How Tall Should Bar Stools Be? [Results by bar height]

Bar stools provide a versatile and casual seating arrangement for practically any space in the home – from the kitchen island to the built-in bar top. Today it’s a bit rough picking the right stool for your bar, owing to the many short and tall options to choose from. This may leave you wondering what height stool you need. We researched this to find out what was best for each type of bar. 

So, how tall should a bar stool be? This figure is often determined by the design and structure of the backrest. Here are the three common types of bar stools and their average heights:

  • Short height bar stools – Alternatively known as table stools, short bar stools should measure approximately 18 inches. This should be enough to accommodate table heights of between 28 to 33 inches. 
  • Counter height bar stools – Since countertops span approximately 35 to 39 inches, your seat should be about 24 to 27 inches high.
  • Bar height stools – These types of seats should be approximately 28 to 30 inches to sit under bar tops that are usually about 41 and 43 inches tall.
  • Extra-tall bar height stools – Otherwise known as spectator stools, extra-tall stools should be about 33 to 36 inches to fit into a 48-inch-high table/counter. 

Each of these stools is meant to be paired with its respective table height. Before buying a bar stool, you must measure its height and make sure it’s a perfect fit for your space. If you’re not sure how to do that, keep reading for a clear guideline, along with tons of other helpful information. We hope it helps! 

A modern bar with five bar stools and a grass textured decorative wall, How Tall Should Bar Stools Be? [Results by bar height]

Categories Of Bar Stools And Their Heights

Bar stools are categorized into four primary seat height measurements: short height, counter height, bar height, and extra-tall height. Let’s delve deeper into each of these stools, shall we?

1. Short Height Bar Stools

Table stools should be high enough for you to rest your arms and sit in a natural position on a 28 to 33-inch countertop. Your legs should also have enough room to fit snugly underneath. The standard height for this type of chair should be around 18 inches. 

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2. Counter Height Bar Stools

These are the most preferred types of stools for a full island seating. They should have a standard height of between 24 to 27 inches to fit in 35 to 39-inch kitchen countertops. Swivel counter stools are a great option if you have limited space underneath your counter! 

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3. Bar Height Stools

28 to 30-inch bar stools are perfect for countertops that measure between 41 and 43 inches from the ground. As the name suggests, these kinds of stools are pretty common in bars. At home, they can fit perfectly in a contemporary farmhouse aesthetic.

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4. Extra-Tall Height Stools

Are you looking to add a definitive touch to your home bar? Extra-tall height stools are the perfect options to consider. They come in a variety of materials and measure approximately 33 to 36 inches in terms of height. They can easily fit into a table or countertop of 48 inches. 

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For each of these stools, leave at least 9 to 12 inches worth of legroom between the bottom of your countertop and the top seat. This should be the case, especially for a kitchen dining setting where you need to enjoy maximum space and comfort.

If you need a swivel chair for your living room, check out these 11 Oversized Round Swivel Chairs That Will Look Great In Your Living Room

How Do You Measure Bar Stool Height? 

Here’s what you’ll need to measure which height stool will be perfect for your bar, counter, or table:

  • Tape measure
  • Notebook
  • Pen

Step 1:

Grab your tape measure and get the distance of the height between your counter’s underside to the floor. Record the measurement on your notebook and measure the distance once again in case you went slightly out of range the first time.

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For your convenience, standard counters are between 34 to 36 inches tall, while wet pubs or bars are often 40 to 42 inches tall. 

Step 2: 

From the measurements you just recorded, it won’t be hard finding the right number of stools for your pub or counter. Just follow the standard industry measurement, which allows for between 26 to 30 inches between each seat (more on this later!)

Step 3:

Decide on the type of style or features you want for your stool. It could either be stationary or adjustable, non-upholstered or upholstered, non-swivel or swivel, and more.

As you notice, the second and third steps depend on the measurement you get in the first step. Get the right measurement to ensure you get the right stool height for your social setting.

What Is The Difference Between Counter Top and Bar Height? 

Most people often get the wrong counter stool for their counters – don’t be one of them. Countertop and bar height seating styles differ in this way: Standard kitchen countertops often measure between 34 and 39 inches, whereas bar height seating is usually approximately 40 and 46 inches. 

The average bar height seating is higher than the standard kitchen counter by about six inches. Bar heights are ideal for stools with a height of between 30 to 36 inches, while counter heights can accommodate 24 to 29-inch stools. 

