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What to consider when specifying Bar Stools

There’s a lot to consider when specifying or purchasing bar stools.

Customers don’t always realise that counters and stools aren’t as standardised as dining tables and chairs are.

Herewith our top tips on what to consider when choosing bar stools:

  • Stool Height
  • Comfort
  • Practical Upholstery
  • Footrest
  • Backrest
  • Size of Seat
  • Quantity
  • Decor

Stool Height

This is one of the most common mistakes people make when choosing stools. In order to choose the correct bar stool height, always measure the height of the bar counter first. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that there is a gap of between 15 – 25 cm from the top of the stool seat to the underside of the counter.

Also, be aware that seat height will be lower than expected if the seat has soft cushioning.


For comfort, pick bar stools with an upholstered seat.  If spills will be an issue, consider wipe-able materials like leather, or vinyl.  Also, keep in mind that fabric will be more comfortable in rooms that are hot and sticky, or chilly.


Unless your counter has a built-in footrest, you’ll want to pick a bar stool with a footrest.

Unlike a dining room chair, most people will not be able to rest their feet on the ground when sitting on a bar stool. People tend to feel uneasy when their feet dangle, so a footrest is a must for comfort.


Backless bar stools do have their merits. They’re perfect for the minimalist look and they tuck nicely under the counter, but if comfort is a priority, you’ll want a bar stool with a backrest.

Size of Seat

For most adults, wider and deeper seats are more comfortable but also consider the bar countertop depth. If your countertop overhang is shallow, a deep seat may cause the bar stool to extend too far from the countertop edge.

Practical Upholstery

Regardless of the setting, it is inevitable that when bar stools are in use there will be eating and drinking happening on and around them. To help the upholstery stay looking newer for longer consider choosing a fabric that will be easy to clean or won’t show stains easily.

We recommend:

  • Stain-proof fabric options eg fibre guarded fabrics
  • Dark and/or patterned fabrics
  • Leather with a wipe-able finish
  • Vinyl


When determining how many bar stools you can fit in at your bar counter it is important to know the width of the stools. Consider the space that the legs take up but also the seat and if relevant the arms,the bar stool may be wider at the top than it is at the bottom. It is also important to factor in enough space between the stools to be able to get in and out of them.


Bar stools should complement and add to the interior space’s style. General design principles that can help, include:

  • Sightlines: Opt for a strong visual impact with your bar stools when they are the focal point as you walk into the space or once seated elsewhere.  

Overall style: In general, you’ll want a bar stool that fits in with the overall style of the room. Many spaces can have a blend of styles though and you can add a real statement to the space by choosing a stool style in  contrasts with the room’s style.

Get in touch with one of our seating specialists to discuss your space and for assistance in selecting the bar stools.