What Height Should a Bar Stool Be for a Counter?

To find the perfect counter stools for your kitchen is tough – there are so many things to think about, like style, comfort, and height. We’ve put together a guide to help you choose the right stools for your breakfast nook, kitchen island/counter or your personal in-home bar.

a) Determine the right height
First, you’ll need to measure the height of your table/counter before you can decide the height of the stool you need. The rule is that you need 9” – 13” between the counter and seat for comfort.

The height of chair stools is usually 18” from the seat to the floor. You’d set these together with a table/counter between 28” – 30” high.
The height of counter stools is usually 24” – 26” from seat to floor. Set these together with a table/counter 36” – 39” high.
The height of bar stools is usually 28” – 30” from seat to floor. Set them together with a table/counter 40” – 42” high.

b) Confirm how many stools can fit
You need to make sure that there’s enough room between stools for people to eat, drink and hang out without touching elbows. Below are the general rules of thumb:

If the broadest part of your stool is 16″ – 18″ allocate 21″ – 22″ of space per stool.
If the broadest part of your stool is 19″ – 22″ allocate 24″ – 25″ of space per stool.
If you want stools that rotate or have arms, you’ll have to add more space between the stools.

c) Think About the style of stool
What do you want? Are you planning something flashy and modern or are you looking at making something homier and more discreet? Does it need to match with something in its environment? Will it be practical? With the answers to these questions you can start to form an idea of the height and style of stool that’ll work for you.

Backless seating works best in a busy or tight corridor, or if you’d like to hide them under the counter of your kitchen island. But if you’re a frequent entertainer and want something more comfortable, select a broad-backed stool that has deep seating.

If you plan on using the stools where there’s food involved, you’ll want to consider a material that’s easy to clean, like leather, metal or wood. If your heart is set on upholstered stools, choose a microfiber that’s easy to clean. You can also choose interchangeable cushions in this instance.

Standard Bar Stool Height
Bar-height stools are generally 29” – 32” from seat to floor. They’re used with 41” – 43” high table/counter tops. These fit most bar tables, home bar counters, and kitchen islands built specifically for dining. Don’t forget to leave 6” – 10” between stools.

Standard Counter Bar Stool Height
Counter-height stools are generally 23” – 28” from seat to floor. They are used with 35”-37” high tables/counters. Most kitchen countertops are this height as it’s on the same level with standard large kitchen appliances.

Extra-Tall Stool Height
Extra-tall stools, also called “spectator-height stools”, are generally 33” – 36” from the seat to the floor. These are suitable for tables 44” – 47” high. It’s unusual for countertops to be at this height.

Regardless of the unique style of your kitchen or bar, you’ll find a stool that complements your look and feel. Come now, you don’t need to match everything in the near vicinity to be exactly the same. If you already have a lot of metal furniture, don’t be afraid to mix it up with some stained wooden stools. If you keep an open mind, you’ll find the perfect stools to complement any room.

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