Bar Stool Buying Guide

The bar stool may once have been the preserve of...well bars and pubs, it is now a very common and very desirable option for seating in and around the kitchen. The breakfast bar or kitchen island  continues to grow in popularity and along with it the humble bar stool. It is safe to say the term bar stool covers a huge range of different types of seating from designer breakfast bar stools and shaker style bar stools to sumptuous barista stools. However, it does, of course, include a lot of somewhat less luxurious and desirable types of stool that play a somewhat more perfunctory role. 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 bar 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 Shaker Style 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. We think 20cm of leg room is ideal. 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. In terms of style our shaker bar stools are very popular but barista bar stools are also very common as well as many different interpretations of each style.  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 may not 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 style bar stools

Breakfast Bar Stool

The breakfast bar comes in many different shapes and sizes from small 2 seater benches, giving a small kitchen an extra seating area to large 4 or 6 seater oak and marble topped bars bringing a social area to a large kitchen. The breakfast bar is certainly not something that has been around for hundreds of years and continues to become and more and more popular choice in kitchen design. The seating choice at this highly popular interior choice is similar in one big way…the seats have to be tall. They also have to fit neatly against or under the counter top itself. The breakfast bar stool tends to have a back rather than being a tall version of a traditional stool. There are short backed, high backed and rounded back options available. Others come with arms although this is far less common and can be a challenge when fitting under the counter. Most Breakfast bar stools are upholstered for extra comfort and it is fair to say that nearly all are used at any time of the day and not just breakfast. 

Our Cheeky breakfast bar stools are shaker style and provide a beautiful splash of colour and style to any home. Our new Colour Blend Collection features our James bar stool that can be made-to-order in your choice of paint colour and seat fabric. It has never been more easy to add a stylish splash of cat-walk colour to your kitchen or breakfast bar! And with 18 versatile fabric colours to choose from you are bound to be able to be able to match your chosen colour scheme.

Our Shaker Style James Bar Stool in one of our Colour Match Options

Shaker Style Bar Stool

The Shaker Style Bar stool stems much more from the coffee shop culture than the interior feel of the breakfast bar. Often made in black, or darker shades of colour this stool is a sumptuous bu flexible choice offer a traditional feel as well as a contemporary one. However this type of stool is just as at home at the breakfast bar or kitchen island. The shaker stool is often used as a designer barista bar stool and is an ever popular choice in stunning modern homes across the country and the world.

All of our stools offer something that is so much more than just something to sit on. The use of luscious animal prints, velvets and luxurious fabrics alongside deep colour schemes can really bring style and impact to a kitchen or bar area.

Christian Lacroix Butterfly Parade on a Shaker Style Bar Stool

 

 


Material

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 . 


Backrests

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

Where to use a Shaker and Breakfast Bar Stool

Bar Stools are not only useful at the standard breakfast bar. Larger homes with central kitchen islands are the perfect place to allow guests and family to sit and chat while enjoying a glass of wine. Some houses have dedicated bar areas where perhaps a traditional bar stool does not fit with the interior feel. Here a Barista, Breakfast or Shaker Style Bar Stool would make a perfect option. Backed stools can even be used in studios design studios and workshops where the work area are elevated.

Whether the home follows a more contemporary theme or a classical styling stools can always play a role by looking great, providing elevated comfort and being a critical part of the interior design. Where the barista style bar stool might sit in a sleek modern kitchen a more traditional shaker style bar stool can be at home in a traditional kitchen or dining area.

  • Breakfast Bars
  • Kitchen Islands
  • Bedrooms
  • Studios and workshops
  • Bars and Resturants


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.