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What Height Should My Bar Stools Be?

What Height Should My Bar Stools Be?

One of the most asked questions I get is, “What size bar stool should I get?”. It can be confusing, so hopefully these guidelines will help.

So, how do you measure? The correct way is to measure is from the floor to the BOTTOM on the counter.  The reason is that your counter can have a different edge height. I have clients who have anywhere from ½ inch to a 2 inches edge thickness.  If you measure to the top of the counter, it changes how much legroom you’ll have.  So how much room do you need from the top of the seat to the bottom of the counter? 

A good rule of thumb is to have 9 inches to 12 inches of space between the top of the seat to your countertop’s underside. If you consider this rule, you should be able to select the proper seat height for your space. With an exception, if you like to cross your legs, where you should give yourself more room. 

Counter stools are used with a standard-height kitchen counter, where the bottom of the counter is typically 33 inches to 36 inches high. So, a counter stool seat would range in height from 21 inches to 27 inches.

If you have a bar or pub table, their countertops range from 41 inches to 43 inches to the bottom of the table, giving you a bar stool seat height from 29 inches to 34 inches.

Although rarely used in a home is a spectator or stadium stool, you’ll see these in luxury or box seats in a stadium or performing arts center. The counter heights range from 44 inches to 47 inches, again to the bottom of the table, giving you a seat height from 32 inches to 38 inches.

Now with all these numbers bouncing around in your head, and maybe more confused than when you started, here’s a simple way to determine what’s most comfortable for you. Sit at your counter and stack books or a box on the seat.  Find the height that’s most comfortable for you. Then measure from the floor to the top of the books or whatever you used to raise the seat. Now you may not find that exact seat height, so look at the range where you’re still comfortable.

So, what are the different heights?  Remember to keep in mind the edge thickness I mentioned above. Table stools have the same height as your kitchen chairs.  Your typical kitchen table is 28 inches to 30 inches. Using the 9 inches to 12 inches allotment, your seat height can range from the lowest of 16 inches to the highest of 18 inches.

To give you a perfect example how the edge thickness can make a difference. I have a 3-inch apron on my table, so from the floor to the bottom of the apron is 26 inches but from the floor to the bottom of the table without the apron, is 29 inches. So, the range at the lowest is 14 inches to the highest of 16 inches.  Of course, 14 inches is way too low. I fell in love with my chairs, but the seat is 18 inches from the floor to the seat’s top. I like to cross my legs, which only gives me an 8-inch clearance.  But, rarely do we sit there, so I was okay with it.  

If you’re still unsure of the height, look at an adjustable bar stool. Adjustable stools are good for families as each stool can be adjusted for each member of the family.

One final thing to consider is the type of seat. If you have a cushion, remember it will compress some when you sit on it, which could give you that little bit more clearance.    

I hope these guidelines will make shopping for bar stools easier.

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