Top 7 Bar Stool Height Measurements For Counters

different bar stool designs in kitchen

Here’s our bar stool height guide, which includes how tall they should be, how to measure seats, how style influences size, and more. Stools are a casual, flexible seating option used at a table, counter, or bar.  There are three standard height ranges for stools.

How Tall Are Bar Stools?

Bar stool height is between 28 and 30 inches high.  This suits most bar countertops, which are between 40 and 42 inches high.  A higher or shorter counter would require an adjustment in the stool height to ensure guest comfort

The seat of a counter type is between 24 and 26 inches off the ground.  Since counters are generally between 38 and 39 inches high, this allows for approximately 12 inches of space between seat-top and counter-top, which is comfortable for most people.

The seat of a table type is usually about 18 inches off the ground.  Tables are generally 28 to 30 inches tall.

As discussed, the rule of thumb with these seating options is to allow 12 inches between the surface of the seat and the top of the table, counter, or bar. Read more about standard height for counter, bar & table here.

However, for table stools, this can be reduced to 10 inches.  Those that are shorter than 18 inches are likely to feel uncomfortably low, and should be avoided for the comfort of your family and guests. 

How Tall Should Stools Be?

Bar Stool with height measurement

Above is our illustration showing our guide with distance from the table to seat, floor to seat, and floor to tabletop.

Aim for about 12 inches of space between the seat and the top of the counter or bar.  When seated, the rim of the counter should come to the mid-chest region.  Your guest should be able to rest their forearms on the counter. 

For a bar that is 40 inches tall, 28 inches would be the perfect seat height.  For a taller counter that is 42 inches from the ground, choose 30 inch stools. 

Bar Height Stool Size

Bar Stool Height Measurement

A bar top usually stands between 40 and 42 inches off the ground.  If your bar counter is a standard type, you can choose any type labeled ‘barheight.’  Barhigh stools are 28 to 30 inches tall. 

Counter Height Stool Size

Counter height stool measurement

Stools that are intended for use at a counter are generally labeled ‘counter height.’  To allow 12 inches of space between the tabletop and the seat top, choose a stool that’s 24 to 26 inches high

How to Make Stools Taller

If your bar stools are uncomfortably short, you can purchase or make furniture leg extender pieces to close the gap between the seat and the counter. 

Pre-made furniture leg extenders are tube-shaped and lock onto the bottom legs of the stools using clamps, snaps, or screws.  Spacers can be inserted on each leg to customize how far the tube extends, dictating how high your seat is. 

If your stool has crossbars (horizontal reinforcement that connects one leg of the chair to the others), you can make your own leg extenders out of PVC pipe. 

Choose PVC of the smallest diameter that can comfortably contain your stool leg. 

Measure from the crossbars to the floor

If you want to raise the stool by two inches, make the PVC extenders two inches longer than the distance from the floor to the crossbar. 

Note that this kind of stool extender must be cut perfectly level to provide a stable seat.   Also, because the PVC extenders aren’t attached to the legs, the extended stool won’t be very portable. 

How to Measure for Stools

To determine the appropriate height for your stools, first measure how your counter is. Measure from the top edge of the counter down to the floor.  Subtract 12 inches from the measurement to find the ideal height for your stool. 

Measuring seat height chart:

Counter/Bar Height Ideal Seat Height Notes
34-36″ 24-26″ Standard counter height; provide enough clearance for thighs.
40-42″ 30-32″ Typical bar height; ensure comfortable legroom.
44-46″ 34-36″ Extra tall bars; consider chair features like arms or swivel.

Tip: Allow for 12″ of legroom from seat top to underside of counter or tabletop.

How to Measure Stool Height

Bar stool height is measured straight, from the top of the seat to the floor underneath. 

You may need to drop the tape measure between the legs of the stool to get an accurate measurement of how tall your seat is. 

Determining How Many Stools Can Fit at Your Counter (Calculating Space Between)

Overcrowding your counter with seating will make it less enjoyable to sit there.  At the same time, you want to seat as many guests as possible, provided you can do so comfortably. 

To seat the most guests, choose stools that are 16 to 18 inches wide and do not swivel. Leave six inches of space between the end of the counter and the first chair.  Each seat should have at least six inches of open space between it and the next seat. 

For small stools that swivel or larger armchairs (between 19 and 22 inches wide), more space is needed for the comfort of your guests. 

At least eight inches between every seat is recommended, with another eight between the end of the counter and the first or last seat.  11 inches would be more spacious and comfortable. 

More than 11 inches is too much space, and your guests will feel uncomfortably far from each other. 

How Stool Style Influences Size

Kitchen with white counter and stools black blinds white pendant lights teal cabinets green plant

Stools can be simple wooden perches or lushly upholstered seats with arms and full-backs. If the seat swivels, has arms or features a full back, you will need additional space between seats for your guests to get in and out easily. 

Plan on 8″ to 11″ of space between each stool. 

More minimalistic stools don’t need as much space for maneuvering.  You can get away with as little as 6″ of space between seats

When the seat is cushioned or upholstered, this can make measurement tricky.  Press into the cushion at the seat edge to find the hard stool underneath.  Start your measurement from that point, as the weight of your guest will compress the padding somewhat. 

What Height Of Stool For a 32 inch Counter?

A 32″ counter is a non-standard height, as counters are usually between 36″ and 39″ tall.  If you can, find an option that is 20″ tall. 

What Height Of Stool For a 36 inch Counter?

For a 36″ counter, choose a stool that is 24″ high.

Are there any sizes we missed in this guide? If so, let us know in the comments. For more related content about spectator height bar stools visit this page.

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