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The Barkeeps Guide to Buying Bar Stools


Purchasing a bar stool is a very meticulous process that you do not want to mess up. My personal road has taken me on a path that makes me qualified to show others what to do when shopping for a bar stool. You see I owned a bar for about 5 years in New Jersey. The sizes, types, and finishes of bar stools were a major concern for me.

It just so happens after finishing that chapter of my career I find myself involved once again with bar stools. Life works in mysterious and mischievous ways. You see just when I thought I was done with the bar business altogether, they sucked me back in. I now work for a major online retailer that deals in bar stools and other bar furnishings.

So, if you are looking to purchase a bar stool, there is nobody with as much first hand experience as I. When looking to purchase a bar stool there is a distinct must; know what type of stool you need. Do I need to purchase a counter stool or should I purchase a bar stool? Knowing the difference is crucial to making a good purchase.

Stools that are meant for bars, or bar stools, are generally 30" or above high. An area that is optimal to use a bar stool will usually be around 40-42" high. Stools meant for a counter, or counter stools, are generally 24-26" high. The most advantageous height for an area to use these stools would be around 36" high.

Make sure to find the optimal seat height. Remember seat height is not the same as overall height, unless the bar stool has no back. To get the optimal seat height, measure from the floor to the bottom of the counter ledge or bar top. Subtract room for your legs, I always took off at least 12" to accommodate even my largest clientele, for the average person 9" should be ample.

The remaining measurement is what your optimal seat height should be. Take that measurement and do not buy anything much taller, but do not go more then 3" lower.

Now that you know what type of stool you are looking for, what style do you want? Counter and bar stools come in many styles and finishes. Stools come in both metal and wood.

Metal stools are generally more contemporary and are usually lighter then their wood counterparts. They are also more durable and better for buyers whose friends are not quite as gentle with the furniture as they would like. Wood stools come in all types of wood from oak and maple to cherry. They give the room a warm, apple pie feeling.

If wood is the preference, I look for stools that are commercial quality as I want a piece that will last for many years to come. There is no wrong or right to choosing wood or metal. They both make a great bar stool. To make sure that you, the customer, are happy with your stool there is another aspect that I would like to make you aware of.

The other aspect is if you would like the seat to be upholstered or in leather. Leather is one of the stoutest materials known to man and can last many years with proper care. An upholstered stool has a very classic look but it is very important to maintain your upholstered furniture. A spray on stain-guard is your best bet to help avoid messy stains.

So there you have it, some tips from a person who knows what he is talking about when it comes to bar stools. Maybe the reason for the career change was that I cared a lot about my customer's comfort at the bar itself, and when they wanted emotional support and advice I would just refer them to Oprah.

Matt Guerra is currently a merchandiser and copywriter at Buying Bar Stools.com. The site offers additional information on Bar Stools and Home Bars.


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