The classic bar stool is more functional than stylish but a wide selection of wooden and metal stools are highly functional as well as stylish. Many of today's wooden bar stools and metal bar stools are stylish pieces of furniture in their own right that also fulfill the function of the classic stool. The swivel seat is an excellent feature on many stools, especially if they will be used in a tight space, but be careful as the swivels on some stools tend to break and are not as durable as getting a non-swivel stool. Seat backs are also a good feature to consider as they are more comfortable. When trying to choose a style for your bar look to the rest of the dining area for inspiration. Many manufacturers offer the same style of furniture in both a bar stool and chair version.
Retro. Retro is in these days and what better way to accent your retro style kitchen than with stools that borrow design elements from the good old days. You can buy brand new stools that are chrome and vinyl in a myriad of styles. Unlike actual vintage stools you won't have to worry about rusting metal or ripped upholstery with new stools. You can get great stools with or without backs in a retro 50's look, a vinyl retro lounge look with a full back and arms, and even backless counter stools just like you would see in the soda shop.
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What all these stools have in common is that they are made of wood. Back in the times of wild west, metal was not as prevalent as it is today, and the cowboys had to make do with the materials that were more readily accessible, in particular wood. So the cowboys had to master the art of woodworking to create these stools. The other materials the cowboys had available were natural leathers, either coming from caught wild animals, but more commonly from the cows that were slaughtered for their meat. Another thing these western saddle bar or counter stools have in common is that, just like the horse saddles, they never feature a back rest, or the arm rests.
Kitchen stools. Whether its a modern breakfast bar you have or a traditional pine table, kitchen stools can be ideal for your seating requirements. Traditional chairs or bar stools like those pictured below can give that warm feeling that you had whenever you where in your mama's kitchen. Alternatively a metal, chrome or aluminum look can add sleek and sophistication to any modern kitchen. As with the pub stools the height of the counter should be considered prior to purchasing any stools or chairs. The standard breakfast bar is usually 36” which would suggest that you use a 30” stool. When considering a breakfast bar the rule-of-thumb is to have a 6-10” gap between the counter and the seat to derive maximum comfort. However, if you have traditional seating arrangements around a table leave a 6” gap.
Cafe stools. For a cafe it is always best to have metal stools or chairs as opposed to plastic. Plastic has a cheap look and feel to it whereas metal lends to both modern and traditional eating environments. They come in many different styles and designs and can produce a real European flavour to any dining area. In addition metal stools or chairs can be used both inside and in an outside seated area. I have been in expensive coffee houses where the exterior eating area has mirrored the inside and this allows you to enjoy the feel of the inside environment while enjoying the sun.