Why Do Bar Stools Not Have Backs? (Explained!)

Bar stools are becoming a staple in the modern household since they provide function and style while taking up minimal space. Bar stools are also popular due to coming in different forms, with backless and high backs being two of the most prevalent choices.

There’s almost a cult following for both kinds, bar stools that provide back support and those which do not. While on paper you would want your stool to have backs, there are some practical reasons as to why some come backless.

Why do bar stools not have backs?

Some bar stools don’t have backs due to saving space in an already cramped bar area. Other reasons include promoting socialization between the patrons since there is fewer physical and so psychological barrier among them. They also cost less than bar chairs so thats an incentive as well.

While promoting socialization leads to people ordering more from the bar which increases revenue, that isn’t the only reason why bar stools don’t have backs. One of the main reasons why there are bar stools without backs is to save space since on a busy day or night you need to utilize every inch you have.

A lot of people believe that if a bar stool has a back or art rest, they become bar chairs which in their opinion, defeats the purpose. Low to no backs fit better under the counter and allow a cohesive, clean look by not contacting the edge of the counter and taking up less visual space. 

Should a bar stool have a back?

Whether you would want your bar stool to have a back depends on how much time you might spend sitting on it. Another reason why a bar stool should have a back is if you have kids in the household, a barstool with a back will provide both support and safety.

It honestly depends on personal preference whether you want your bar stool to have a back. Backless stools will offer you the minimalist look if that’s what you desire- but for relaxed lounging, you would generally want a barstool with a back on it.

The bottom line is, if you plan to socialize for an hour or more, a stool with a back will be more comfortable and functional.

Why do bar stools not have backs?

Now that we know there are pros and cons to barstools not having backs, let’s discuss why there are backless barstools.

They are smaller and lighter:

Barstools without backs are physically smaller and lighter than their backed counterparts. This makes sense since they use less material than a bar “chair” would.

They save space:

As they are smaller and lighter, they save more space as well. This also makes it possible to fit more seating in a small area.

They provide visual line coherence:

As they do not have backs, they usually fit seamlessly underneath the counter which gives off an airy and light feel and look to the area. This cleaner and sleeker look allow the furniture to take up less visual space thus providing a coherent line.

Backless barstools also cost less to both make and buy which further incentivizes manufacturers to keep producing them as well.

Are backless stools comfortable?

Some believe backless stools are less comfortable than those with back support. And it makes sense, a commercial barstool with a back allows you to lean back and have back support so sitting feels much easier and comfortable.

Having something to rest against feels more ergonomic, especially if you plan to sit there for a longer time. However, this does not mean backless stools are uncomfortable.

There are plenty of examples and designs available where a backless stool could beat its competitors with how comfortable and natural they feel. A padded, properly structured backless stool will without a doubt be more comfortable than a barstool that only has a backrest going on for it.

Ultimately, the design, structure, height, and material of the stool determine how comfortable it’s going to be to its user.

Are backless stools good for you?

As mentioned earlier, a good barstool is determined by its design, how it’s structured, its height, and the material it’s made of. Backless stools might be just the thing you are looking for if you want that sleek, practical look for your space.

Backless stools make it easier to get up and/or sit down, which is perfect for parties where you would ideally like to mingle and socialize. It is also known to keep you more alert while simultaneously keeping you working on your posture.

Good posture, which’s supported by backless stool, allows you to have your organs aligned and functioning better, which in turn gives you the benefits of proper blood flow. This practice also helps you with back pain. Overall, it gives you better circulation and posture practice.

So, while backrest stools can give you something to lean on, a proper backless stool will help you get on your feet faster and help you with your posture, blood flow, and overall health while you’re on it.

How to add a back to a barstool?

So, you have decided you want your minimal barstool to provide back support and want to add a backrest. While the task is doable, there are certain nuances to it which you must pay mind.

To start with, the tools you might need are 

  • Safety gloves and glasses, 
  • Something to cut the board with i.e., Miter saw and/or jigsaw, 
  • Something to mark and measure the wood with i.e., Chalk line, tape measure, spirit level, carpentry pencil, 
  • And finally, drill machinery and drill bits
  • You might also need glue, stain, and wood filler.

Reminder to add several coats of wood stain so the wooden components can look and work their best. You can also use the wood filler to fill any holes to further smoothen the surface.

The basic idea to adding a back to a bar stool is to measure the piece, decide on the design and then get on to the work.

  • First you need to attach the legs to where the backrest will begin. It’s advised to drill them into place rather than using glue here since they will provide the main support to your backrest. After this, you attach the slats or pieces of the backrest onto it. 
  • When attaching the slats to the backrest, all you have to do is cut the slats the right size and drill pocket holes at both ends. Once you’ve done that, secure them with screws and add waterproof glue to the joints to make sure they are planted properly.

Take care of the finishing touches and voila! You’ve now got yourself a barstool with added back support.

Are low-back bar stools comfortable?

Low back bar stools are more comfortable than their backless counterparts, however, they quite don’t hit the mark the way proper back and armrest included barstools do.

That being said, if they have a padded seating area and can be leaned against, low-back bar stools give you both the space-saving functionality of a backless and the backrest stability of a full-backed bar stool.

Should I get a stool with a back? Why or why not?

Whether you should go with a stool with a back depends entirely on your lifestyle, vision, and needs.

Backless barstools are known to give a space an airier, cleaner look since it takes up less visual space. This is super handy when wanting to decorate a small space.

On the other hand, a barstool with a back will be optimal if you are looking to spend more time sitting on the counter. It will provide comfort as well as security for households with children in them.

In the end, it ultimately depends on you and your wants and needs to decide which barstool is the one for you.

When to use backless bar stools?

Use backless bar stools when you are short in space and want people to mingle a lot. If you want more foot space, backless bar stools are the way to go. They are also a safe choice since they run no risk of hitting or banging the bar/countertop.

Barstools are a great choice for areas where you want casual lounging while you socialize, and both backless and backrest barstools bring their pros and cons to the table.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are Bar Stools Bad For Your Back?

Are Bar Stools Comfortable?

Are Bar Stools Good For Posture?

Bar Stool Won’t Stay Up or Down?