Tuesday Inspiration: Bar Stools--The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Picking bar stools as the subject for Tuesday's Inspiration is kind of a joke, since I have found very few bar stools that are stylish or inspirational. This cane bar stool from Ballard Design though is an exception to the rule. It is not only stylish, but the seat can be easily reupholstered in your own fabric, giving it a custom look.

Ballard also has this bar stool, which can also be customized.

Buckingham Interiors
Here it is customized in a fun turquoise fabric. I'm loving this chair! The nail heads and the COM option make this chair a winner. With one exception: I am not a fan of the swivel!

It just seems to me that bar stools should be like regular chairs that don't turn! I love these leather chairs, but I suspect they swivel!

The swivel bar stool reminds me of this chair growing up! We had something very similar, and my brother and I were always spinning around and hitting the counter.

I think the swivel idea is a carry over from vintage mid-century design, when bar stools were relegated to the basement or family room bar. Let's take a look at some bar stools from the past.

A pair of bar stools from the 40's. Not bad, not bad...

Ah, there is nothing like avocado green naugahyde!

Can someone say "Meet George Jetson?"

At least these classics from the 50's don't swivel!

And my personal favorite....!
Have you had enough?

Restoration Hardware
Let's take a look at my favorite picks from a few retail sources.
This retro chair from Restoration Hardware has a fabulous industrial chic look.
Can't you see it in a NYC loft?

A classic metal stool, reminiscent of a science lab. For some reason, I don't mind that these swivel!

Another classic, this metal industrial stool is from Pottery Barn.

Southern Accents
Industrial style stools looking great in a traditional kitchen.

I prefer a traditional bar stool though, like this caned back stool from Restoration Hardware.

Or this classic, traditional chair, also from Restoration Hardware.

Restoration Hardware
This chair is very popular right now.

This French style chair from Pottery Barn has been around a while.

Country Living
I like how it can be gussied up with a simple, pleated slipcover.

Southern Living
Another slipcover option, these chairs are adorable!

Southern Living
Really fancy slipcovered bar stools. Maybe a little too much for my taste...

House Beautiful
Loveseat bar stools? I'm not so sure...

I saw this plaid upholstered chair at ABC Carpet and Home in NYC recently.
What a beauty!

Then, there was this unique stool that I saw in Santa Fe. I like how it is simple, yet stylish with the barley twist legs. The upholstery webbing is a great idea, and one that can be copied easily.

Restoration Hardware
Sometimes, the simpler, the better.
A simple stool, upholstered in burlap. Perfect for a natural, rustic look.

Noir Furniture
Simone from Antique Style sent me a link for this chair, which is similar to the black version I almost bought at Big Daddy's Antiques. Love the burlap seat!

Another natural approach: kubu wicker from Restoration Hardware.

Pottery Barn has this wicker option.

Or these seagrass stools, which I love.
They remind me of our bar stools in Asti.

We found them at the Alameda Antiques Faire, from Big Daddy! They are a thin woven kubu wicker and they replaced the green stools that came with the house.

There is nothing wrong with these chairs, but I love the wicker ones better for that rustic look that goes well in the wine country.

I think bar stool design has come a long way since I was a kid, and even a long way in the last ten years. Companies like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Wisteria and Ballard Designs are paying attention to customer demands.
It is about time!

Stay tuned this week for a special giveaway, an exciting announcement and a reveal...

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