Bar Stools - The Ultimate Guide 2022

By Lectory     28 March 2022 

Minimal Bar Stool Lectory

Bar stools have become super popular in homes and kitchens around the country. If you have a breakfast bar in your kitchen, it only seems right to pair this with a bar stool. As you begin your search for this item of furniture, you quickly realise that it’s much harder to find one than you initially thought. 

So how do you choose the best bar stools for your house or unit? 

Well, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will give you all the knowledge needed to make an informed purchase. Below, you’ll see some of your main questions answered, along with some expert tips for finding the bar stools of your dreams!

How tall are bar height stools?

How tall should a stool be for a bar? Depending on how tall your breakfast bar is, there isn’t a set measurement for this. So, your first task is to take your bar and measure it. While heights can vary, the average bar in Australia sits around 90cm high - 900mm. 

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Taking this figure into account, you ideally want a stool somewhere between 62cm and 69cm tall. Why? Because it’s the ideal height for the stool to slide under the bar when not in use and provide comfortable leg room when someone is sitting on the stool. It should also be approximately the perfect size for the average adult, letting them sit with their feet resting on the floor. 

If your bar is slightly bigger or smaller than the average height, a good rule is to find a stool close to two-thirds of its height. Again, this should give you the perfect height for an adult to perch on the stool without any problems. 

What's the difference between a counter stool and a barstool?

They may seem like the same thing, but there is a difference between the two stool types. Primarily, a counter stool tends to be a bit smaller because counters are usually shorter than bars.

So, be sure you’re looking at the right products when choosing your stool. If you have a counter, this will affect how far below the bar the stool should be. Because counters are smaller, the stool needs to be smaller to ensure the person sitting on it isn’t too far above the counter! 

What’s the difference between a bar and a counter? Counter-height tables are going to sit a bit smaller than bar-height ones. Then, you have smaller dining tables than counters, which is why you tend to get chairs for these. 

How many barstools should I get?

Again, you’ll need to get the measuring tape out for this one. When you initially measure your bar to see how tall it is, you should also measure it to see how wide it is. The length of your bar will determine how many stools you can fit on each side. 

Right, this is where things can get a bit mathematical. Generally speaking, it is recommended that each person has between 70-80cm of space at their table place, and this is enough room for them to sit down, have their plate of food and eat comfortably. 

So, let’s imagine you’ve measured your bar, which comes out at around 350cm long. This would mean that you shouldn’t have more than 5 bar stools at the absolute maximum. Now, you might look at your bar and some stools and think you can easily add a few more…

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While they might fit, that’s still not a good idea. When it comes to choosing how many bar stools to buy, it’s more about the space you give each person at the bar. Too many stools can mean everyone is bunched up together feeling really cramped. 

To recap: measure the length of your table and divide it by 70 or 80cm to see how many people you can realistically fit on it. This will let you know how many stools to buy. 

What should I look for when buying bar stools?

This section of the guide will be the meatiest part as we will go over some of the critical things on your mind when buying kitchen bar stools. We’ve already gone over the height. After reading the previous section, you should know how many you need. Now, you have to think about the other features that come into play: 

Barstool styles

Your most challenging decision will be picking the stool style for your kitchen bar. It’s hard because there are so many different variations available. You can see our entire bar stool product catalogue if you click here, showcasing how many options you have. 

Nevertheless, some of the most popular styles include:

  • Replica Bar Stools - usually featuring a wood frame with a simple seat
  • Minimalist bar stools - usually all one colour, like a black bar stool, and very squared off in the design
  • Industrial bar stools - extremely metallic and vintage, something you might see in an old bar
  • Modern bar stools - a bit more innovative in the design and usually quite funky to look at

Again, it is worth checking out the different products and seeing all the designs and styles you can pick from. Think about your kitchen and the current design theme you’re rocking. If you have already got a Scandi, Ikea-inspired kitchen, then opting for a Scandinavian bar stool will be the best match. 

Barstool features

Generally, bar stools aren’t that crazy when it comes to features. More often than not, the design is what sets two products apart. However, there is one feature that you may want to consider. Do you want your stool to be height adjustable? It shouldn’t be necessary for the average person, but if you have kids or someone in your family is really tall, this can be beneficial.

Adjusting the height means they can alter the stool to make it a comfortable height for them to sit at the bar. 

Also, one other feature that every good bar stool should have is a foot bar. This gives you a place to rest your feet and will mean that people with short legs don’t have to deal with their feet hanging in the air the whole time!

Barstool upholstery

Next, you need to consider the upholstery on the bar stool seat. Things can range from upholstered fabric to leather or even a composite plastic seat. The choice is entirely up to you, but bear in mind the purpose of these stools. 

You’re probably putting them in your kitchen under a bar, meaning people will eat and drink. With a family of adults, you trust that they can keep their grubby hands off the stools when eating. So, you have more freedom to choose upholstery that meets your own style preferences.

However, if you have kids, you might want to shy away from hard to clean options. Fabric can be a real pain to scrub if your kids spill things or get dirty fingers all over the stool. Instead, opting for a seat that’s easier to maintain and clean may be a better idea. 

Barstool noise

Lastly, you need to consider how noisy the stools will be in your kitchen. Nobody likes the sound of metal or wooden feet being dragged across the floor. Ideally, you want to look for stools that don’t sound horrible when being moved. Some have rubber protective bottoms, while others are designed to have the seat swivel around, meaning the stool can stay in the same place and not be dragged out.

Of course, you can also buy your own protective bottoms for the stool if you wish. Just make sure that you aren’t buying something that sounds like nails going down a chalkboard when you move it. 

Shall I choose all the same stools?

One final question to ask yourself, and the answer is that it’s entirely up to you. Mixing up the bar stools can create a unique look in your kitchen. On the other hand, choosing the same stools might help tie in your interior design and bring more synergy to the kitchen. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and your kitchen design. 

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On that note, you’ve come to the end of our ultimate guide to bar stools. Hopefully, there’s enough information to answer your burning questions and help you buy the best bar stools in Australia!