52 Types of Counter & Bar Stools (Stool Buying Guide)

Looking for a bar or counter stool? Look no further. Check out these carefully organized and categorized 52 types of counter and bar stools (with pictures).

Kitchen island with beautiful bar stools

Our home has a HUGE kitchen island that accommodates 5 counter stools with room left over.  Our massive kitchen counter bar is one of my favorite features in our home.  I often sit at the counter reading magazines, surfing a tablet or just chatting with my wife.

Our home is open concept so our long kitchen counter bar with stools is great when we have company over.  We often congregate around the kitchen.  My wife and I are like bartenders offering drinks and snacks while our guests enjoy their time at the counter.

If you have the space in your kitchen, I strongly recommend getting an island and buying counter or bar stools.

Stools Really Can Make Your Room Look Better

Don’t buy just any old stool.  Put some thought and research into it.  When chosen well, your stools can ENHANCE your room’s décor.

To this end, we’ve organized this “Stool Buying Guide” in such a way so that you can methodically go through the different elements of a stool to put together a feature, design, style, material, and color set that’s right for you.

Also, each type of stool set out below includes an image of a stool serving as an example.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. Bar Stools vs. Counter Stools
B. How to Choose the Right Stools for You
C. Stool Features
D. Stool Designs
E. Stool Styles
F. Stool Frames
G. Stool Seats
H. Stool Height
I. Stool Colors
J. How Much Should You Spend?

A.  Bar Stools vs. Counter Stools

Technically, the only real difference is height.  Bar counters are generally higher than kitchen counters.  However, in today’s interior design environment, this isn’t always the case.  There are many 2-tiered kitchen islands resulting in a kitchen breakfast bar counter that’s as high as a typical bar counter.

The key is that you buy the right height of stool for the counter at which you wish to place them.  One stool feature I like (which we don’t have) are adjustable stools.  This way the stool can accommodate most people regardless of counter height.

FYI – Because the only significant difference between bar stools and counter stools is height, when setting out the types of stools below, we use the terms interchangeably.  Besides, the height difference is becoming more and more blurred as kitchen breakfast bars and counters do vary in height as well.

B.  How to Choose the Right Stools for Your Counter Bar

The most important buying tip is to ensure you buy the right height for the particular counter at which they’ll be stationed.

The recommended stool-to-counter height formula is to ensure you have 9″ to 13″ from the top of the stool seat to the under-surface of the counter.[1]  This ensures there’s sufficient leg room.  The trouble with this formula is that some people require more leg room (like me) while other people less.  Obviously this is why adjustable height stools are so popular.

C.  Stool Features

The 2 features you need to consider when buying a stool of any kind are:

1.  Adjustable Height

When buying an adjustable height stool, look at the range it adjusts to ensure it meets your needs.  Typical ranges are 6 to 10 inches.

Pair of modern chrome frame adjustable height stools with brown seats.

.  Pair of modern chrome frame adjustable height stools with brown seats. Check out 35 modern white adjustable stools here

.

2.  Swivel Capability

Swivel means the seat spins around.  It’s definitely a nice feature.  Unfortunately, our stools don’t swivel, but I wish they did.

This is a 4-legged swivel stool with wood frame and upholstered seat and back.

.  This is a 4-legged swivel stool with wood frame and upholstered seat and back.

3.  Adjustable & Swivel Stools

You can certainly buy combo adjustable and swivel stools.

Set of modern chrome frame adjustable and swivel stools.

.  Set of modern chrome frame adjustable and swivel stools.

4.  Folding Stools

Some stools can fold up for easy and compact storage.

Basic folding stool.

Simple backless folding stool with cushioned seat in folded position.

.  Simple backless folding stool with cushioned seat.

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D.  Stool Design

Stool design refers to the design features of the stool.  As with most furniture these days, you have many options.  Consider the following stool design elements:

Base Design

1.  Pedestal

Modern chrome finished pedestal stool that adjusts up and down.

.  Modern chrome finished pedestal stool that adjusts up and down.

2.  Legs

a.  4-Legged Stools

4-legged wood-framed armless stool with off-white upholstered seat and back.

