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A bar stool is a raised seat that typically comes with a foot rest to accommodate the posture you have when seated at these types of tables. Bar stools come in many sizes, shapes, and height ranges. Learning how to measure the dimensions of an outdoor bar set is vital to picking the right one for your home.
This Bar Stool Buyers Guide was prepared by Patio Productions.com. On this page you will learn how to pick the right height, the difference between counter stools & bar stools, and differences in materials.
Things to Keep in Mind
As it is still a type of patio furntiure, you should remember to keep in mind the keys to picking the right sets. The outdoor bar is often an integral part of the outdoor kitchen. In lieu of this, it’s a good time to check out the keys to designing the perfect outdoor kitchen.
- Standard Bar Stool Height is 30″ from feet to seat.
- Bar stools are available with and without seatbacks.
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To make sure that you don’t cramp your space, allow 26-30 inches between the center of each bar stool. This will provide enough room for everybody to slip in and out of their seats without having to move out of the way every time somebody needs to take their seat.
A. Wood – Wooden bar stools are durable and look great in older more traditional homes. They also work well on wooden patio decks.
B. Metal – Metal bar stools can be used for a contemporary and modern look. They are durable and provide ample support. Just be sure to avoid scratching frames as this can lead to rusting when exposed to water/rain.
C. Aluminum – Aluminum is a lightweight material that makes it effortless to move furniture around. It’s a very popular material because it’s weight and durability. Learn more about aluminum furniture.
Picking the Right Height
Bar stool height measures from the feat to the seat. This does not include the height of the backrest (if applicable). Generally speaking, bar sets are found in three sizes; Short Stools, Counter Height Stools, and Standard Bar Stools.
- Short Stools (Standard Dining Chair Height) – 17″-23″ – Ex: Urbana Dining Chair
- Counter Stools – 24″-29″ – Ex: Laguna Counter Stool
- Standard Bar Stools – 30″-36″ – Ex: Heritage Barstool
- Tall Bar Stools – 34″-36″ – Ex: Delta Swivel Bar Stool
Bar Stool vs Counter Stool
These two terms are often confused. There is in fact a difference between a bar stool and a counter stool. Bar stools have an average height of 30 inches while counter stools are slightly shorter at 26 inches. You can see how getting them mixed up can cause a big problem.
The counter stool is made for arrangements around a kitchen island whereas bar stools are noticeably taller to accommodate high bar tables. Islands a typically slightly lower than standard bar height. Both chairs come in slightly different variations of height but generally speaking, counter stools are shorter than bar stools. Always make sure to confirm the dimensions when ordered.
I noticed that Wayfair’s Bar Stool Buying Guide misstates this. They list “Counter Height Bar Stools.” This is misleading because it encourages incorrect terminology and could lead to purchasing a stool that doesn’t fit. The appropriate name for this type of stool is simply a “Counter Stool.”
Styles, Design, & Materials
Outdoor bars have become available in a variety of styles. This coincides with the growing popularity of outdoor living spaces as a must have amenity for prospective home buyers. Outdoor bar sets can be found using wood, aluminum, cast aluminum, and wrought iron frames. Browse Quality Sets Now.
Bar stools can come with or without armrests. Most come without backrests but this is really a preference. Having arm rests can make it a bit more difficult to get around but can be a necessary item for those wanting a little extra lower back support.
Styling range from very simple and contemporary to artistically detailed bar sets like the Island Breeze Bar Chair from Hospitality. Basic designs without too much flare work well in modern and contemporary home while crafted sets are ideal for retro (think 50’s & 60’s) and theme homes, i.e. beach homes, ranch homes, and country homes.
3. Swivel vs Stationary
Swivel bar stools are convenient because the swivel feature makes it easy to find your seat with others already seated at the table. Swivel stools are relaxing and glide effortlessly as you enjoy the conversation of your best buddies or your gal friends.
4. Upholstered Bar Stools
Upholstered bar stools are less common in outdoor occasions, but in any case, you want to make sure that the fabric doesn’t just stop on the seat. If the upholstery stops at the edge of the seat, it will likely unravel from the chair. Leather, microfiber, and polyester are stain-resistant materials that can be a good choice if you opt to take this route.
Cushions for Your Tush!
Cushions are almost more important than the actual chairs because this is what your rump will be sitting on the whole time. No matter how “nice” the chair looks, you’ll always have a horrible experience without the right cushions.
I always recommend using Sunbrella cushions because they use a special dacron foam that is incredibly resilient and unique from other brands that use polyurethane foam. You’ll notice the difference as soon as you sit down. Plus they’re easy to clean.
Have questions? Need help finding something? Contact Patio Productions or give our Outdoor Furniture Experts a call. Local customers are welcome to stop by our San Diego Showroom located off the 805 freeway next to HG Motorsports and Bastyr University.
4122 Sorrento Valley Blvd. #107A
San Diego, CA 92121
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About the Author
Cheryl Khan is an avid reader, freelance writer, and New Year’s resolution failure. She loves experimenting with cultural cuisine and exploring new areas of fashion and design.