Tips For Choosing Restaurant Bar Stools

If your restaurant has a counter area where customers can sit and eat or a bar area, then you will need to get suitable bar stools. With the incredible choice of styles, colors, and designs available it can be difficult to choose. Not only that but there are practical considerations like the height of the stool, the weight, comfort, and whether it is easy to move. Even though it may be challenging to choose restaurant chairs it can be even more challenging to find the right bar stools for a restaurant. So here are a few tips to point you in the right direction. 

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Restaurant Bar Stools Must be Comfortable

The height of the stool, the seat, and the backrest will determine if a bar stool is comfortable. If your customers will be sitting on the bar stools for the duration of a meal then the seat should be padded. You can get bar stools with padded seats upholstered in vinyl or in fabric. And if your customers are going to be in your restaurant for a while they will need a backrest for extra comfort. A backrest provides proper posture and the chance to lean back and relax. You can choose a backrest that is padded and upholstered in the same way as the seat, or get a plain wood or metal backrest. Either way, a backrest will add to your customers’ comfort. To make a restaurant stool comfortable, think about adding a footrest. This way even if the stool is high, your customers still have somewhere to put their feet. 

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The Correct Height of a Restaurant Bar Stool

When you are deciding the correct height for your bar stools the first thing to consider is the height of the counter or bar. If the stool is not the right height it will be completely impractical and your customers won’t be able to reach their food or drinks. For example, if your countertop is 41-43 inches from the ground, then you should choose bar stools that are 29-32 inches tall. If your counter or bar is 44 inches or higher, you will need a bar stool 33-36 inches high. Another way to determine the perfect height of your restaurant bar stools is to measure the space between the table and the top of the stool seat. The space between the top of the seat and the countertop should be 9.8-11.8 inches. If your countertop is 43 inches or higher, then the space between the stool seat and the countertop can be as high as 13.7inches. One of the easiest rules of thumb when choosing the height of bar stools is to consider if your customers could put their elbows on the counter comfortably.

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Backrest or Not Backrest – That is the Question

Backrests definitely add comfort for your customers. There is no question about that. But you still need to decide if stools with a backrest are the right choice for your establishment. 

  • Backless Restaurant Bar Stools – If you have a small restaurant, and if your customers will not be sitting at the bar or counter for extended periods then you could opt for backless stools. Backless stools might be the right option if they fit into your restaurant theme. For example, if you have a restaurant designed like a traditional soda shop then backless, swivel bar stools will be your best choice. Or if your restaurant has a very industrial design then backless bar stools may be appropriate. Backless bar stools take up less room, are easier to move, and they are usually cheaper. If you have a crowded bar area or a small countertop then backless stools may be your best option.
  • Restaurant Bar Stools with Backrests – For traditional, classy restaurants, where customers eat full meals at the counter or bar, stools with a backrest are the best choice. Restaurant stools with a backrest tend to look more elegant and luxurious. You need to choose between a low back or full back, depending on the style of your restaurant, and your budget. Take into consideration that with backrests you will not be able to fit in as many stools along the counter. And they can be heavier, and harder to move.

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Other Design Elements to Consider When Choosing Restaurant Bar Stools

  • Armrests – Usually restaurant stools don’t have arms, but if customers will be sitting at the counter eating a full meal for an extended period then consider adding armrests for extra comfort. However, having arms on a stool makes it harder to get on and off the stool, and the stool usually needs to be moved away from the counter for the customer to climb onto the stool. Stools with arms tend to look more elegant and high-end.
  • Swivel Stools – Swivel stools make it easier for the customer to access the seat. There are free-standing swivel stools as well as swivel stools that are bolted to the floor. Sometimes a swivel stool can contribute to the design of the restaurant, for example in soda shop-style restaurants. They can also be handy if you will be having a lot of people sitting at the counter.
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  • Footrests – A stool with a footrest adds comfort and makes it much more pleasant for your customers to sit and relax on a bar stool. 
  • Restaurant Stool Materials – There are a variety of bar and counter stools available in different materials. You can get wooden, metal, and plastic stools and they can have a backrest of the same material or of wicker. The stool seat can be made of the same material as the stool frame or you can have it padded and upholstered in fabric or vinyl. 


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