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12 Bar Stool Styles You Will Find in Successful Restaurants

Did you know that 52% of consumers prefer to spend money on experiences instead of material goods? This shows that if a restaurant owner knows how to provide customers with an enjoyable experience, they can make quite a lot of money.

When it comes to the restaurant experience, two elements that make customers happy are how comfortable they are in their seats and if they find the decor of the restaurant appealing. Successful restaurant owners know this, which is why they prioritize finding the right bar stool styles for their restaurant.

If you want to select the kind of bar stool styles that successful restaurant owners have, you need to understand how to find the right ones for your restaurant. But it can be confusing to think about sizes, types, and styles. How can you find the right one for you?

That’s why we’ve put together this guide.

By giving you all the strategies you need to find the best bar stools, you can focus on the other elements of running your restaurant business successfully, such as hiring, menu selection, marketing, and customer service. Read on to learn more.

Consider Your Restaurant Design

Before you choose the right bar stool style for your restaurant—with the selection ranging from country style bar stools to industrial style bar stools—you need to think about your restaurant design.

The first thing you’ll want to think about its function. How do you imagine different areas of your restaurant functioning? Will you be using bar stools just at the bar, or will there be high tables by the window where you’ll use a different-sized stool?

You also want to think about the size of the space itself. If the bar is quite close to another seating area, then traditional bar stools without arms are a good idea so that you can save space.

If you have outdoor seating, that might give you extra seating room, which means you might be able to dedicate an entire space to a bar area—in which case, larger bar stools shouldn’t be an issue.

Your Restaurant Style Matters, Too

Next, you’ll want to think about your restaurant style. For the style of your bar stools to work, it needs to match with the rest of your restaurant—just like the food you serve should look good on the plates you spent so long choosing out.

To get started, ask yourself the following questions:

“How do I want someone to feel when they step into my restaurant? Do I want them to feel like they’re about to go on a classy date, or do I want them to feel like they’re about to enjoy a long meal with their family?”

“What colors appear throughout my restaurant? What materials are the ceiling, bar, and tables made from, and what vibe does that give off? Are there any paintings or posters that capture the spirit of the place?”

By answering these questions, you’ll determine what your restaurant’s style is. When you’re selecting your bar stools, they should match the color scheme, materials, decor, and attitude of the place, which you can identify by asking these questions.

Make The Right Measurements

Once you know where your bar stools will be and how they might match with the style of your restaurant, you’ll want to measure the tables and bar so that your bar stools will be comfortable to sit on for your diners.

If you don’t do this, then your diners might feel like the area where they’re eating and drinking is too high or too low for them—which means that, no matter how great your fare is, they’re not going to come back.

To make the right measurements, you’ll start off by measuring the distance between the surface diners are eating on and the floor.

When selecting the right bar stool, you’ll want to ensure that the top of it is between ten and twelve inches below that surface you’ve just measured.

It’s also important that each stool be six inches away from the next. Otherwise, diners might end up bumping into each other. If the stools you choose have armrests, then we also recommend you add a little extra room for them to fit below against the dining surface.

You’ll also want to add a little extra space between diners since arms might come out farther than the seat of the stool. Depending on the type of bar—whether it’s a lunch counter, ordinary bar, or spectator bar—the height of stools will vary, too.

Types of Bar Stools

When selecting bar stool styles, you’ll also want to consider the different types of bar stools available. These are extra tall bar stools, ordinary bar stools, and counter stools. Let’s review these in detail.

Extra tall bar stools, which are 34 to 36 inches in height, are great for a sports-themed restaurant, where you can make it easier for viewers to see the screen. Otherwise, however, it’s not a great idea, since your diners might have more challenges eating their meals.

Ordinary bar stools are usually 30 inches in height, and they’re a classic if you want to simply have a bar where people order drinks or wait for their reservations. However, if you want your customers to eat at their bar stools, then we’d recommend…

Counter stools. These stools are 24 to 26 inches in height and are perfect for a slightly lower bar or island. Because they’re slightly closer to the ground, your diners are more likely to enjoy their meal at that height.

Materials To Think About

Once you have an idea of the size of your bar stools and how they might fit into your restaurant space both in terms of aesthetic and place, you’ll want to think about what materials you want your bar stools to be made of.

Rattan and Wicker

If you’re running a more casual-feeling restaurant, or it’s based somewhere relaxing like a holiday destination, then you might want to have stools made from rattan and wicker. These materials give off a chill vibe, which is perfect if you’re serving brunch to city slickers who’ve come to stay for the weekend somewhere calmer.

