Did you know that contrary to popular belief, descriptive terms commonly used to describe bar stools with backs like: “counter height bar stools”, “kitchen bar stools”, “counter stools”, “counter height stools”, “kitchen counter stools”, “standard height” and “classic bar height stools” can all describe different heights by different suppliers? Since these terms are often used interchangeably, this can lead to confusion and a very unpleasant surprise when that beautiful new stool you just purchased turns out to be a very uncomfortable fit for you and your guests.
We wanted to clear this up which is why we created this ultra-simple guide to choosing the right kitchen counter stool.
Simple Guide to Choosing the Right Bar Stool
- Measure your counter height.
- Check the seat height of the stool that you are considering (this should be provided in the manufacturer product details).
- Aim for a stool seat height anywhere from 10 to 12 inches below the counter height for maximum comfort.
- For stools with armrests, check the uppermost height of the armrests on the stool. Add 2 to 3 inches to that height and make sure it would still fit under your counter. You would want at least 2 to 3 inches above that measurement to make sure that your arms can slide under the counter comfortably.
- Choose a stool with a footrest for added support. No one likes to have their feet dangling, it’s not very comfortable.
- Choose your preferred material.
- Choose your style.
- Watch the lingo when shopping. Different manufacturers can use the same terms to describe different heights. That is to say that terms like counter height, standard height or classic bar height may not always refer to the same standard size that you think they would. You can use these classifications as a starting point when searching for the right bar stool. However, be sure to take your own quick measurement (see #1 above) and analyze it against the manufacturer-provided seat height (see #2 and #3 above) to make sure it will be a comfortable fit for you.
Why Choose a bar stool with a back?
Most bar stools can be very uncomfortable. Not to mention, bad for your back and posture, especially when sitting for long periods of time.
However, bar stools don’t need to be uncomfortable. It basically comes down to balancing style vs comfort. Consider the purpose that the stools you are looking to purchase will have whether that be for eating, snacking, or entertaining. Your bar stools can even double as a work area. This can be where you like to read or where you or your kids may want to study and do homework.
Stools with both a high back and padded seats are your best options if you plan on using them for an hour or more at a time. For ultimate support, choose stools with armrests when possible. These also provide an extra measure of support and safety. Be sure to take into consideration the thickness of the padded seat when taking your seat height measurement. A padded seat would typically decrease a little bit when sat on, depending on the person’s weight.
Bar stools with backs are a snug addition to any home because they are packed with functional benefits while adding timeless style to your home. Bar stools with backs have the added advantage of encouraging comfort and relaxation, while promoting better back health and posture. These types of stools provide much needed support for your back and at times even your neck if they are high back stools.
Types of Bar Stools with Backs
Low Back Bar Stools
Low back bar stools are a great way to provide that needed back support while keeping a nice minimalistic look. They provide that little bit of extra support that is missing from a plain kitchen or bar stool. Low back stools are a viable option if you want to hide your stools out of sight when not in use for a cleaner, less cluttered look.
High Back Bar Stools
High back bar stools are the ultimate choice in comfort when it comes to choosing a stool especially if you opt for a padded option. Based on your preference you can choose both padded seats and a padded back or you can do without the padding if you prefer. Either way, most people find these types of stools even more comfortable than chairs! These tools provide a strong sense of stability and comfort.
Padded Seat Bar Stools
Padded seats are a practical option especially if you plan on sitting for a while. However, use caution in the type of material used for the padding. Stay away from a surface that can be too easy to slide off. However, there are other options such as stool cushions that you can buy to correct this issue.
Swivel Bar Stools with Backs
Swivel bar stools with backs provide the added benefit of being easier for you to get into without having to drag the entire stool out every time you get on. Instead, you can just easily access the seat by turning it from one side or another. This also contributes to a better social ambiance because of the ability to easily swivel and face a person that you’re speaking to. Swivel counter stools with backs work especially well in those areas of the house that you expect some social gathering to occur.
