How to Design Retro Bar Stools

Bar stools.
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 25-100
What You'll Need
Color markers
Old bar stool, you can use a metal stool (non-adjustable), or wood
Plastic seat
Drill with metal bit
Piece of 1/2 inch hardboard or sheet of steel 8x8 inches
Round head bolts and nuts to match
Matching paint

Retro is coming back in style and retro bar stools can add an artistic touch to any modern bar. The great thing about retro is that anything artistic and colorful counts so anyone can design a bar stool in this style. As long as it is tall enough to sit on, and with a rounded, artistic look, you will have a stool that will fit the retro trend. Here are plans to design your own retro bar stool.

Step 1 - Sketch Your Design and Colors

When you go to look for a stool to redesign, look for curved shapes and a comfortable design. You will be replacing the seat so that part does not have to be in a retro style. The frame should be in good condition with a seat that you can easily replace.

Sketch your stool onto the paper a number of times and, with the markers, try out some different colors for the seats. Be bold with bright red, or polka dots. Look around the room and chose a color that will brighten it up without clashing with other colors.

Step 2 - Buy a Molded Plastic Seat

Go out to second hand or cheap outlets and buy a molded seat in the color you have chosen. These seats can come off plastic outdoor chairs, look for a rounded or curved design. It should be in good enough condition to use without repair and have a base that can be attached to a stool top.

Step 3 - Attach the New Seat to a Board

Drill four holes in the board or metal and through the chair bottom and attach the chair to the metal or board with the round-headed bolts. If the bolts stick up too far and maybe uncomfortable to sit on, try to recess them a little.

Step 4 - Attach the New Seat

Remove the original stool seat and attach the new one. Make sure that the seat will be stable when weight is put on it. Now you have a new, colorful bar stool. Make other stools the same way, or with different colors if you prefer.

Step 5 - Paint the Stool

Depending on what the bar stool is made from, paint it in contrasting or complementing colors to the seat.

For a wooden stool, strip back any old varnish or paint, then repaint. For a metal stool – paint a primer base onto the metal legs, then, when the primer has dried, paint the stool.

You can go all out on seat design and look for something different like a motorcycle seat, or an old-fashioned tractor seat that you can paint a bright color. These are quite popular but are more difficult to fit to your stool.