Counter height seating provides room for a relatively large group of people (about four to five). It’s an ideal space for working on large projects or setting up large buffets. Bar heights, on the other hand, are worth considering if you have a spacious floorplan. The bar height counter also doubles as a room divider of sorts.

Family and guests on one side of the counter can converse with the cook on the opposite side without having to step into the work area.

How Much Space Should Be Between Bar And Stools? 

A rule of thumb when measuring leg space is to leave about six inches between the counter and each stool. The idea is to allow sufficient room for comfortable seating and also to exit the counter with ease. You can measure your bar’s width to determine just how much space you need to spare.

A modern kitchen with bar stools on the side and a gorgeous island countertop

The width of a typical bar stool is approximately 40 centimeters; some can extend to up to 50 centimeters. If you have a small space, it helps a lot to push the seats underneath the bar. To achieve that much-needed space, ensure your stool has a lower or similar measurement to your counter.

Also, stools with backrests may be highly unnecessary if you have limited space in your kitchen or counter. The backrests often block the seat from sliding smoothly beneath the counter. However, if you have lots of room to spare, pick out a bar stool with backrests that blend perfectly with your kitchen wall decor.

If you don’t have any decoration on your kitchen walls, read How to Decorate Your Kitchen Walls and get inspired to give your cooking space a fresh look!

What Height Should A Bar Be? 

Height is an essential aspect to consider when designing any bar. Although the average bar height is 42 inches from the top of the bar to the floor, this standard measurement is subject to change based on the desired setting. Here are the standard heights for domestic and commercial bars:

Domestic Bars

Kitchen or living room bars should have an approximate height of 42 inches. This is spacious enough to accommodate a 30-inch-high bar stool. The overhang of your bar top should be at least eight and a half inches, but you can stretch it up to ten inches to ensure your knees don’t touch the bar front.

A modern kitchen with a center island

Commercial Bars

They should measure between 42 to 45 inches. In this case, you should consider the average height of both males and females, which is 5 feet, 4 inches. This is equivalent to 64.8 inches, which makes 42 -45 inches perfect for a commercial bar setting. 

How Long Should A Bar Be For 3 Stools? 

Three metal bar stools on a kitchen

A 90-inch countertop is enough to fit 3 bar stools. If you want to determine the total number of seats that are good enough for your bar, experts advise that you leave a seating space of approximately 28 to 30 inches.  

This means that you can partition your bar’s total length by 30 to determine how many stools to arrange underneath your bar. In our case, we found that three seats can fit into a 90-inch countertop after dividing the length by 30 (90/30=3).

Likewise, if you have a bar that measures 120 inches in length, divide the value by 30, and you’ll find that it can fit precisely four stools. If the length of your countertop doesn’t give an exact figure when you divide it by 30, ignore the digits that come after the decimal. 

For instance, if your bar has a length of 115 inches, it can accommodate a maximum of 3 stools. At this point, you’re sure to have some extra space between your stools. Even if it seems as if you still have a lot of space to spare, don’t be tempted to add any additional seats. 

Stick to the maximum stool number to avoid blocking walkways or making your kitchen appear to be cramped. 

How Much Overhang Do You Need For Bar Stools? 

The higher the height of your bar, the less overhang you’ll need. However, for a breathable seating or working space, you need an overhang of approximately 10 to 12 inches. This should leave more than enough space between the legs and the edge of the countertop. 

You need to know that there’s no exact measurement or definitive figure that dictates just how much overhang you need for your bar stool.

This can easily vary based on how you intend to use your bar. For instance, if you plan on using your bar as a dining area, you need an overhang of 10 inches and over. Anything less than that won’t allow you to reach the top of your counter. A smaller overhang is okay if you plan on using your bar as a perching spot. 

A modern kitchen with wooden flooring and metal bar stools

Another factor that may influence the amount of overhang is the surrounding space. If the area behind the bar stools is used as a walkway, it’s a good idea to leave a considerable overhang. In such cases, you can easily tuck your bar stools underneath the bar. If there are no high traffic areas around your bar, consider leaving a smaller overhang. 

Conclusion

Don’t center most of your focus on the height of the bar stool alone. Consider the width as well. Bar stools typically come in widths of 15, 17, and 21 inches. The bar stool’s width can also impact the number of seats you can have in your bar. 

For now, we hope this post helps you to pick the right bar stool height for your bar top or kitchen counter!

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