Stackable Bar Stools
Stackable bar stools provide space efficiency if you need to clear out space quickly. For example, you can protect your stools in a shed and only take out as many as you need based on the number of guests in your home at a given time. This helps protect them from unnecessary wear and tear as well.
Stools with Armrests
Stools with armrests provide firm stability while being elevated on a stool, especially when paired with a high back. However, keep in mind that these types of stools do tend to require some more space. These are also more helpful in keeping your posture aligned because you are able to constantly support and reposition yourself with the aid of the armrests. When choosing this type of stool make sure that you measure the uppermost height of the arms on the stool. You would want about 2 to 3 inches above that to make sure that your arms can slide under the counter comfortably.
Outdoor Bar Stools
Outdoor bar stools can set the right scene on any backyard social gathering. You don’t need to buy these as a set with the table included in them. These come in such a wide variety of options that they’re easy to pair with whatever backyard bar counter you have. You can choose highly durable materials that range from metal, wood, to high-quality resin for an easy-to-clean option.
Metal Bar Stools
Metal bar stools can range anywhere from rustic to modern in look as they are available in various sizes and styles. These are a highly durable timeless option.
Modern Bar Stools
Modern and contemporary bar stools offer comfort that is accented by unique design to fit in with any home decor. These types of bar stools have a gracefully contoured shape for support and style.
Wooden Bar Stools
Wooden stools work well to complement your home decor both indoors and out. Wood automatically adds a level of coziness to any space and is long-lasting.
Farmhouse bar stools
If you’re looking to add charm and character to a room while maintaining a warm, cozy feeling that is inherent in its style, then farmhouse bar stools are a great addition. These stools add to the relaxed mood of your farmhouse decor.
Adjustable Bar Stools
Adjustable bar stools offer the most level of customization for different heights and preferences. These also offer the ability to make it easy to get on a stool and then raise the height to a comfortable level depending on the counter. This is a great option for you if you’re looking for a one-size-fits-all when it comes to guests at your home. They are also usually super simple to operate. When shopping for these types of stools be sure to check both the lowest and highest heights they can reach. These types of bar stools tend to have more of a modern look. However, different varieties that match any home decor are widely available.
Extra Tall Bar Stools
These are stools with a height that ranges from about 34 to 40 inches. These can serve a functional purpose such as helping your guests get a better view of the lake over a fence, can transform a dull nook in your home into a lively gathering space, and create an open entertaining atmosphere in your home.
Rattan Bar Stools
Wicker and Rattan Bar Stools add unmatched coziness to your home. Since these are crafted using a weaving process, they provide unparalleled comfort in bar stool seating. Rattan bar stools also pair well if you are looking to create more of a French bistro-style space in your home.
Folding Bar Stools
Folding or collapsible bar stools offer the flexibility of having easily accessible seating that you can bring out only when needed. This makes them both a practical and functional option to keep around for entertaining without taking up too much space in your home.
Leather Counter Stools
Leather stools provide the flexibility of leather fabric for added bouncy comfort while giving your home a more upscale look. Moreover, leather is also highly durable, sleek-looking, and available in countless distinctive styles.
Luxury Bar Stools
For a more formal look, upholstered bar stools immediately elevate your home furnishings to a classy, refined look.
Coastal Bar Stools
If you are looking for nautical, beach-home decor inspired bar stools that provide a sense of authenticity and comfort to your home or kitchen counter, there are several bar stool options to reflect your unique style.
Bar Stools – Sets of 2, Sets of 4
Buying Bar Stool sets can provide added savings and can help keep a consistent look throughout your home.
When purchasing bar stools to complement your home furnishings consider some of the points mentioned above such as convenient features, how they complement your style, comfort, the ambiance they create, and safety. Take a few moments to quickly measure your counter height, the stool’s seat height, and armrests (if you’re choosing an option with armrests) to analyze whether the stool is a right fit for your home. Bar counter stools are a perfect way to add charm and character to your home space.
For beautiful inspiration on how to incorporate bar stools into your home, check out this video.
Also, be sure to check out our unique collection of 21 Kitchen Clocks to Spice Up Your Kitchen to add a finishing touch to your kitchen area!