Bar vs. Counter Height Stools

Even though the height variation between bar and counter stools is only a few inches, the difference in seat elevation has a significant impact on how comfortable you are when perched atop a stool at a kitchen counter or table. Both bar and counter stools are available in a range of materials, textures and colors to enhance your decor.

Custom Kitchen with Island and Red Stools
credit: Steven Wynn/iStock/Getty Images
Measure the height of your kitchen island to choose an accommodating stool.

Raise the Bar

The height of a standard bar stool ranges from 28 to 30 inches, and is determined by measuring from the floor to the top of the seat. Bar stools are designed to accommodate a tabletop or counter that measures 40 to 42 inches high.

Consider the Counter

Counter stool heights typically measure 24 to 26 inches from the floor to the top of the seat. Use counter stools with a table or countertop that measures 36 to 39 inches high.

Go for the Comfort

For both bar and counter stools, leave a clearance of about 9 to 13 inches between the top of the countertop and the seat to allow plenty of room to sit comfortably without pressing your thighs against the bottom edge of the countertop. If you have swivel stools with armrests, allow for ample space between the stools to avoid bumping the protruding arms together when rotating seats.