They’re also easy to move around because they’re lightweight—but if you’re planning on making them available outside, get ones made from water-resistant wicker.


If your restaurant is modern, sleek, or cool, then match that feeling with metal bar stools. They look great in this environment. However, never put them outside since they’re likely to rust because of weather or moisture in the air.


Wooden stools are the most classic option out there, and when you’re first envisioning buying bar stools for your restaurant, you might think of buying wood ones. However, you might not be so sure now if you’ve had a look around and found out that they’re actually pretty pricey.

However, wood can really pay off. It looks good and is durable—and if you want to have bar stools outside, you can go with bar stools made from acacia, eucalyptus, or teak, which can resist weather pretty well.

If you want to make your wooden bar stools comfortable, consider using Naugahyde Upholstery Vinyl as a choice for synthetic leather you can upholster these seats with. (Keep in mind, though, that if you upholster these seats, you’ll want to keep them inside.)

12 Different Bar Stool Styles

Once you’ve thought about all these different considerations, you can explore the different bar stool styles out there to make a decision. Whether you end up with farmhouse style bar stools, western style bar stools, or something else entirely, you’ll be able to make a decision by the time you reach the end of this article.

1. Industrial

Remember when we talked about bar stools constructed from metal? These are usually classed under the industrial style of bar stool. Let’s review their usual features.

Usually, an industrial bar stool has a metal frame with a brass finish, a chrome look, or a black iron look. Just because the frame is metal, the entire seat doesn’t have to be, as it can often be made from wood or a cushion with upholstery. They often have higher backs.

2. Stool with Armrest

Another style is a stool with an armrest. These are ideal if you want your diners to be more comfortable and if your decor is more on the formal side. To add extra comfort, you can add upholstery to the arms.

3. Bistro Style

Bistro style stools have a metal frame, but the seat and back are made from wood. They’re usually light and can be moved around, and they give off the casual yet refined vibe of bistro-style cafes.

4. Bolt-down Style

Bolt-down style stools are exactly what they sound like: they’re bolted down to the floor. The disadvantage is that you can’t move them around, but they look amazing, giving a retro vibe to your restaurant.

5. Retro/ Vintage

Speaking of retro vibes…there’s nothing like a retro/ vintage bar stool to make your customers feel like they’ve traveled back in time. If you run a diner, then this bar stool is a must—and if you sell classic American fare, it’s a good choice too.

6. Stationary Bar Stool

A stationary bar stool is a perfect stool if many of your customers need somewhere to sit and relax. If you’re in a busy shopping center or many of your clients are on their feet all day, this is a perfect choice since a stationary bar stool is adjustable and comfy.

7. Bucket Stool

Bucket stools are extraordinarily comfy. With lots of cushioning and thick upholstery, these seats are perfect for diners who want to sit back and relax. They also look formal, which means your customers can feel fancy while relaxing.

8. Swivel Bar Stool

The swivel bar stool is great if you run a sports-themed restaurant since it’s easy for your customers to turn toward their food, the TV, or friends throughout their meal. However, if you’re running a family friendly-restaurant, this isn’t the best idea since a swivel bar stool could be a safety hazard to kids.

9. Distressed Metal Stool

There’s almost nothing as cool-looking as a distressed metal stool. However, they’re not incredibly comfortable, so this choice is best if you’re running a restaurant that serves food fast.

They’re also worth using outside (unless it’s pouring) since a little rust isn’t going to look terrible on a metal stool that’s already a little worn. If your customers tend to move seats around, this is also a great choice since they’re light to carry around.

10. Backless Bar Stool

The backless bar stool is perfect for the actual bar of your restaurant, where someone might be having drinks for an hour or two or waiting for their table to be ready. When it comes to where diners usually eat, we’d recommend a more comfortable stool than this one.

11. Modern Bar Stool

The modern bar stool is an amazing look because it’s both minimalist and formal. The frame is metal, which is minimalist, while there’s stylized cushioning that gives off the formal vibe.

If you have modern customers who enjoy spending a lot of money on a fancy meal, this is definitely the right style for your restaurant.

12. Traditional Bar Stool

Finally, there’s the traditional bar stool. The classic combination of a wooden frame with high-end upholstery simply works. So if you aren’t sure about which style to go with by the end of this article, then we recommend the traditional bar stool.

Need More Tips?

Do you need more tips about bar stool styles or other furniture for your restaurant? Or maybe you want to learn more about running your business successfully or how to design the interior of your restaurant.

Whatever tips you need, we’ve got them. Check out our blog to learn more.

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