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How To Pick The Perfect Barstool

Are you on the cusp of opening a new restaurant or bar? Or maybe you’re remodeling your current space. Either way, selecting the perfect barstool can be quite overwhelming. If you’ve found yourself lost in the black hole of inspiration that is Pinterest and your search for the perfect barstool is starting to resemble Goldilocks’ quest for the perfect porridge, then you’ve found yourself in the right place. Here are the top six factors to consider when looking to outfit your dining space with durable and stylish bar stools.

INTERIOR DESIGN DIRECTION

This may be an obvious place to start but bar and restaurant owners should look for barstools that reflect the architecture of their establishment. If your bar or restaurant is going to be Instagram worthy, we suggest using a blend of colors, textures and shapes to create a truly unique “wow factor.” Here are a few ideas to get the wheels churning:

  • Farm-to-Table: Medium toned woods paired with soft leathers add both warmth and natural texture to the space. Try Molly or Brady,  Bentwood No. 150.
  • Industrial: Metallic bar stools with clean lines and exposed welds and distressed woods hint at a more “industrial” aesthetic. Try Brady, Sadie, Siren or Ladder Back.
  • Comfortable & Classic: Select a traditional style stool. Dress it up with custom engraving and a myriad of upholstery options, or keep it simple. Try our Wood Melissa collection.
  • Cozy, Tavern-like: Gravitate toward stools with a rich heritage and a timeless, classic design. Try Bentwood Stool No. 25, or Bentwood Stool No. 73.

Different Barstools

SIZE MATTERS

There are two ways to approach space planning within a restaurant: maximize customer comfort or  maximize the amount of seats in the space. If maximizing comfort is your goal, choose bar stools that don’t make your guests feel claustrophobic. Keep in mind the standard bar seat is between 15”-18” wide. Roomier options are available, like our Andy Backless Barstool, which measures at 20” wide.

While a bigger bar stool means fewer patrons at the bar at one time, it could also mean that each patron stays longer and comes back more frequently. Choosing a smaller barstool is a great idea if you are looking for high seat turnover or if you want your bar to be a touchdown space while guests are waiting for a dinner table or a spot on the dance floor.

For smaller spaces, choose a barstool with a low back or even a backless barstool to reduce visual clutter. For larger spaces feel free to choose stools with higher backs (Cara or Chloe make great options). The larger proportions can help spaces feel cozier.

TRAFFIC & USAGE

The goal of any restaurant or bar is to become a busy, high-traffic environment. Selecting a quality, durable commercial barstool is vital for daily operations and ultimately the restaurant or bar's overall profitability. Always choose barstools that have been tested to hold at least 250 pounds and have been tested to meet and exceed BIFMA standards. When looking at steel chairs, be sure to choose 18 gauge steel or stronger (keep in mind the lower the gauge number, the stronger the steel). Always review the warranty and select a supplier with a minimum five-year warranty. For more information on warranties, learn about our standard 10 year warranty.

PROPER HEIGHT

Choosing the proper height for tables and chairs is crucial for providing comfort to customers, visual interest and space divisions in open areas. Dining height chairs have a standard seat height between 17.5”-18.5” tall, standard counter height barstools are between 23.5”-24.5” tall and bar height models are around 30” tall. A good rule of thumb is to always leave 12” inches of space between the top of the thigh and bottom of the table surface or bar surface, so pick tables in accordance with the chair measurements. This 12” of space helps customers stay comfortable by promoting proper ergonomic alignment for the arms, legs and spine.

The proper height doesn’t have to mean one height; it can mean varying the space with multiple heights, creating natural areas of separation and layers of visual interest.