Counter Height vs. Bar Height Stools

Bar and counter height stools are smart, space-saving seating solutions. Perfect for entertaining as well as everyday dining, counter height and bar seats have similar designs ranging from bare-bones minimalist stools to plush pub-style armchairs. Knowing the difference between bar stools and counter stools can help you make the best choice.

While counter and bar seats are similar, you'll want to take their dimensions into account when planning your space. Stools don't allow you to push away from the table as easily as a standard side chair, which means guests could end up stretching to reach drinks or bumping their knees against the base of the bar. Grab a tape measure and read on to learn more about selecting the right seating.

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A Fitting Formula

So, when it comes to the counter height stool vs. bar stool debate, how do you know which is right for you? Start by measuring the height of your table or island from surface to floor. Subtract about twelve inches to establish the ideal distance between the seat and the tabletop. Listed below are the typical measurements for popular stool designs:

  • Bar Height: Also known as pub seats, bar stools are usually five or six inches higher than counter chairs. Most stand between 29 to 36 inches tall. Most bars are roughly 42 inches high, so these chairs provide ample room between the bottom of the table and your lap.
  • Counter Height: Counter stools are slightly shorter than seats meant for a bar. They come in at around 26 inches or so and allow you to sit about two feet from the floor. Since the standard kitchen island is 35-39 inches tall, most people have plenty of space to move without bumping the table.
  • Adjustable Height: To accommodate kids as well as taller-than-average friends, consider adjustable stools. These adaptable chairs allow guests to customize how low or high they wish to sit. Lever-controlled hydraulic posts let people shift positions, so they can create their own comfort level.

Knee and Elbow Room

Figuring out the dimensions of your counter and stools is only half the battle. Once you know the size of your setup, you'll need to decide on the appropriate number of seats. Too few chairs creates a sparse layout, while too many can feel overcrowded. Well-spaced stools are crucial to the look and feel of your design.

The general rule of thumb is to leave six to eight inches between each counter or bar stool. Armchairs and swivel seats require about eight to ten inches of distance. To ensure diners have enough room to relax while they eat, drink and socialize, allow about 14 inches leeway from the table's edge and leave at least a foot of space open beneath its surface.

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Design Decisions

Once you've figured out the best fit, it's time for the fun part: finding the perfect chairs. Though counter and bar stools vary in size, both are available in chic yet practical designs. Rooms To Go has an array of bar and counter height seating options to fit your home and lifestyle.

Counter Stools

Get creative with your interior design using counter stools. Establish an easygoing atmosphere with backless swivel stools at your kitchen island, or opt for a chic counter height collection featuring tufted chairs for a contemporary breakfast nook. For a one-of-a-kind transitional aesthetic, contrast modern decor with a traditional or rustic pub set.

Counter seats are functional as well as fashionable. Full back chairs are supportive solutions for mealtimes as well as activities like studying or crafting that require sitting for long periods. Low-back models tuck away neatly beneath tables if you need to save space. Adjustable pieces accommodate growing children, and seats with footrests deliver even more stability and comfort.

Bar Stools

Whether it's lunchtime or happy hour, bar stools are the perfect addition to any layout. Low-back chairs are great for pre-dinner cocktails or a quick snack before heading out for a night on the town. On the other hand, high-profile outdoor dining sets spruce up brunch on the patio. Rec rooms also benefit from deep, lounge-worthy bar stools when you need extra seating on game day.

Bar stools feature a range of comfortable and durable materials. Plush fabric upholstery provides luxurious softness, while lightweight mesh delivers breezy, breathable back support. In kitchens and dining rooms, consider low-maintenance leather, wood or metal chairs that stand up easily to daily use and wipe clean in a snap.

Live the High Life

When choosing seats for a kitchen island or pub table, the bar stool vs. counter stool question has a fairly easy answer. Taking measurements, arranging chairs properly and choosing supportive seats for your style can be time-consuming, but the payoff for your family and friends is well worth it. With a tape measure and an open mind, you'll soon discover the perfect seating for your counter, bar or table.

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