How Far Should A Bar Stool Be From The Counter?

Whether renovating a kitchen or merely adding bar stools to your counter, it's good to know how far to place or attach the barstools for optimal sitting comfort. We have researched to find the best measurements for you to place bar stools for comfort and aesthetics accurately.

To maximize comfortable legroom under the countertop, place bar stools by leaving at least 24 inches between the edge of the seat to the counter kickplate. The height between the top of the stool's seat and the underside of the counter should measure at least 12 inches.

Continue reading for more bar stool information on how to set up your bar and counter space optimally.

Uniqely designed kitchen with bar stools and kitchen island, How Far Should A Bar Stool Be From The Counter?

What To Consider When Looking for Bar Stools

Select your countertop seats from many available styles of bar stools. Take a look at some ideas to help you choose the best bar stools to fit your lifestyle, comfort level, and decor.

The Purpose Of Bar Stools In Your Home

Think about the standard number of people using the counter space daily, compared to how often you host larger crowds. If you entertain often, stools without backs allow for closer placement to seat more guests. However, backless stools are useful for short term sitting, whereas backed-stools are more comfortable for hosting a game night or late-night conversations because backing offers support.

Families that need different heights to be comfortable might prefer adjustable seats. When shopping, verify the range of height adjustments for different stool styles. The normal stool seat adjustment range is down six inches and up ten inches. Be cautious of the stools' maximum height for adjustable types, compared to the available space under the counter overhang to allow for legroom. Prevent dangling feet by opting for footrests on taller stools.

Seat Shape And Size

Bar stools have many options to keep comfortable such as seat shape and seat cushioning. Padded seats are generally more comfortable to sit on, whereas wood or metal seats can be hard to sit on for long periods. However, you can add a seat cushion to virtually any material or shape seat.

Despite their look, wide and narrow saddle-shaped seats are comfortable. Saddle seats also fit nicely under the counter. Deep seats work well for taller people because they offer more length from the backrest to the front of the seat to provide support for longer legs. Shallow seats work best for shorter people because they are narrow between the seat-back and the front edge. Wide seats are excellent as they offer plenty of room for anyone to relax. 

Beneath the seat, bar stool leg options include pedestal, 4-legged, and 3-legged styles. Some stools feature footrests. For more stool style information such as the difference between a counter stool and a bar stool, read our article,  "What Is The Difference Between Bar Stool And Counter Stool?"

How To Clean Bar Stools; A Cheatsheet

When making your final decision on bar stools, take note of the cleaning codes, so you know how to care for the stools properly. You can find a manufacturer recommended cleaning code on the label attached to your stool.

  • Code-W: use only water-soluble cleaners, such as mild soap or upholstery shampoo.  
  • Code-S: solvent cleaner recommended.
  • Code-WS: both water or solvent-based cleaners are acceptable.
  • Code-X: vacuum only, and do not use any cleaners.
  • Code-D: dry clean only. 

It is essential to also consider the seat material of bar stools not only for aesthetics but also for durability and ease of maintenance. 


Vinyl holds up the best to everyday use. It is easy to clean and maintain. To clean a simple wipe down with a damp cloth is enough to keep it maintained. Use caution if cleaning accumulated dirt; heavy-duty scrubbing can cause the vinyl to fade or peel.  


Leather holds up well as long as it has some primary care. Leather can crack or fade if placed close to a hot surface such as a fireplace or direct sunlight. Clean by vacuuming in the cracks and use a dry cloth to dust every few weeks to maintain the cleanliness fo the leather. For tough spills, use a slightly damp cloth to clean up. For safety test, a small hidden spot, if the water is absorbed, change to a dry cloth. Every six months, apply a leather conditioner. 


Canvas is very durable and can hold up to a lot of abuse. Use a brush to dust it for regular daily use—clean stains with a heavy-duty detergent and water. Always test a spot before cleaning to make sure the color doesn't fade. Canvas works well both indoors and outdoors.


With care, wood will stay nice and last a long time. Wood does not tolerate direct sunlight.  Keep any water exposure short. To maintain dust regularly, including the arms, legs, and rungs. Immediately clean up stains and spills so that the wood does not absorb them. Oil unvarnished wood and maintain varnished wood by sanding off the varnish and replacing it at regular intervals. Fingernail polish and solvents will damage the bar stool.  


Acrylic is easy to clean. Dust regularly to maintain the glossy finish. Clean stains with a damp soapy sponge. Avoid any cleaners with ammonia as they will create a permanent cloudy effect. Acrylic is made for both indoors and outdoors. 


Metal is also easy to clean. Dust regularly and use a soft, slightly damp cloth to wipe down the stool. Rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving soap residue behind. 

Bar Stool Styles To Fit Your Decor

Create a warm family atmosphere with modern stools. 







Click here to view this stool on Amazon.

Coastal bar stools create a beachy breeze in your home at all times.

Click here to view this stool on Amazon.

Country Cottage brings a feeling of warmth to simple wood stools.

Click here to view this stool on Amazon.

Get a rustic feel from repurposed, unique materials.   

Click here to view this stool on Amazon.

Add a tropical vibe to your home with natural wood, Tiki style. 

Click here to view this Tiki style stool on Amazon.

Scandinavian uses neutral, muted colors for a subdued, cozy feel.  

Click here to view this stool on Amazon.

Retro offers super fun styles from the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. 

Click here to view this stool on Amazon.

How Much Space Do You Need To Fit Between Bar Stools?

Basic stools with backs need at least six inches between each individual seat so that the occupants and enter and exit effortlessly. Stools with arms or swivel require between eight and ten inches between the barstools to allot additional space for movement. 

To determine how many bar stools to fit around your kitchen counter, allow approximately 28 to 30 inches for each seating spot. For example, you might wonder how many bar stools fit at a kitchen island. Measure the length of your counter and divide by either 28 or 30 to find out how many stools will comfortably fit.

What Size Bar Stool Do I Need?

Standard countertops have a height range between 30 and 46 inches. Bartop height tends toward the higher 46 inches, versus a standard countertop height of 36 inches. Measure your counter height from the floor to the underside of the counter before you start shopping, and subtract 12 inches to allow for leg clearance to get the maximum height for your bar stools. 

For more details, visit How Tall Should Bar Stools Be?

In Retrospect

Thank you for reading to learn about the best distance to place the bar stool from the counter, which is 24 inches. The recommended clearance space between the top of the stool and the counter underside is 12 inches. Hopefully, you've come away with some great ideas that include style and comfort features of bar stools so that you can make the right seating choice for your counters.

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