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10 Traits in Buying a Comfortable Bar Stool

When shopping for a bar stool, many factors such as price, availability, and style can influence your decision.

However, it’s important not to overlook the significance of comfort, especially since you’ll be using the stool for extended periods of time.

Whether you’re enjoying your morning coffee or entertaining guests, comfort should be a top priority. To help you find a comfortable bar stool, we’ve compiled a list of ten traits to look for.

Trait #1: Stools With Backs

Stools that come with backrests provide better support and are usually more comfortable for extended periods of sitting. If you plan to spend a considerable amount of time socializing at a bar or counter, a stool with a backrest is highly recommended.

On the other hand, if you’re only using the stool for a quick cup of coffee or for short periods, backless stools could be more suitable. However, keep in mind that stools with backrests are generally more comfortable, especially if you plan to spend long hours sitting on them.

Wesley Allen's Macias Modern Square Bar Stool with Back in Brass Bisque - Front Side View
Trica Biscaro Stool with High Back
Amisco Brixton Swivel Stool with Back

Trait #2: Cushioned Seats

Opting for bar stools with cushioned seats can significantly enhance your seating comfort. Padded seats offer a softer surface to sit on compared to wooden seats, making them an excellent choice for those looking for added comfort.

However, if you prefer the look of wooden seats, you can still achieve a higher level of comfort by using tie-on seat pads. These removable cushions can be added to wooden seats and provide an extra layer of padding. They are also convenient for washing, ensuring that your bar stools remain hygienic and comfortable to use.

Wesley Allen's Raleigh Traditional Black and Brown Metal Bar Stool with Cross Back Design
Trica Creation Collection Swivel Stool with Wine Back Design
Creation Collection
Amisco's Ronny Modern Swivel Bar Stool in Silver

Trait #3: Deep Seats

Bar stools with deeper and wider seats are more comfortable for people who are taller or have longer legs. With a deeper seat, you can rest your legs comfortably without feeling any discomfort or pressure on your thighs, which is a common issue with shallower seats.

Therefore, if you’re on the taller side, it’s recommended to look for bar stools with deeper and more spacious seats that offer better support for your legs. By doing so, you can ensure a comfortable seating experience without any unnecessary pressure or discomfort.

Wesley Allen's Portland Tilt Swivel Upholstered Bar Stool with Arms
Darafeev's #600 Upholstered Swivel Wood Stool with Arms in Tobacco Oak Finish
Wesley Allen's Zara Mid-Century Modern Bar Stool with Arms in Silver Metal and Red Seat/Back Cushion - Side View

Trait #4: Properly Sized Seats

It’s essential to choose a bar stool with a seat size that matches your body type for optimal comfort. Shallow seats, which are shorter from front to back, work well for shorter individuals with shorter legs because they provide better leg support.

However, if the seat is too shallow, it can be uncomfortable for taller individuals as their legs might not fit comfortably on the seat. This can lead to their legs dangling, causing additional pressure on the thigh, ultimately taking away from comfort. On the other hand, if the seat is too deep, the person might not be able to reach the footrest, which can also affect comfort.

Therefore, it’s crucial to select a bar stool with a properly sized seat that matches your body type to ensure a comfortable seating experience.

Wesley Allen's Woodland Swivel Bar Stool with Hammered Back and Round Seat
Amisco's Costa Modern Silver Bar Stool with Low Back
Trica's Chateau Modern Swivel Brushed Steel Bar Stool with Cross Back Design and White Seat Cushion

Trait #5: Wide Seats

Bar stools that are wide and have deep seats offer exceptional comfort, especially for taller or larger individuals. However, even for people of average height and size, wider stools provide a more relaxed and comfortable seating experience.

Wide bar stools tend to be more substantial than regular ones, offering additional space and a more roomy feeling. If you have enough room in your space, we highly recommend considering wider stools for their added comfort and overall aesthetic appeal.

Holland's Catalina Big-And-Tall Swivel Barstool with Nickel Metal Finish and Blue Seat Vinyl
Catalina XL
Darafeev's Metra Modern Luxury Bar Stool in Black Wood and Red Leather with Arms
Amisco's Ethan XL Stationary Modern Upholstered Bar Stool with Low Back
Ethan XL

Trait #6: Curved Backs

Bar stools with curved backrests provide better support for the back, making them more comfortable than those with flat backs. A rounded shape to the back of the stool offers more significant support, reducing the strain on your lower back muscles.

