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.
Small stools. As well as the standard 36” bar stool, which is the average height for an average bar counter, all bars from local taverns to up-market cocktail lounges have additional seating areas. Obviously, the standard size of bar stool would be inappropriate for such a bar table or lounge area. Therefore proprietors should always have a stock of smaller stools for the lounge and seated area in the public bar. Usually, in most cases, only a 20” stool would be required to meet the comfortable table height. A good rule-rule-thumb for a table stool would be to give approximately 6” between the seat and table surface.
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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.
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.
The Height. Getting bar stools of the right height is a crucial factor. It will assure you the most convenient and comfortable sitting experience because you will have the optimal leg space between the counter and the stools. To achieve that, first measure the height from the bottom of the counter to the floor. Then deduct 10” to 12” from this number. This will give you the height the stools should have. So, for example, if your counter is 36” in height (which is a standard counter height), you should go for 24”- 26” stools. If you have a counter with a raised eating area, measure the distance from the bottom of the eating surface to the floor and then deduct the 10”- 12” to get the right height for your stools.