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Our Guide To Buying Bar Stools

Buying a bar stool doesn’t sound that difficult when you first think about it. After all a bar stool’s just a stool, right? The reality is that finding just the right stool for your cafe, bar or restaurant isn’t as simple as it sounds and there are a lot of questions to ask yourself. What height does it need to be? What should it be made from? Do I need to get cushions? Should it swivel? Does the timber need to match the counter or contrast with it? And so forth….

These are just some of the questions that might pop up in your search, so to make things easier, we’ve put together a handy guide to buying stools.

Getting the height right

Bar stools vary in height so it’s vital that you get the right height to suit the counter or bar table that you’re going to be using the stool with. Also bear in mind that stools are always measured from the floor to the underside of the seat and not the backrest.

In Australia the heights are standardised for homeowners’ kitchens, commercial bar counter and cafe tables. As a rule of thumb bar stools are supplied in 3 main types: kitchen bar stool for a homeowner, commercial bar stool and what is termed as a low stool (alternative to a dining seat).

You can use the illustration below as a guide to choosing the right height

                           Kitchen bench            Bar               Dining Table

Height                       90cm                   105cm              75cm

Stool height             65cm                    75cm               45cm

Typically most commercial venues such as cafes or bars will find they need 75cm bar stools and/or 45cm low stools.

Bar stool spacing

To find how many stools you need it’s a good idea to work out a carefully measured floor plan. We suggest allowing customers 25cm of leg room for comfort between the top of the stool seat and the bottom of the bar or table. We’d also recommend allowing 60cm between the position of the stools (measure from the centre of one stool to the centre of the next one) so that customers have room to eat and chat with one another without feeling too cramped in.


Stools come in a plethora of styles so it’s easier to narrow down your search if you have a style in mind such as modern, vintage, retro, industrial, traditional and iconic such as bentwood or Tolix. If your stools are upholstered then check that any fabric is easily washable or can be wiped down without issue.


When choosing your stool you’ll also need to decide whether your stool needs a back rest, swivel function and adjustable height. This is really a matter of personal choice. Backless styles are often a preferred choice because they make it easier for the person seated to swivel around to interact with others nearby.

Commercial or residential

If you’re buying stools for a cafe, bar, or restaurant then you need to choose commercial furniture which is intended for frequent regular use. We’d also recommend for additional peace of mind that you choose furniture which has been AFRDI tested.


Finally check that the stools you buy are protected with a manufacturer’s warranty as often if you purchase from a general retailer this won’t be the case if your stools are to be used in a commercial capacity.

Here at Cafe Solutions Brisbane all of our bar stools are designed for commercial use and come with manufacturer warranties. We also have a large selection, which is growing on a daily basis, of furniture that has been AFRDI tested. Why not browse our online store or if you happen to be in the Brendale area, call into our warehouse and see our products first hand. For more information or advice give us a call on 07 3205 1616 and we’ll be pleased to help.


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