.  4-legged wood-framed armless stool with off-white upholstered seat and back.

b.  3-Legged Stools

3-legged backless stool with round distressed seat.

. 3-legged backless stool with round distressed seat.

Back Design

There are a surprising number of common stool back options – from backless to various back designs.  The following are pictures of common stool back options.

1.  Backless

Backless stool with 4 ornate legs in the traditional style with cushioned round seat.

.  Backless stool with 4 ornate legs in the traditional style with cushioned round seat.

2.  High Back

High back stool with chrome finished frame and upholstered seat and back.

.  High back stool with chrome finished frame and upholstered seat and back.

3.  Low Back

Low back height adjustable stool with chrome finished pedestal base.

.  Low back height adjustable stool with chrome finished pedestal base.

4.  Solid Back

Low back height adjustable stool with chrome finished pedestal base.

.  Wood bar stool with solid back and upholstered seat.

5.  Mission Back

Wooden counter stool with Mission-style back and cushioned seat.

.  Wooden counter stool with Mission-style back and cushioned seat.

6.  Cross Back

4-legged stool with a cross back design and cushioned upholstered seat.

. 4-legged stool with a cross back design and cushioned upholstered seat.

7.  Ladder Back

Paid of white ladder-back stools.

.  Paid of white ladder-back stools.

8.  Windsor Back

Wood swivel stool with Windsor back.

.  Wood swivel stool with Windsor back.

Arms

1.  Has Arms

Sturdy wooden bar stool with arms and upholstered back and seat.

.  Sturdy wooden bar stool with arms and upholstered back and seat.

2.  Armless

Wood armless stool with a ladder back.

.  Wood armless stool with a ladder back.

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E.  Stool Styles

Stool style refers to the design theme of the stool.  Popular bar and counter stool styles include:

Modern

 Modern stools are typically molded designs with pedestal bases.  The following is a very popular and highly rated modern stool.

Modern adjustable stool with chrome finished pedestal and black upholstered seat and back.

.  Modern adjustable stool with chrome finished pedestal and black upholstered seat and back.

Traditional

Traditional backless stool with ornate legs and upholstered round seat.

.  Traditional backless stool with ornate legs and upholstered round seat.

Coastal

Coastal stool style with rattan back and arms.

.  Coastal stool style with rattan back and arms.

Country Cottage

Pair of armless white cottage style stools with brown seats.

.  Pair of armless white cottage style stools with brown seats.

Rustic/Western

Rustic round backless stool.

.  Rustic round backless stool.

Tiki

Pair of tiki style stools with wood frames and twine seats.

 .  Pair of tiki style stools with wood frames and twine seats.

Barrel

Wood stool designed in the barrel style with square seat.

. Wood stool designed in the barrel style with square seat.

Saddle

Basic saddle style stool with wood legs and black upholstered seat.

.  Basic saddle style stool with wood legs and black upholstered seat.

Retro / Mid-Century

Pair of retro stools with chrome-finished frame and round, black seats.

.  Pair of retro stools with chrome-finished frame and round, black seats.

Scandinavian

Pair of Scandinavian style wood saddle stools.

.  Pair of Scandinavian style wood saddle stools.

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F.  Frame Material

Popular stool frame materials include wood (oak, walnut, cherry and pine), stainless steel, aluminum, wicker, rattan and metal.

Wood

1.  Oak Stool

Oak swivel stool stool with Windsor back.

.  Oak swivel stool stool with Windsor back.

2.  Walnut Stool

Walnut saddle stool.

.  Walnut saddle stool.

3.  Cherry Stool

Cherry wood bar stool with upholstered back and seat.

.  Cherry wood bar stool with upholstered back and seat.

4.  Pine Stool

Pine wood backless saddle-style stool.

.  Pine wood backless saddle-style stool.

Metal

Metal framed armless stool with a metal back and cushioned seat.

.  Metal framed armless stool with a metal back and cushioned seat.

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G.  Seat Material

Stool seats are either upholstered (with cushion) or not.  If not, the seat is typically the same materials as the frame.

Upholstered seat materials include:

1.  Leather Back Stool

White leather counter stools with wood exposed wooden legs.

. White leather counter stools with wood exposed wooden legs.

