Furniture Buying Guide: Bar Stools

 
 

BUYING GUIDE

Bar Stools

 

From kitchen island add-on to man cave must-haves, bar stools bring low-key cool to just about any room in your home—all while providing a space-saving seating perch. Here’s what you need to know to find your perfect set.

Shop All Bar Stools

Help Me Choose

Find the Right Height

Traditionally, counter stools tended to be shorter as compared to iconic high seating you’d find in a bar. But don’t get caught up in labels—the right stool for you is the one that fits your space. No matter what it’s called (or how gorgeous it looks), it won’t work if it’s too tall or too small. Just right really matters.

To start, measure from the floor to the counter’s underside, and subtract 9”-13” inches (or a little more if you like to cross your legs or want to accommodate guests on the stocky side). That’s your ideal bar stool height range.

Stools Come in a Selection of Four Heights

 

Table

Perfect for breakfast nooks and casual entertaining. These are shorter than counter or bar stools and can be an alternative option at a dining table.

Surface height range:
28-30 inches

Seat height range:
16-23 inches

Counter

Ideal for use in home bars and kitchen islands. Counter height stools are shorter than bar and restaurant stools and work best with 36 inch high counters.

Surface height range:
35-39 inches

Seat height range:
24-27 inches

Bar

A taller stool used mostly in bars or restaurants. May also work well with high counter surfaces in a garage. Fits a standard 42 inch bar countertop.


Surface height range:
41-43 inches

Seat height range:
28-33 inches

Extra Tall

Used with extremely high counter surfaces.

Surface height range:
44-47 inches

Seat height range:
34 inches and up

Adjustable Height

If you need a stool that adjusts to different situations consider an adjustable height one.

For versatility, you can’t beat stools that adapt to any situation, from kitchen counters and desks to elevated bars and garage workspaces. Ranges vary, with some as low as 23” or as high as 35” and up.

The Perfect Width

Getting the width right is just as key for comfortable seating. The trick is to leave at least 6 inches between stools, allowing for graceful maneuvering and adequate personal space (not to mention exiting with ease). To figure out your maximum stool width, measure the width of your counter space (where the stools will fit), and subtract the total amount of space needed between stools (6” for two, 12” for three, etc). Then divide that figure by the number of stools. If you find that number too narrow, you may need to lose a stool or be open for a slimmer model.

Pick a Style

Full Back Stools

They are available in a variety of styles that are commonly found on dining chairs. Some people prefer the support that a high full back stool offers.

Low Back Stools

Have a minimalist feel, with clean lines.

Backless Stools

If your counter space is limited or you prefer a super-casual atmosphere, backless stools are the way to go.

Optional Features

Looking for some bells and whistles? Consider these two helpful extras.

Swivel Seats

Kids adore spinning seats for obvious reasons, while adults appreciate the ability to pivot mid-conversation, and get in and out with ease. Some allow for a 360° rotation, while others snap back when released.

Foldable

Easy-to-store fold-up stools are ideal for spontaneous extra seating around the kitchen island or an outdoor bar in the summer.