Once restricted to the local public house in the United Kingdom and Ireland and to the imitators in North America, 30 ” and 24” bar stools are now common place household furniture. Not only have these stools entered into the residential furniture market but they have broken out of a centuries old mold. For centuries bar stools seemed to be of uniform size and material. Times have changed. For literally centuries, stools found in bars were 30 inches in height. Of course, the height was specifically engineered so that a person could comfortably belly up to the bar and consume much ale. The stools were generally constructed from oak or another hardwood. The stools were firmly balanced upon 4 legs that were each attached to the underside of the stool seat a few inches towards the centre from each corner. As you can imagine, having a sturdy base of support was an important element in early bar furniture.
If, like many people, your kitchen is eclectic with no particular theme, there is still a bar stool that will look great. You can really let your creativity show with hand painted stools that depict many items from flowers, to fruit to ocean scenes. One word of caution when choosing a bar stool – you must be sure to get the right height for your counter or table. Normally bar stool seats range from 17” to 31” in so there is a good chance you will be able to buy the stool you love in the size you need. To figure out what that size is, you should measure the distance from the bottom of the table or counter to the floor. An ideal fit would be to leave between 10 and 13 inches of space from the bottom of the table to the top of the seat of the stool, so if your table was 35” from the floor, you would want to get a 24” bar stool. This is rather important as buying a stool that does not properly fit your table or counter will result in uncomfortable seating.
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Restaurant furniture can be a large investment, taking proper care of wood stools can significantly expand their life, be sure to read the manufacturer's care instructions. Clean spills immediately, this can be difficult in a busy bar environment but an upholstered bar stool can quickly become ruined if liquor or other items stain the seat area. The faster the spill is cleaned up, the less time the spill has to soak into the fabric. Try and avoid positioning bar stools too close to walls as they will rub on the wall and damage both the wall and the stool. Try and encourage customers to not lean back on two legs, not only can this lead to an injury claim if the customer falls, it also puts a large strain on the back legs and the back of the seat which can cause either area to fracture under the tension. Wooden stools shouldn't be placed in a setting where they are exposed to extreme dry or humid conditions. Wooden bar stools will dispel or attract moisture depending on the environment conditions. As the wood furniture absorbs moisture from the air around it in a humid environment it will swell just as it will contract when exposed to an extremely dry environment. There is a natural cycle for all wood furniture but when taken to extremes it can cause the wood to crack, weaken, or split over time.
Modern style rectangular saddle bar stool. When you would like to establish that wild west cowboy feel in your home, but you have modern style kitchen furniture and fixtures, then you should consider modern style saddle counter stools. They will still be made of wood. Some modern style saddle counter stools have their seat shaped in a downward curve, resembling the curvature of the saddle. Despite the rectangular shape of the ”floor plan” of the seat, you will be able to sit on the chair looking forward, as if riding, and straddling the chair with your legs, or you will be able to sit sideways, with your legs together, and your behind safely seated in the curve of the saddle seat. Others have their ”saddle” made of straight, flat wood, which might be a type of seat you are more used to.
Alternatively, you may prefer to buy stools with detachable bar stool that tie-on to the seatbacks. This gives you the advantage of being able to change the covers for cleaning or if you fancy a change of look, and can be useful if your stools get lots of use. When deciding which bar stools to buy, remember to take accurate measurements of the space available, to ensure a comfortable fit. Bar stools should be just the right height, so they are comfortable to sit in, with adequate legroom, but close enough to the counter top for convenience. As a rough guide, aim for a gap of around 9 or 10 inches between the seat and the counter. Think about the positioning of your bar stools and leave enough space between each one for people to be able to move freely. Commercial style swivel bar stools can work well in home settings too, and are great for saving space.