What To Look For When Buying Bar Stools?


Pinpointing the exact time when bar stool pieces began to be made, much more ascertaining when bar stools came into existence, is difficult. For as long as there have been chairs, there have also been stools. 

Bar stools have long been popular seats. They have been around even before the time of the ancient Greeks and throughout the Roman Empire. The more extravagant chairs belonged to the nobles, while the lowly peasants sat on stools. 

Since chairs were a status symbol, it was an unspoken rule that the more intricate the chair designs were, the higher you and your family stood in society. This tradition carried on till the 1800s. It was only during the Industrial Revolution that the market for chairs has been democratized.

Read more about chairs: The Top 10 Chair Styles.


The chairs’ chief function has always remained the same, so you can find bar stools even in the earliest pubs and bars. Back then, the only material used was wood (like any other chair). Still, with the onset of technology, more materials became accessible, and the range of bar stool styles also widened. 

These days, bar stool shops come aplenty, and you must know which offers the best. Pick also from materials such as resin and plastic, and search through various seat coverings made of velvetleather, and fabrics

There are now bar stools with padded seats and those that are without. Some pieces come with gas lift action, while others remain charmingly static. Bar stools aren’t just confined to pubs and bars anymore, which is another interesting thing. You can now find them in restaurants and homes. 

The advent of breakfast bars also led to the revival of stools that are used in homes. With such a long, interesting history, it would seem that the bar stools – and chairs – are here to stay. 

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                                                         Hooker Furniture Dining Room Waverly Place Memory Swivel Bar Stool

Bar Stools Sacramento

The Barstool System 

Like any standing structure, bar stools come with a working framework and other parts. This seat's foundation is the base specifically designed to keep the entire seat steady. 

The base varies in size depending on the function and design of the barstool. This could either be conical or flat. The former helps the round base become more stable, while the flat base is heavier, lowering the center of gravity. 

The conical base also has a hole in the middle so the gas mechanism can work. The flat base comes with a felt pad for added protection. 

There are also square and circular bases. 

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                                                 Hooker Furniture Dining Room Ciao Bella Spindle Back Bar Stool-Black

The next parts are the collar and gas lift column. The gas lift mechanism operates using hydraulics. The chromed collar comes in various styles. These fit between the gas cylinder and the base itself. The collar can also be a decorative part of the stool as it conceals the joinery. 

Bar stools with flat bases come with hydraulics held in place by bolts. An Allen key could tighten this connection. Various hydraulics provide an adjustable height mechanism and even a 360-degree swivel. A lever or a button can activate this mechanism. 

The last two parts of the barstool are the seat and the footrest. These make the barstool more interesting, influencing the overall shape, style, and comfort. 

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                                                         Hooker Furniture Dining Room Boheme Garnier Barrel Back Bar Stool

Washers or bolts affix the seat to the footrest, creating a steady connection. There are seats with spacer pairs and other parts that could make the barstool a more relaxing seat. 

The footrest is located above the gas lift mechanism. This is often welded to a sleek stem which protects the joinery.  

The footrest may appear to be a simple part of the barstool, but it also comes in different designs. There are half-moon-shaped footrests, circular ones, triangular, square, and many others that can add visual impact.

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                                                                     Hooker Furniture Ciao Bella Spindle Back Bar Stool-White

Barstool vs. Counter Stool 

Barstools and counter stools are often interchanged because they offer comfortable seating in kitchens, dining rooms, restaurants, and just about every spot where eating and drinking occur. 

Barstool generally has a height of 28 inches, though. It could go as high as 32 inches. This 28-32 inch height fits under 40-42 inch high tabletops. On the other hand, the counter stool has a height of 24-27 inches. This is meant to be placed under a 36-inch high table surface. Counter-height stools are paired with high tables with a height of 35-39 inches. 

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                                                                      Hooker Furniture Dining Room Beaumont Counter Stool

The great news nowadays is that bar, and counter stools are now adjustable. This is because counter and table heights have varied over the years. There are now extra tall counter and table surfaces, so flexible barstool designs have been made to keep up with these ever-changing heights and styles. 

‘Want an extra tall barstool? That can be arranged. If you want to alter the seat height, just take hold of the lever or button on the side of the stool, and – voila – you’re at the right height. If there are small kids in your home, they can use the stool, too. 

The general rule when determining the seat height is to ascertain that there are at least 9-12 inches between the top of the seat and the bottom part of the counter. 

The next question now is, how many barstools would you need? There is a simple formula that you can use when determining this number. The bigger the counter space, the more stools it can accommodate. 

Stools 16-18 inches wide can accommodate a space of six inches between every seat. For 18 inches and wider, allow for at least 8-10 inches of space. Swivel stools need extra room between seats because people would need that to get in and out of the school. 

You can choose the materials from upholstered, wood, leather, and metal finishes. Upholstered pieces offer extra comfort and style since you can choose from many fabrics. 

Leather is elegant and attractive to look at and is also easy to maintain. Wood is the material to go to when you want a handsome piece that offers durability. As for the metal finishes, choose from iron, chrome, brass, and others. 


Bar stool types include the armless, swivel type, backless variety, and stools with back and arms. The armless barstool allows easier access and doesn’t eat up much space. 

The swivel barstool has a rotating seat that allows guests to sit and exit the counter. The backless barstool is like the armless barstool but creates an even more streamlined style. 

If you want a more traditional look, get a barstool with a back and arms. Add upholstery to give the seat an even more sophisticated and refined look. 

With many choices at your disposal, it’s up to you to create the perfect look for your home. 


Call us at 916.487.2019 or visit us at 3140 Auburn Boulevard, Sacramento, CA, if you want to speak to our friendly designers here at McCreery's Home Furnishings. These professionals can assist you in completing the right look for your home. You can also use our expert interior designers.

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What To Look For When Buying Bar Stools?
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18 February, 2022
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