The bar stool is a popular and cool seating option for any counter or table top. When shopping for bar stools, the right height can make a difference in the function, style and comfort of your seat. While there are several types, the main difference between standard, counter and bar stools is the height of the seat. If you want your guests to be comfortable, the bar stools must be just the right dimensions; not too short or too tall.
Whether you’re setting up a basement bar, breakfast area, kitchen island or outdoor patio table, a bar stool’s height must complement the countertop to create the perfect balance.
Based on the counter, here are some easy and fast ways to choose the best bar stool height to find the right fit.
Bar Stool Dimensions
While products may vary in size, the most common bar stool dimensions are 15″, 17″ and 21″ in width and 23″ to 37″ in height for a functional design. Bar stools come in a range of sizes and styles that correspond to different uses so you’ll need to measure and shop around to find the right dimensions.
- Standard Counter Stool Height: 23″ – 28″
- Bar Stool Height: 29″ – 32″
- Extra-Tall Bar Stool: 34″ – 37″
Standard Counter Stool Height
On average, the standard counter stool height is between 23 and 28 inches high. Since most kitchen countertops range from 36 to 39 inches, you’ll need a counter stool that measures about 25 inches high, from the seat to the floor. If you’ve ever shopped for a standard-sized stove, you’ve noticed that most of these appliances are 36 inches tall. Kitchen counters also tend to be 36 inches in height so that they will line up flush with your stovetop. When shopping for a standard 36-inch countertop, measure the bar stool to make sure it fits the right dimensions.
Standard Bar Stool Height
Many kitchens feature split-level countertops, with the lower level measuring in at the standard 36 inches in height and the higher level reaching 42 inches. A bar-height table will also reach between 40 and 42 inches tall. When shopping for seating for a countertop bar, bar-height table, or raised kitchen island, you’ll want to narrow your search down to standard-height bar stools. This will include any seats that measure between 29 and 32 inches from the seat to the floor.
Extra-Tall Bar Stool Height
Some extra-tall bar stools will measure 34″ to 37″ in height to accommodate a really high countertop. While a standard bar height countertop is 42 inches tall, some homes may feature extra-high bar counters that reach 46 inches high. These supersized counters will require tall bar stools which measure between 33 and 38 inches from seat to floor. These extra-tall countertops are uncommon so there won’t be as many options on the market for these stools.
How To Choose The Right Bar Stool
Measure The Counter or Bar
Before you start shopping for bar stools, you’ll need to determine the height of your counter, bar or table. You can find this number by measuring from the top of your countertop down to the floor. If the countertop in question is a quick slab, you may want to instead measure from the underside of the counter to the floor.
But height isn’t the only factor you need to consider when it comes to choosing bar stools. Most homeowners need a specific number of bar stools to provide seating for family members and guests. You’ll need to know the length of your bar or counter too, so you can make sure that it’s long enough to accommodate the desired quantity of your chosen bar stool.
Research Bar Stool Width and Spacing Guidelines
When shopping for quality products, make sure to buy bar stools with the right width and height so that people will be able to sit comfortably at your table or counter. You’ll need to leave enough space between the bar stools so that people can get in and out of their seats without elbowing their neighbors. If you’re looking at bar stools with seats between 16 and 18 inches wide, you’ll want to leave a solid six inches between each stool. Stools that are more than 18 inches wide will need an 8 to 10-inch gap between them.
When calculating how many seats can fit around your counter or table, make sure to measure the space between your stools and the individual measurements of each chair for a comprehensive approach.
Bar Stool Height vs Counter Height
We know that standard kitchen counters are 36 inches tall, standard bar-height countertops are 42 inches tall, and extra-tall bar counters are 46 inches tall. You’ll want to accurately measure your counter height to ensure that it doesn’t fall outside of those standard ranges. If you do find your counter is an unusual height, keep in mind that the seat of your barstool should be approximately ten inches shorter than a counter or bar top. For example, if it turns out your bar is 44 inches, you should look for stools that measure 24 inches from seat to floor.
Types of Bar Stools
Stools are available in counter height, bar height, and extra tall. If you’re shopping for a bar stool, there are design features that can make a difference in your decision. Stools that swivel will often need a little extra space between them – think 8 to 10 inches instead of 6. Extra space may also be needed for stools that come with arms. Stools with backs are more comfortable for a home bar or man cave, but stools without backs can be tucked neatly away under a countertop in the kitchen when they’re not in use. All of these qualities come into play when selecting bar stools.
Bar Stool Designs
The best bar stool designs are quality products that offer the right size, style, functionality and price. Many homeowners have a distinct personal style that manifests in the way they decorate their homes. Like the rest of your furniture, your bar stools should tie in with your interior design. Here are some of the characteristics you should be looking for.
Modern Bar Stool
Modern interior design is characterized by minimalism and clean lines. A modern bar stool is likely to be low-profile with no back or a low back. The base of a modern stool will usually be streamlined and low-profile, featuring some kind of metallic finish such as shiny silver chrome or brushed and burnished gold. While some products are upholstered, modern bar stools also feature seats made out of man-made materials like molded plastic.
Traditional Bar Stool
A traditional bar stool will come with a design that marries elements of 18th and 19th-century European style with a more contemporary approach. When it comes to home decor, traditional interiors create a timeless space that feels simultaneously elegant and comfortable. Traditional homes often feature heavier, more ornate pieces of furniture and that extends to bar stools. A traditional bar stool might consist of a heavy wooden frame with a curved back and decorative legs offset by a seat that has been plushly upholstered in a dark, rich color like navy blue or hunter green.
Industrial Bar Stool
An industrial bar stool is a design style that will feature rustic and raw materials such as iron and wood. After the end of the Industrial Revolution, abandoned factories found new life when they were converted into living spaces. This led to the birth of industrial interior design, where the kinds of architectural elements found in factories were celebrated as a feature instead of hidden away. Elements like concrete floors, brick walls, and exposed pipes are all hallmarks of industrial design. An industrial bar stool might have a rough and sturdy wrought iron base topped with a seat made from rustic wood or distressed leather.
Transitional Bar Stool
Transitional is an interior design style that blends traditional and contemporary ideas. This versatile style can be interpreted in several ways, allowing you to truly tailor your space to your personal tastes. Like a traditional design, a transitional bar stool might juxtapose an upholstered seat against a wood frame. The frame will be sleek instead of ornate, while the upholstery will be in a light, neutral hue like beige or cream.