With the rising popularity of the kitchen islands and bars in the houses around the world, it’s hard to imagine a kitchen without any kind of bar stools. It’s a fact that these days, your average kitchen is much more than simply a room designed for eating and food preparation.
Today, a kitchen is a multi-purpose hear of every house. It’s a place where you socialize, where you have fun, and finally – it’s a place that gives you a great opportunity of showing your soul to everyone who enters it. After all, we’re all very complex beings, and simple armchairs won’t cut it when it comes to expressing our character.
Because of their diversity, versatile ways of application and a wide choice of styles, bar stools are just outstanding when it comes to expressing your inner self. Not only that but they also allow you to expand on the ways you use your kitchen.
Whether you are the kind of a person who loves inviting your friends and throwing a party or a family guy who needs a place for their kids to sit at when they do their homework, without the need for them to go to their rooms, bar stools won’t fail to deliver. Of course, the kitchen island is a modification that works best with bar stools, for obvious reasons – but it’s not the only kitchen design that loves bar stools.
Be it a bar, a kitchen island or just a high kitchen table, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed if you give bar stools a chance – but to do it right, you need to have basic knowledge about them, and a good enough understanding of the best way to design a kitchen in which they are to be placed.
In this guide to bar stools, we’ll try to cover everything there is to know about them, so stay with us.
Before you decide the type and design of your future bar stools, it’s good to know how many of them can you comfortably place around your counter or bar. In this case, the width of your bar stools is the most important factor – we will cover the different available widths in a second. For now, keep in mind that you have to leave at least 6 inches of free space, separating each bar stool, so that their users won’t touch each other, as that could not be very comfortable. Before you get to choosing the width, measure your counter, so you know how much of free space do you have
While, of course, the wider the bar stool seat, the more comfortable it is to sit on, it also takes up more space. Because of that, you will have to choose which is more important to you – wider seats, or more bar stools in front of your counter.
There are three standard seating widths, that your bar stool can have – 15 inches, 17 inches, and 21 inches. Again, please remember that you have to leave at least 6 inches of free spaces between each bar stool.
Now you can make an informed decision about the number of your barstools, as well as their width. What about their height, though?
When we talk about bar stools, we have a pretty straightforward image in our heads – a stool standing next to a bar. Well, let’s just say it’s not that simple from the producers point of view. Bar stools that we know are actually three different kinds of barstools, and each of them differs a bit from the other. So, what we call bar stools, can actually be.
- The counter stools – an average counter is 36 inches, so you need a stool of around 24 or 26 inches to be able to comfortably sit in front of a counter – hence the name, counter stools. These are the kind of barstools designed to be used paired with an average counter.
- The bar stools – some counters have portions of them designed for different purposes, and thus they have a different height in some areas. Some of them are also just higher overall. We’re talking about 42 inches here, as this is the standard height of a higher counter – which we call a bar. What we need for bars are bar stools, which measure 30 inches.
- The stadium stools – these are the tallest kind of barstools, to be used when we have the highest available bar in our kitchen. Such a bar is normally around 48 inches high, and the barstools measure up to 36 inches. They are usually used when we have a big family or often invite guests, so you use different sizes of seats in your house so that everyone can view TV, for example.
Okay, so these are the standard variations of barstools – and everything would be fine and dandy, if not for one drawback. With such bar stools, you’re basically deemed to replace them together with your table, or your counter, whenever you decide for an overhaul and changing some of your furniture. Simply put, you’re unable to change only your counter, and that’s not a very convenient situation. Is there anything we can do to help it, then?
Fortunately, yes. The producers of both the bars and stools understood the problem that this situation is causing and figured out a way to fix it – today, most of the barstools are equipped with special mechanisms for height adjusting.
Because of this feature now you’re able to adjust the height of your stools no matter the counter or bar you have in your house, so that’s a huge plus. What types of adjustable bar stools are available, then?
- Lever – a bar stool comes equipped with a lever, similar to the one you might know from your office armchair. Simply pushing it up or down makes the stool go… up and down. Simple enough.
- Screw – here you adjust the height of your stool by rotating the giant screw mechanism located under the seat of your stool. While being a bit more of a hassle, it’s the more solid option, and you’re less likely to accidentally pull the level, causing your stool to lower itself.
Bar stools differ not only in height and the mechanisms allowing you to change their height but also in the extra features they come equipped with. Let’s see what clever solutions can you put on your stools:
- Swivel bar stools – very popular choice among people that value their comfort. These stools are usually very heavy, because if it wasn’t so, there would be a risk of flipping when you turned around. Turning a standard stool around, getting on, then trying to get in the perfect spot to sit close to a bar is a pretty awkward procedure – avoid it with a proper set of swivel bar stools.
- Footrests – this is pretty self-explanatory, but let’s cover it pretty fast. Footrests obviously let you rest your foot on them, which is a plus in our book. It also makes your stools more solid and enhances the overall comfort of usage.
- Cushions – while not a feature that’s strictly connected only with the bar stools, it’s still worth mentioning. Your average, simple bar stools are usually rather hard to sit on. Well, that is until you get yourself a set of matching cushions. Some styles of bar stools present themselves really well with cushions that are cohesive in style.
- Backrests – naturally, some bar stools also come with backrests, to grant a maximum comfort to your back. Keep in mind, however, that these won’t have the ” bar” feeling to them, and are best used in more modern kitchen designs.
- Armrests – if you’re a person that values comfort above all else, bar stools with armrests might be just up your alley. If you choose such bar stools, it might be best you think about upholstery or padding too, but that’s up to you.
- Upholstery – another thing to consider, when choosing your bar stools, is whether you want them to have padding attached or not. It’s also a popular alternative to cushions which we mentioned earlier – the choice boils down to the style you prefer and the comfort these two options provide. Whichever you prefer, both of these can look just fabulous on your bar stools. Such upholstery is usually made from leather, microfiber or polyester. All of these are easy to clean and maintain, so don’t worry about that.
Bar stools are usually made from wood, but that does not mean you can’t get ones matching the materials you picked for your kitchen. The most common options besides the aforementioned wood are bar stools crafted from stainless steel, iron, and plastic. In the case of plastic ones, it’s usually the seating that’s made from it, while the base is made from iron or steel.
While we’re on the subject, remember that you can actually mix the materials from which your bar stools are to be crafted – which gives you the option to mix the styles as well, so just imagine the possibilities. We’re talking about using a base of a different material than the seating. While the most common mixture of materials is wood with metal, there is nothing stopping you from creating something truly unique, so don’t waste the opportunity!
When it comes to the style of the bar stools, there is plenty to choose from. You can get yourself bar stools that match any style, starting with rustic, raw wooden bar stools and finishing on some super modern ones. Whatever type of a counter or kitchen itself do you own, we’re sure that with just a bit of effort you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a cohesive set of bar stools
Not much left to say – now you should have a pretty clear idea about what to consider when choosing the correct bar stools to serve you best, and to be the most cohesive with the rest of your kitchen design. Just remember to take some time looking for just the perfect set, as the options of bar stools are truly limitless – don’t just settle for any bar stools, pick the ones that will drop all of your guests dead!