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Guide to Bar Stool Styles and Features

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Bar stools are versatile pieces of furniture that can be used in nearly any room, from the kitchen to the patio to the dining room. We take a look at the most popular bar stool styles and some common features. 

Bar Stool Styles



Featuring ornate details, like carvings and curved legs, traditional bar stools are generally made of dark wood. Traditional bar stools can create a a formal look in a space.



Sleek lines and metal are staples in modern and contemporary bar stool design. The seats are usually made from molded wood, metal, or plastic. 



Clean lines with a touch of detail define the transitional style. Transitional bar stools will work with nearly any home decor.



Country and rustic bar stools often feature chipped paint, distressed wood, and wicker for a casual feeling. A two-tone finish, with the seat one color and the legs and back another color, is common in country and rustic bar stools.

Bar Stool Features

  • Adjustable height. Some bar stools come with a hydraulic pump that allows you to adjust the seat up or down. This can be helpful if you have small children and adults who will both be using the stools at different times. Best placements: bar areas and kids' playroom. 
  • Swivel. The swivel function allows the seated person to turn from side to side without moving the chair base. Likewise, memory swivel allows the stool to rotate back to the same position after someone has rotated it. This is the perfect option for an individual who likes to keep their home looking tidy. Best placements: kitchen islands and dining area.
  • Residential and commercial stools. Some stools are classified as commercial, which means they have been tested by the manufacturer and proven that they will stand up to the wear and tear of a commercial application. These stools can also be used in a residential setting for long-lasting wear. Commercial grade bar stools are available in similar options as residential stool but may costs more due to their durability. Best placements: use commercial stools for heavy traffic areas, like the kitchen island, and use residential stools in more formal areas, like the dining room. 
  • XL bar stools. XL refers to stools that can accommodate a weight capacity of up to 400 pounds and have a seat width of 19 inches and a depth of 17 inches. These stools are indicated with XL in the name of
    the product.
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Bar Stool Construction

  • Frame Materials. The frame can be constructed out of wood, metal, wicker, or plastic. All of these materials are quite durable, so focus on selecting a material that works with your exisiting decor.
          Wood stools exude a traditional look and feel while offering a variety of finishes and colors.
          Metal stools can be selected to match the other metals in your home—bronze, chrome, steel.
  • Seat Materials. Choose from a large selection of seat materials available, including wood, upholstered, metal, and wicker. If you have small children or are using these stools in a high traffic area, consider a material like wood or metal that's easy to clean.
  • Arms. Some stools come with arms, which can create a more formal look. Be sure to measure the height of your bar before purchasing to ensure the arms will easily slide under the counter. You can select stools with cushioned or padded arms for a more comfortable experience, of ones with wooden arms for more structure and function. 
  • Backrest Styles. Consider where the stools will be used when deciding on back style. A full back offers support when sitting for extended periods of time, while backless options feel more casual. many people prefer a well-cushioned backrest when eating, drinking, or relaxing. Here are the backrest styles available:
  1. Backless
  2. Full Back
  3. Low Back

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