Seat Yourself: Which Types of Bar Stools Work Where

Nowadays, bar stools are for so much more than the home bar. They serve as casual or functional seating throughout the home – from the kitchen to the bar or game room. Determining which types of stools work where often hinges upon how you utilize each location. Let’s look at the key variables.

With or Without Backs

When deciding between traditional bar stools and backless varieties, consider the use of your space. This can be particularly variable in a kitchen with a breakfast bar or dining counter.

If you want guests to stay for a while, choose stools with a back to provide support and ensure comfort. If your space is for brief meals or quick visits, consider the backless bar stools. An advantage of backless: In a crowded kitchen, you can tuck these neatly under your counter when not in use.

Low-back stools are a compromise, offering a bit of support while keeping sightlines clear. These often skew modern and pair well with contemporary decor.

With or Without Arms

Another choice is between bar stools with arms and armless varieties. Stools with arms provide additional comfort during longer sittings, including a sit-down meal or time watching a game-room TV.

The key advantage of armless stools: They’re not as wide, meaning you likely can fit more stools in your space. Be sure to account for the amount of space between stools in this decision.

How about swivel stools? They make maneuvering in and out easy, meaning you won’t have to scoot the stool toward and away from a counter. That’s an extra advantage if your space doesn’t allow a lot of room between stools.


The variables in materials allow you to tailor your choices for each setting.

Handcarved stools look great whether in a traditional bar setting or as a centerpiece in your kitchen. Dark woods pair well with the look of a bar, but they can also function as a dramatic contrast in a space with lighter hues, such as a kitchen. Woven stools often add a tropical touch that pairs well with coastal decor.

If you plan to place stools in a sunny spot, metal and kiln-dried hardwoods will withstand the changes in heat, light and humidity. Metal stools often have a sleek profile, which makes them well suited for smaller spaces and contemporary decor.

Upholstered stools add some formality and are more comfortable than non-cushioned ones. Leather tends to have a traditional, sturdy look. If stools are for the kitchen, look for stain-resistant fabric, especially if you have children using them.


After you’ve determined your needs and measured your space, it’s time to find the perfect seats.

As stylish as they are functional, Frontgate bar stools combine premium craftsmanship with the finest materials. You’ll find uncompromising quality in every detail.