Bar Stool Buying Guide

The bar stool may once have been the preserve of...well bars and pubs but it is now a very common and very desirable option for seating in and around the kitchen. The breakfast bar seems to continue to grow in popularity and along with it the humble bar stool. Part of the appeal is the ability to sit and socialise in the kitchen while food is being prepared. Long gone are the days of being shut away while guests drink and chat in the lounge, the kitchen is not only the heart of the home it's also the social hub. So getting the right bar stool for your kitchen area is critical. Choosing something that will suit your lifestyle and those of other household members, something that will look good, stand up to daily use and be comfortable is not an easy task. So here is our very own buying guide to help you choose the right bat stools for your home. 

James, Our Shaker Style Bar Stool

Stool Use and Location

Before anything else and no matter how much you have fallen in love with a certain type of stool you need to think about where they will be and how they will be used. For some a bar stool is exactly that and will be used in a home bar area or a commercial setting. For others, and by far the most common use, is at a breakfast bar in the kitchen or around an island. Whilst the location does not really effect the type of stool it should effect the amount of use it will get and therefore affect the build quality needed. However, even an occasional bar stool should be comfy and should look amazing so there are very few situations where quality is not key. 

bar stools at a breakfast bar

James, a Barista Bar Stool in Christian Lacroix finished in Green

With more and more people choosing stools for the kitchen dining area the issue of comfort becomes more important. Where once a stool may have been sat on occasionally they are now often used for hours at a time as guests chat or families work and prepare food alongside one another. Choosing a comfortable bar stool is critical because uncomfortable seating is certainly no good for family harmony or happy guests. 

Bar Stool Height

The average height of a kitchen breakfast bar is around 90cm while a commercial public bar is likely to be higher at around 110cm. To make sure you have enough leg room to actually sit down you should be looking at a stool height of 70-75cm. It is important to make sure you measure your bar height when considering bar stools. While it is good to be able to fit under the bar when seated it is not ideal to be too far below as eating, reading and feeling comfortable sitting depends on the surface being easy to reach. Our bar stools are between 70-72 cm which should be perfect for almost ever home bar. 

Bar Stool Width

When choosing your new bar stools colour, design, quality and material are all generally at the top of the list but width is, in fact, one of the most important factors. No matter how wonderful your stools are if people have to sit so close to each other that if one wants to get down everyone has to move then a mistake has been made! The length of the bar obviously plays a big role here but it is a good rule of thumb to leave around 15cm between each stool. Both of our wonderful bar stool models are 48cm wide so all you need to do is measure the length of your bar, subtract 48 x the number of stools you want and then another 15 x the number of gaps. This calculation might be worth doing before the final bar dimensions are in place so you can get the number of stools you want rather than being limited after the bar has been installed. The width of a stool is also important when it comes to comfort. Some bar stools are only 30cm wide which, while allowing you lots of seating places, may not be ideal for comfort. In contrast others are up to 70cm wide which, unless you have a huge bar area, may be a little over the top. Around 50 cm bar stool width allows for a good amount of seats while also meeting the comfort needs of most people. 

Stool Type

There are hundreds of different types of stools from low back to high back, leather and metal to wood and fabric; some spin, some don't, others have gas risers and some do not. The key in choosing the right stool type is to think about the style of your kitchen or bar area and work with that. Adding a modern set of bar stools to a traditional kitchen is not going to work so plan ahead and set the tone before you start looking. It is worth remembering that in many cases chrome and metal finishes can tarnish over time and cheaper painted finishes can also wear away. All of our stools are finished to a very high standard and are designed to last which means you do not have to worry about them look faded and flat 12 months after buying them. 

In some cases people want a bar stool to sit on and not really be seen but this can be a wasted opportunity. Bar stools are a great chance to colour pop and inject a flash of bold colour into  an otherwise understated kitchen or bar. This can be done through the finish and paint on the stool frame of by opting for a bold fabric seat. 

Shaker bar stools


For very contemporary kitchens and bars the classic leather and metal combination is still popular. But as more and more people turn to more natural finishes and styles in the home, the more natural crafted bar stools come into play. However, whilst a plain wood seat can be an option it can also be pretty uncomfortable if the stool is going to be used for any length of time. Upholstered bar stools offer the best of all worlds. There is a huge range of choice when it comes to fabrics and designs while also providing comfort. We offer a wide range of designer fabrics from the likes of Christian Lacroix and Matthew Williamson, as well as hard wearing and super comfy colour matching options. All of our stools are individually upholstered and offer a sumptuous level of comfort while remaining functional . 


Most people, given the choice, will opt to sit in a chair with a back rest in almost any situation. This is especially true with bar stools because of the added height. Not only does the backrest offer support for a more comfortable sitting position but it also gives a feeling of security and safety. This might be especially useful considering that many bar stools may play host to an occupant who has had a drink or two. 

Barista bar stools

Need Help?

If you would like to discuss your kitchen or bar area then please get in touch. We love helping customers work through the different material and colour options as well as looking at size, positioning and more. We can even colour match any commercial paints you are planning to use as well as fabric colours to create the perfect seating solution for your kitchen or bar.