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Bar stools are seating designed specifically for high eating and drinking surfaces, with long legs that elevate the seat so that a patron can sit at a bar or high counter in comfort. Most are around 30 inches (76 centimeters) in height, designed to seat someone at a standard 40 to 44 inch (102 to 122 centimeter) bar or counter. In addition to being used at bars and nightclubs, some homes also use stools to provide additional seating in kitchen or transitional areas, as many informal household eating areas are at high counters. There are a wide variety of types available on the market to suit varying decorating schemes and weight loads.
The materials used to make bar stools include wood, metal, or plastic, depending on the design scheme that they are intending to fit with. The woods used include oak, mahogany, cherry, and ash, and the stools are often varnished or stained, rather than painted. Most are designed to be easy to clean, as frequent spills are a hazard at a bar, and very sturdy. In some cases, the stools are designed to bolt to the floor so that they cannot be moved, and they will not tip over if the seated patron becomes imbalanced.
A basic, traditional stool is round with a flat padded seat, four sturdy legs, and a rail to rest feet on. In some cases, the seat rotates on a swivel. The padding can be leather, vinyl, or fabric, and is usually waterproofed. Some have low or partial backs designed to provide some lumbar support to the person seated at the stool, while others actually have full high backs and are extremely comfortable. In almost all cases, a bar stool will feature a foot rail, although shorter individuals may not be able to reach it.
Non-padded bar stools are also available, as are those that deviate from the traditional round shape. Stools without padding tend to be less comfortable, although they may have sculpted seats to make sitting in them more enjoyable. Some are also available in shorter and extra-tall varieties, for non-standardized bars or human bodies.
Simple or highly ornamental designs can be used for bar stools, which are manufactured to meet a wide variety of aesthetic needs. Modern, classic, retro, antique, and designer stools can be found in most furniture stores in a wide variety of finishes, with more available by special request. Custom models with specific upholstering can also be manufactured to match a decorating scheme.