEAN – Use a damp microfibre cloth and a mild detergent such as washing up liquid. Regular cleaning will help to prevent a buildup of surface marks.
A Real Leather Bar Stool
You’ll really feel the difference when you’re sat in a real leather bar stool, and it’s strength and durability means that it has great longevity. What’s more, this stunning material actually gets better with age.
GREAT FOR – style and longevity. At a slightly higher price point, a real leather bar stool is an investment piece. If you spend a lot of time in your kitchen and want to create a “heart of the home” kind of feel, it’s definitely worth buying the best you can afford.
HOW TO CLEAN – Use an absorbent cloth or sponge to wipe the affected areas. If you really want to give your leather some TLC, it’s worth investing in a leather maintenance kit which will look after the leather before, during and after cleaning.
A Plastic Bar Stool
Perfect for families, a plastic bar stool is so easy to wipe clean. Plastic bar stools are usually available in a range of colours so are a great opportunity to inject some colour into your space.
GREAT FOR – Hygiene for families. Most plastic bar stools can withstand the use of harsher chemical based cleaners such as bleach, making plastic stools perfect for quick and easy clean ups after busy family mealtimes.
HOW TO CLEAN – Mild household cleaning sprays, furniture wipes, or even baby wipes are fine to use on plastic bar stools. After cleaning, dry your plastic chairs thoroughly to avoid having to deal with stubborn water marks
An oak bar stool has such a wonderfully warm and tactile quality and is ideal for adding a really welcoming and homely feel around your breakfast bar.
GREAT FOR – Adding an element of texture to a modern kitchen or coordinating with a slightly more traditional or Scandi inspired design.
HOW TO CLEAN – A regular light dusting with a soft cloth will remove any dust or bits caused by everyday use. When it comes to cleaning, wipe up any marks immediately with a soft slightly dampened cloth. We advise that you don’t use household cleaning products unless they are specifically designed for use on real oak furniture, as they can potentially damage the wonderfully smooth surface of the oak.
What Material Base Should I Choose?
Chrome Bar Stool
A chrome bar stool will add a really modern and contemporary feel to your space, due to its bright and reflective quality.
GREAT FOR – creating a really modern and bright look. If you have chrome finishes in your kitchen or dining chairs, it’s great to tie all the elements together for clean and coordinated look.
HOW TO CLEAN – Use soap and water on a soft cloth. You can always add a splash of vinegar to give your cleaning an extra boost. Don’t use abrasive cleaners on your chrome bar stools as any scratches caused can potentially expose the material to the air and cause rusting.
Slightly more subtle than chrome, a brushed metal stool will provide a great coordinating feature, helping to create a seamless and contemporary vibe throughout your kitchen or dining area.
GREAT FOR – Coordinating with brushed elements in your kitchen. The matt surface of brushed metal is a little easier to maintain than chrome as it won’t show up fingerprints as easily.
HOW TO CLEAN – For every day cleaning and non-stubborn marks, you can simply use some hot (not boiling) water and a cloth or sponge to wipe over your stainless steel furniture. You can always add a little bit of washing up liquid if you cleaning needs and extra boost. Stay away from oven cleaners or products that contain chloride as this will damage the surface.
A dark luxe take on a regular chrome finish, black chrome has such a luxurious and almost mysterious quality about it. Opt for black chrome if you’re after a more subtle alternative to silver chrome or if you want to create a really on trend look.
GREAT FOR – creating something a little bit different. Black chrome is a great choice if you don’t want a completely matched up look, or you if you already have too many other finishes to try and coordinate with.
HOW TO CLEAN – Use soap and water on a soft cloth and if the mark still doesn’t go away, we suggest using a splash of vinegar to give your cleaning that extra boost. Waxing chrome after a good clean is also very useful if you want to keep its high shine for even longer.
So there you have it, a complete guide on how to choose the right bar stool for you home.
Not all bar stool’ed out just yet? Great! Now you know all the insider info on how to choose the perfect seat, why not head over to our website and see what great bar stool varieties we have to offer. If you’d like to print our bar stool sizing tips, you can also view our Bar Stool Pocket Guide.
Want to read more Danetti Guides? we also have a handy How To Guide on Choosing Your Perfect Dining Bench.
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Now you know how to choose the perfect bar stool, we’d love to see the results! Whether you’ve long since been a fan of bar stool seating, or are having a mini home makeover, tag us in your pics on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Don’t forget to use #mydanetti.