Atlantic Shopping / Inspiration-and-advice / Bar Stools With or Without Arms

Bar Stools With or Without Arms

By Philippa Baker, 13th July, 2014

For some, having armrests on a bar stool is a must. Chairs with them always look comfier and often are, and you wouldn’t be alone in thinking the same is true of stools. However due to their differing purpose, and hence the different way we sit on them, this is not always the case. Whereas with a chair the inclination is to recline back into the seat and rest your arms, with a stool you tend to lean forward with your elbows onto the bar. Whilst this can mean that the armrests are not always used, by no means are they without use.

Before you make your purchase we advise that you first measure your bar or worktop area, dividing the length by the number of stools you need. This will give you some indication of the seat width that you should be aiming for. You should also bear in mind the space needed in between each seat to rotate as well as move between them. We recommend a minimum gap of 15cm between each to provide adequate space and accessibility, or for more information on this why not read our handy bar stool buying guide.

"Both designs with and without arms have their own highly practical and stylish features which we will talk you through in this article, ensuring you’re able to select the right model for you."
Bar Stools With and Without Arms

Grid Bar Stool Black & Maze Bar Stool Black

With Arms

For a statement piece or a seat with a more luxurious look and feel, why not choose one of our many bar stools with arms. Reaching 55-60cm in width, they provide a chair-like experience but at a taller height. With the addition of backrests they are arguably more comfortable, their sumptuously padded seats providing much needed support.

There are a whole host of fabulous styles on offer, depending on the look you’re going for and the level of support you require. For something subtle and low-key, the ever-popular Padded Crescent displays elegant, sloping arms that are incorporated into the backrest. Conversely, if you have a little more space to work with or want something with a little more visual flair, designs like the Polaris boast straighter, fuller armrests for extra comfort.

Take a look at our favourite models with supportive armrests below:

Whilst armrests can be upholstered in the same material as the backrest, as seen in the two aforementioned products, they can also be crafted from contrasting materials for striking visual dynamic. The Maze is a great example of stylish metal arms which match its sleek chrome frame, whilst the Eve exhibits graceful bentwood arms and incorporated backrest in beautifully polished oak or walnut.

Encompassing your body, bar stools with arms deliver an unparalleled secure feeling that makes them immensely popular with a wide range of customers. Many parents choose such models as they provide extra safety for their children, the back and armrests surrounding the body and thus minimising the chance of them toppling off. They’re also favoured by the elderly as armrests not only help when getting up and down from the stool, but provides that extra support and reassurance when seated.

We always recommend that you measure from the floor to the underside of the bar or worktop before buying, to ensure there will be adequate space for the armrests to fit underneath. For example, if the measurement from the floor to the underside of the worktop is 90cm and the seat height of the stool is 65cm, you will then need to add on the height of the arms to ensure it comes to less than 90cm. If it is too tight a fit it could cause damage through scuffs and scrapes, or if they do not fit beneath at all this will limit accessibility and your ability to swivel. Nevertheless, the majority of our models come with gas lift mechanisms for adjustable height, allowing you to tailor the height of your stools to your individual needs and the height of your bar area.


Eve Wooden Bar Stool with Arms at Bar

Eve Wooden Bar Stool


Another style feature to bear in mind is that as the body of the stool gets considerably wider with the addition of arms, so does the base. Whilst this will take up more room, it enhances the overall stability and sturdiness of the frame, preventing it from tipping over if knocked in to. This is a hugely popular feature in commercial settings where they’re prone to heavy usage and rough handling. A wider base is also key in terms of style, as you want the width of the seat to match that of the base to ensure a matching, harmonious look and to prevent it from looking top-heavy. However if you’re contending with space, a wider base could make your bar area appear crowded and cluttered if you’re not careful, and therefore it pays to select the width of stool in accordance with the space you have available.

Also you should take into account that models with armrests, when set on a four-legged frame, can look a little incongruous as well as substantially bulkier. Dedicated to bringing you high-end style, many of our stools come on a single stem base for a sleek silhouette and fashionable finish.

Without Arms

If you are looking for a stool but don’t require armrests, you will be presented with two categories: ones with backs vs backless.

Characteristically slimline and compact, backless stools start with a seat width of just 33cm, as seen in the Zizi. Great if you’re contending with space, they’re almost half the size of those with arms and consequently are much in demand in commercial environments. Many business owners who can fit ten stools with armrests or eighteen without around their bar will inevitably choose those without, to boost revenue by maximising the number of customers they can serve at any one time. Likewise at home, if your breakfast bar is limited in space but you need numerous seats to cater for a large family, then a backless, armless product may be the perfect solution.

Browse our stylish collection of stools without arms below:

Not only are they physically smaller, but many are designed to be visually spacious and minimalistic in appearance. Looking side-on, down a row of stools which have arms, they can appear visually busier and more crowded than those without. Backless models can also be tucked under a bar or worktop extremely easily for storage, as there are no arms or backrests to contend with. With less to them, designs such as the Vision will unsurprisingly suffer less bumps and knocks.

Yet stools without arms but with backrests, such as the Mint, are equally popular due to the additional support they offer. Whilst retaining a modest minimalist appearance, they’re ergonomically crafted to provide that extra reassurance.

The image below demonstrates the considerable difference in width between bar stools with and without arms. You can also see how the addition of a backrest increases the overall space a stool occupies.


Bar Stool Width Comparison


Highly versatile, designs without armrests can cater for a wide range of people of all shapes and sizes. Whilst models with arms are fixed in width and therefore can only accommodate those who can fit within the seat, those without have no such limitations. Many commercial settings therefore prefer armless designs so not to exclude or offend larger patrons and also to maximise their seating space.


Deluxe Brushed High Back Stool Without Arms at Bar

Deluxe Brushed High Back Stool


Whether you’re after a luxurious model with arms for that additional support, or a slimline design without arms for a sleek yet compact alternative, you’re sure to find the ideal product for you in our fabulous range of bar stools.


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