However, it’s important to note that everyone has a unique body structure and preference when it comes to comfort. Therefore, while curved backrests are generally considered more comfortable, some individuals might feel more at ease with a flat backrest.

Ultimately, the best approach is to try out different stool designs to find the one that suits your body type and provides optimal comfort.

Trica's Liv Modern Swivel Bar Stool Upholstered with Low Back
Darafeev's Ace Wooden Modern Swivel Bar Stool with Low Back in Gray and Black
Wesley Allen's Boston Swivel Barstool with Arms, Lattice Back Design and Square Seat Cushion

Trait #7: Low Backrests

Bar stools with low backrests, around 8 inches high, can be very comfortable if they have a rounded back design that supports the lower back. The rounded shape of the backrest provides a “hugging” sensation to the lower back, reducing strain and promoting better posture.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that low backrests do not support the upper back and may not be suitable for those who have upper back problems. If you plan to sit at the counter for an extended length of time, a full-size backrest on the stool will provide fuller support and prevent upper back pain.

Therefore, if you have any upper back issues or plan to sit for an extended period, it’s recommended to choose a bar stool with a full-size backrest to ensure optimal comfort and support.

Amisco Ethan Stationary Stool with Low Back
Amisco's Ronny Swivel Modern Kitchen Counter Stool in Silver and Blue
Darafeev's Gen Wood Upholstered Swivel Bar Stool with Low Back in Rustic Pewter

Trait #8: Upholstered Backs

Bar stools with padded or upholstered backrests provide an added layer of comfort compared to those with metal or wooden backrests. The cushioned material offers a softer feel, making the stool more comfortable to sit on for extended periods.

While some people may not mind the feeling of cold metal or wood against their back, upholstered backrests are an excellent option for those who prefer a warmer, cozier feel. Furthermore, plush upholstered backs and seats are sometimes preferred in specific styles and designs that evoke a softer, more luxurious vibe.

In summary, stools with padded or upholstered backrests are a great choice for those who want maximum comfort, warmth, and a touch of luxury in their seating experience.

Trica's Arthur Armless Swivel Bar Stool with Button-Tufted Upholstered Back and Seat - Shown in Black Metal Frame and Gray Seat
Arthur 1
Amisco's Umbria Upholstered Swivel Metal Bar Stool with Low Back in Silver Metal and White Pattern
Darafeev's Classic Upholstered Swivel Wood Bar Stool with Arms and Nailhead Trim

Trait #9: Backless Bar Stools with Padded Seats

Backless bar stools can be a comfortable seating option, particularly when they have padded seats that offer extra cushioning. When selecting a backless stool, it’s crucial to ensure that the seat is wide enough to accommodate your buttocks without feeling unstable or uncomfortable.

Saddle stools are an excellent example of backless stools that offer both comfort and practicality. These stools have wide seats, but they are relatively narrow, making them ideal for tucking under an island or bar. They feature indented seats that resemble a saddle, which offers added comfort and support for the user.

However, suppose you’re looking for a backless stool with more surface area. In that case, a larger round stool may be the better option for you. Keep in mind that although backless stools do not have a backrest, padded seats can provide enough comfort and support to make up for it.

Amisco's Miller Stationary Rectangular Saddle Backless Barstool with Upholstered Seat Cushion and Metal Legs
Amisco's Pearl Modern Gold Swivel Backless Bar Stool with Cabriole Legs and Round Seat Cushion
Wesley Allen's Dodge Backless Industrial Stool

Trait #10: Stools With Armrests

Stools with armrests can be more comfortable for extended periods, as they provide a place to rest your arms and relax while socializing with friends or family. However, keep in mind that armrests will make the stool wider, so it’s essential to measure your space to ensure the stool will fit comfortably.

If you have a larger area, stools with arms are an excellent option to consider. They can provide additional comfort and support, especially for those who prefer a more relaxed seating position.

On the other hand, stools without armrests can also be comfortable, particularly when you can rest your arms on the counter. It all comes down to personal preference and what works best for your specific needs and space constraints.

Darafeev's #977 Billiard Spectator Bar Stool with Pool Cue Holder and Drink Holders with Arms
Wesley Allen's Edmonton Comfortable Swivel Barstool with Cross Back Design and Arms
Darafeev's Bellagio Luxury Swivel Upholstered Wooden Bar Stool with Arms

Posted by Deborah

on in Bar Stool Tips


Deborah has spent over 20 years as a design professional helping others create the kitchen of their dreams. She's drawn to modern kitchens, colorful interiors, and living comfortably.