How to Measure and Determine Size for Bar Stools

Outdoor Bar Furniture

Bar stools and counter stools are a stylish and effective way to incorporate additional seating. They work well for an inside or outside home bar, around countertops in the kitchen, and any other location in the home where people tend to gather but there aren’t always enough places to sit.

Before buying or making a bar or counter stool, homeowners want to make sure they measure the space correctly to get the right stool size. Sitting on a stool that’s too low is uncomfortable and makes it difficult to reach anything on the counter or at the bar. When the stool is too high, people risk injury by hitting their knees. Homeowners can get a perfectly sized bar or counter stool by following the tips below.

Start by Measuring the Height of the Bar or Kitchen Counter

Knowing how tall of a stool to buy or make is much easier when homeowners know the size of the space where they intend to place the stools. Starting at ground level, they should pull up a tape measure until it reaches the bottom of the counter or bar. After taking the measurement, it’s important to remember to allow enough space for legroom to ensure everyone who sits on their bar furniture remains comfortable.

The typical kitchen countertop is 34 to 36 inches in height. When selecting a new stool, there should be a space ranging from 9 to 11 inches between the top of the stool and the bottom of the kitchen counter. Home bars generally range between 40 and 42 inches tall. The same rule applies here to allow 9 to 11 inches between the stool top and the bottom of the bar fixture to allow for adequate legroom. Even with these averages provided, homeowners should always check measurements for themselves to ensure they buy or make the right-sized stool.

Consider Details of the Bar or Counter Stools

Counter stools typically range between 24 and 26 inches starting at the floor and ending at the seat cushion. Bar stools are a bit longer with an average height of 26 to 30 inches from the floor to the seat cushion. People putting in the stools also need to account for space in between them and the style of the stools. Both of these factors affect the decision of where to place each stool. Here is a formula to follow for traditional bar or counter stools.

  • Allow between 21 and 22 inches of space for each stool if its measurements fall between 16 and 18 inches. Homeowners should take measurements at the widest part of the stool.
  • Allow between 24 to 25 inches of space between stools if the widest part of each stool measures between 19 and 22 inches.

Bar and counter stools with arms or swivels require additional space between them. To determine the correct placement, measure between the widest point of each arm or swivel. Measuring the length of the countertop or bar and dividing it by one of the above sets of numbers helps to determine how many stools to put in the available space.

Popular Bar Furniture


Bar Stools Come in Many Available Styles

Homeowners have several style options to choose from in addition to arms and swivels on their bar or counter stools. Below are some popular style examples.

  • Adjustable height
  • Fixed height
  • High backs
  • Leather seats
  • Low backs
  • Traditional wooden frames
  • Upholstered with a metal frame

Fitting the bar or counter stools in with the rest of the décor inside or outside the home should be a primary consideration. The stools should look like they belong where the homeowner placed them and not random or haphazard. At the same time, the new stools don’t have to blend in perfectly to create a pleasant visual aesthetic. The process of selecting the right style of stools will go better when people focus on pairing them with other components in the room or outdoor space but not necessarily the entire house.


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Posted by Terra Outdoor Living on Friday, June 28, 2019


Another issue to consider is how much maintenance the stools require. For example, stools constructed from metal or wood are usually simple to clean and maintain. Upholstered stools may need more frequent cleaning but help to create an elegant setting. Style choices all come down to the priorities of the homeowner. Once they have completed measurements and chosen the type of stools they would like, the only thing left to do is shop for them or find the materials to make their own.