What is the Ideal Height of a Kitchen Bar Stool?

What is the Ideal Height of a Kitchen Bar Stool?

A bar stool will make your kitchen look more stylish, but you should never forget about comfort. From this article, you will get to know about the optimal height of this piece of furniture plus a few extra tips.

A bar stool will become a stylish addition to your kitchen interior. You will feel cozy sitting on it in the morning, drinking your first cup of coffee. Your guests will appreciate this furniture item when they come to your house for a cocktail. The trickiest part is to choose the right height of the stool — in this article, you will find smart tips on how to do it.

Why Is It Important to Find a Proper Height for a Bar Stool

There are at least three reasons why this piece of furniture should not be either too high or too low.

  • If a person does not feel entirely comfortable on a stool, they will hardly spend a lot of time in the kitchen. This is valid for both family members and guests.
  • When a person struggles to find the right position, they would be moving constantly. This would distract them from an exciting conversation and a delicious meal.
  • Improper body positions and permanent lack of comfort might lead to back pains in the long run.

When choosing an ideal height for a bar stool, you should take into account two factors: the sizes of other pieces of furniture and body measurements of people who live in the house.

How High Should a Bar Stool Be

The answer to this question depends on the height of that table, bar or counter that you are planning to put your stool by. Measure the distance from the surface of that table to the floor. As a general rule, the stool seat should be approximately 10-12 inches lower. For more detailed measurements, please check the table below.

Type of furnitureThe height of its surfaceThe ideal height of a bar stool
Kitchen counter35-36 inches24-26 inches
Bar40-42 inches28-30 inches
High bar45-48 inches32-34 inches

If the stool has arms, make sure they are low enough to fit under the counter overhang.

How Large Should the Leg Space Be

For most people, it is enough to have a clearance of 8-11 inches. That should be sufficient to be able to move freely and cross your legs. The minimum leg space is 7 inches and the maximum is 12.5 inches. If the distance between the stool and the bar or counter is over 13 inches, that would look awkward and the premise would lose its charm.

How Many Stools Should You Place at the Bar

This type of seating was invented for socializing. When sitting between two people, you should be able to turn freely from one person to another, without moving the furniture. It hardly makes sense to buy just one bar stool — unless you are planning to use it alone when you cook. When a guest enters the room, they expect to see at least 3 stools in a row. Such a composition will look balanced and elegant.

If your stools are 16-18 inches wide, the ideal distance between them should be 21-22 inches. If each stool is 19-22 inches wide, the distance should be 24-25 inches. If your stools have arms or swivels, add a couple of extra inches to space between them.

The main rule is: the room should not look and feel overcrowded. If your kitchen is not too spacious, you should not cram it with stools. Put two or three of them by the counter and take the others to your storage room — when guests arrive, you will take them out and put them wherever you find necessary. If you organize a full-course dinner, the distance between the stools should be around 25 inches. But if you invite people just for a drink and a nice chat, 22 inches would be enough.

What about Swivel Stools and Stools with Adjustable Height

At first sight, a gas lift kitchen stool might seem a perfect choice. You will not need to put too much effort into adjusting its height. Most of such stools have swivels, which makes them even more universal.

The primary shortcoming of such pieces of furniture is that they look a bit cheap. They might make your kitchen resemble a casual eatery. Stationary stools look more formal and more elegant.

The second drawback is relevant only for those families who have kids. Your son or daughter will be much more likely to fall off a swivel stool than off a stationary one.

Swivel stools with arms occupy too much space. When you try to turn them, they would be bumping into walls and other furniture items.

modern bar stool with a minimalistic design often turns out to be the most versatile solution. The less material it has, the sleeker and cleaner it looks. You can easily store it under the counter if it has no back or arms. Such type of seating will easily fit an interior of any style.

Extra Tips for Choosing Bar Stools

The above-mentioned stools without back and arms are not too comfortable for long sitting. So if your kitchen doubles as your home office, you should opt for a fullback stool — or at least one that has a lip up to the mid-back.

Stools with fabric upholstery look very welcoming but they might be not too practical for the kitchen. If you place these furniture items close to the sink or stove, they should require little maintenance. Consider stools made of smooth metal, wood or other solid materials. When hosting a party, you will be able to put cushions on them. If you insist on upholstery, opt for a stain-repellent fabric that is easy to clean.

Final Thoughts

Stylish bar stools will add character to your kitchen. The ones with adjustable height are pragmatic — but stationary alternatives usually look nicer. When choosing the optimal height of your stool, measure the sizes of your kitchen furniture and take into account the body measurements of your family members. Also, make sure you leave sufficient leg clearance and there is enough space between two stools.


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