2.  Leather Backless Stools

Backless leather-seat stools in the saddle-style with wooden legs.

.  Backless leather-seat stools in the saddle-style with wooden legs.

3.  Faux Leather

This ornate bar stool has a faux leather seat.

.  This ornate bar stool has a faux leather seat.

4.  Microfiber

Kitchen counter stools with microfiber upholstered seat.

.  Kitchen counter stools with microfiber upholstered seat.

5.  Plastic/Acrylic

Modern adjustable stool with molded plastic seat and back with chrome finished pedestal base.

.  Modern adjustable stool with molded plastic seat and back with chrome finished pedestal base.

6.  Wicker Seat Stool

Wicker seat and back stool with wooden legs.

.  Wicker seat and back stool with wooden legs.

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H.  Standard Stool Heights

Stool height is important.  Buy stools with approximately 9″ to 13″ inches of clearance between the stool seat and under-surface of the counter or bar.  Because counter and bar heights are somewhat universal (they do range somewhat), the standard stool heights are:

Short: 16″ to 23″

Example of  short stool with a height of 23 inches.

.  Example of  short stool with a height of 23 inches.

Counter Stool:  24″ to 27″

Example of  standard counter height stool.

.  Example of  standard counter height stool.

Bar: 28″ to 33″

Example of a bar height stool.

.  Example of a bar height stool.

Tall: 34″ to 40″

Example of an extra tall stool.

.  Example of an extra tall stool.

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I.  Popular Stool Colors

When choosing a color for your stools, you must consider both the frame and seat color.  Generally the stool frame dictates the frame color, so usually people searching for different types of stool colors are really looking at the color of the seat.  Popular stool seat colors are:

White

Modern white stool with chrome-finished pedestal base.

.  Modern white stool with chrome-finished pedestal base.  This is an enormously popular modern stool. You can check out 35 white modern stools here

.

Black

Pair of black seat and back stools with chrome finished pedestal base.

.  Pair of black seat and back stools with chrome finished pedestal base.  The upholstered areas are a tufted pattern.  These stools are adjustable up and down.

Brown

Elegant brown stool with rich brown leather seat and ornate solid wood back.

.  Elegant brown stool with rich brown leather seat and ornate solid wood back.

Red

Red upholstered armless counter stool with red back.

.  Red upholstered armless counter stool with red back.

Green

Modern green upholstered stool with chrome-finished pedestal base.

.  Modern green upholstered stool with chrome-finished pedestal base.

Orange

Modern orange upholstered adjustable height stool.

.  Modern orange upholstered adjustable height stool.

Purple

Set of modern purple molded adjustable stools.

.  Set of modern purple molded adjustable stools.

Blue

Blue upholstered 4-legged stool with blue back and seat.

.  Blue upholstered 4-legged stool with blue back and seat.

Grey

Grey kitchen counter stools with wood legs.


.  Grey kitchen counter stools with wood legs.

Multi-Colored Stool Set

There’s no rule stating every stool must be the same color.  You can certainly buy different colored stools such as the set below.

2multi colored stool set

.  3-stool set, each a different color – red, white and black.

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J.  How much should you spend on a stool?

You can buy inexpensive stools for under $50 or spend $1,000+ per stool.  The range is huge.  You can even have custom stools built for greater cost.  It really depends on the room in which you’re placing the stools.  If it’s a brand new, luxury kitchen, you don’t want to scrimp on your stools.  While you don’t have to spend $1,000 per stool, you definitely want stools befitting your custom kitchen.

On the flip side, if you have a casual family room in the basement done on the cheap and you wish to keep the budget low, there’s no reason to spend an arm and a leg on stools in a basic room design.  After all, $600 stools won’t take a room from okay to spectacular.

Set a stool budget commensurate with the design and importance of the particular room.

TIP:  Some bar and counter stools are sold in sets.  Obviously this can result in a lower cost per stool.  It’s unusual to buy just one stool.

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References:

[1]  .  Wayfair.

Related Galleries You May Enjoy:

35 White Modern Stools | 30 Small Home Mini-Bars | 54 Kitchen Island Designs | 41 Wine Cellar Designs | 47 Man Cave Designs (Pictures) |
44 Family Room Designs

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