Atlantic Shopping / Inspiration-and-advice / Supportive & Ergonomic Bar Stools

Supportive & Ergonomic Bar Stools

By Adrian Higgins, 5th February, 2013

When choosing new bar stools, we all want the most comfortable, supportive design possible. Whether you suffer from back problems or not, it’s a good idea to choose a model that promotes good posture, providing optimum support to your spine. Choosing ergonomically designed stools will allow you to enjoy your bar area for extended periods of time without inflicting unnecessary stress on your back.

Osteopath with Spine Model

Bar Stools for Bad Backs from an Osteopathic Perspective

Over 20 years ago I obtained a BSc Hons in Osteopathic medicine, qualifying as an osteopath. After a while, I chose to leave the profession to follow more of a business-focussed career path and eight years ago we launched Atlantic Shopping as a family venture. Today, we not only import and sell bar stools, we actually design some models ourselves. This is where my medical background comes into it’s own, enabling us to produce designs that offer premium support when seated. I am also here to advise customers about which models are most suited to individuals with back problems. In this article, I’m going to take you through the various ergonomic features available.


Spine Digram on Bar Stool

Ergonomic Seat Design

With different heights of backrest, stools with or without armrests, varying seat depths, materials, and different levels of padding, it’s important to choose a seat design that will provide the right level of support for you.

Backrest Height

To make your choice as easy as possible, we have split our products into three categories: No & Low, Mid-Height and High Backrests. You can search for models in each category using the ‘Help Me Choose’ feature on the website.

No & Low Backrest

This category includes Backless Bar Stools, as well as those with a small backrest of up to 18cm. Whilst these models may not seem like an obviously ergonomic choice, they can offer as much support as ostensibly more accommodating designs, due to the sitter’s tendency to lean on the top of the bar. These models have been designed to extend up to the thoracic lumbar region, supporting the lordosis of your lower back.

Take a look at our favourite compact models here:

Mid-Height Backrests

Models with backrests between 18-27cm, like the Mimi Chrome, finish around the mid thoracic spine, providing good support up to about the 6th thoracic vertebrate. Plus, they are not too large; perfect for those who are short on space.

Here are our best-selling mid-height models:

High Backrest

Models like the popular Lush Chrome, with backs between 28-60cm, are undoubtedly best for your spine. And, although they do take up more space, they can make great focal features.

You can view our supportive high-back designs here:

With or Without Armrests

A number of ergonomically designed models feature armrests too. As well as enhancing comfort, the inclusion of armrests can actually improve your posture, encouraging you to recline into your seat rather than leaning forward onto the bar. This promotes more of a chair-like experience, changing the way that you sit on the stool. Some ergonomic models like the Padded Crescent merge the back, seat pad and armrests into a single entity, creating a remarkably comfortable design with a superbly smooth look. However, these designs do tend to take up more space than those without armrests.


Maze Bar Stool With Armrests In Kitchen

Maze Bar Stool White

Seat Depth

In order to make the most of your stool, it’s important to choose a design that features the correct seat depth for your height. For optimum comfort, the length of your thighs should fit on the seat, with your back sitting flat against the backrest.

Padding and Seat Material

All of our padded seats are filled with high-density foam, shaped to uphold your body comfortably. The contour and compact structure of the foam provides excellent lumbar support, plus its resilient nature means that your seat won’t lose shape over time, continuing to keep you comfortable for years to come. Your choice of seat material will also affect your comfort. While supple materials like leather, faux leather and fabric are all obviously comfortable choices, stools like the Crescent, formed of ABS plastic, are ergonomically moulded to the curves of your body, providing surprising levels of comfort.


Lady with Lower Back Pain

How Can Frame Features Improve Posture?

A frame with ergonomic features, like a gas-lift or a footrest, can help to support your legs and pelvis at the correct angle, promoting correct posture and avoiding back problems. You can use the ‘Help Me Choose’ feature on the website to filter products by the frame feature that you’d like.

Gas Lift Bar Stools

It’s important that you sit at the correct height for your bar, as slouching or over-stretching your back can cause health problems. Choosing a gas lift bar stool will allow you to adjust its height to suit you. These personalisable models can be easily adjusted to suit each member of the family, offering all the brilliance of the bespoke at the touch of a handle. Plus, most gas-lift models feature 360-degree movement as well, enabling you to turn using the swivel function rather than twisting your spine.

Of course, while these offer fantastic versatility, our fixed height bar stools are set at the perfect height for kitchen or commercial bars. Choosing the right size model for your needs couldn’t be simpler, take a look at our handy Bar Stool Buying Guide to find out how.

Bar Stools with Footrests

From round to half-moon shaped footrests, each of our bar stool footrest designs provides vital support, plus they make great focal features. Surprisingly, the inclusion of a footrest can help to maintain correct posture, which is why the majority feature a footrest. Crafted at the perfect height to perch your feet on, they keep your legs at an angle of just under 90°, ensuring that you sit upright against the seat. Without a footrest, the angle of the legs changes, rotating the pelvis anteriorly, increasing the curvature of the spine and forcing it into extension, which, over time, can lead to back problems.

With so many ergonomic designs to choose from, you’re sure to find something to suit your needs. You can browse our full range below, and if you have any questions, please do contact customer services, who will be happy to help you. Or, you can ask for myself, Adrian Higgins, to talk it through from more of a medical perspective.


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