You're out to dinner with friends sharing everything on your new house to-do list, including buying stools for that fabulous kitchen island. Then you hear someone ask, how tall are counter height stools? Amazingly enough, no one knew the answer.
How Tall Are Counter Height Stools?
How tall are counter height stools? The quick answer is, they come in many heights. Undoubtedly, that answer doesn't help. To give you a meaningful response, we first need to know the height of your counter.
They measure stool heights from the floor to the top of the seat. They can be as short as 18 inches or as tall as 46 inches, but the most common sizes fall between 22 to 40 inches. And the most comfortable height of a stool will be 9 to 13 inches lower than the underside of wherever you're going to put it.
Digging deeper under the counter
Stool heights usually break down into four groups. And they are short, counter, bar, and extra-tall bar (sometimes called spectator or stadium) heights.
Short height stools measure between 16 and 23 inches and work best with tables or counters that are 28 to 33 inches in height. Most dining room tables are between 28 and 30 inches tall.
Counter height stools measure between 24 and 27 inches and pair best with tables or counters that are 35 to 39 inches in height. The standard counter height in most homes is 36 inches.
Bar height stools measure between 28 and 33 inches and work best with table or counter heights of 41 to 43 inches. Bar tops and pub tables fall into this category.
And finally, extra-tall stools measure 34 to 40 inches and pair well with tables or counters that are 44 to 47 inches high. These are those exceptionally high pub and cocktail tables that require a step stool for the vertically challenged.
All you need now is to get out the measuring tape and measure the height of your counter or table.
Counter Heights in Todays Homes
The established standard height to the top of a kitchen counter is 36 inches. The established standard is the most ergonomic and comfortable height for the average height person. And that height is considered to be 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall.
However, when custom building or remodeling, people who are either taller or shorter than average, might adjust the counter height to a more comfortable height for them.
Another reason to adjust counter heights is if you have a family member or close friend with disabilities. Typically for a person in a wheelchair, eat-at countertops would be around 34 inches high.
Often to separate the working and gathering or eating space of a counter, the counter will be stepped up. And it is typically stepped up about 6 inches, bringing the top of the bar to 42 inches.
If you are a person of few words, you could answer the question, "How tall are counter height seats?" by saying, 13 inches shorter than your counter. But that response might get you some quizzical looks and probably require a more verbose explanation.
So save yourself some words and answer, "How tall are counter height seats?" with "How tall is your counter?"
All it takes is one move with bar stools to appreciate the flexibility of adjustable height bar stools. I speak from personal experience. My first set of, very expensive, bar stools worked beautifully on their first counter that was 36 inches high.
Their next counter was one of those stepped-up counters at 42 inches. Because I spent a bloody fortune on those stools, we sucked it up and dealt with them. When the transfer to Atlanta brought about another 42 inch counter, it was time to donate and purchase.
If you're going to buy expensive, quality barstools (and you should), at least consider adjustable seat stools. And if your budget allows, look for stools that automatically return to the pre-programmed position.
Re-adjusting stools to fit under the counter after a party can be challenging and a tad frustrating. Yes, I'm speaking from experience again.
And if you are going to need bar or stadium height stools, make sure the footrests are sturdy enough for the vertically challenged to use them as a boost.
Another consideration is if you're getting upholstered stools, make sure the fabric is washable or at least consider washable slipcovers. Christmas punch and red wine that you can't remove can leave chairs very mismatched.
The Perfect Counter Stool
With thousands of different stools to select from, it can be daunting to find just the right stool. But three words sum up how to find your perfect counter stool, height, comfort, and fit. And the challenge is always finding the right balance between the three.
But of the three, height should carry the most weight in your decision process because the height of the stool affects the comfort and fit. If it is too tall, your guests will have no room for their legs, and if it's too short, your guests will feel like a Hobbit. Of course, adjustable solves that problem.
Since we've already discussed the height, you know to be looking for a stool that is 9 to 13 inches shorter than your counter. I always lean towards the 13 inches so that people have sufficient room to change positions and cross their legs.
Next, you want to consider comfort. While a backless stool may be the most common design, it offers no back or arm support and can get uncomfortable rather quickly. If you want your guests to be comfortable, consider a stool with arms and back support.
Another comfort consideration is the seat material. And if you have tall stools, make sure there is a footrest on the chair, no one likes dangling legs.
Swivel seats are another comfort option. Swivel chairs keep guests from having to move heavy chairs or bump into each other when getting on or off the chair.
Then you need to consider fit. You've got the height down, but you need to consider the width. Typically you want to allow 24 inches of width space per chair. Unless you have swivel chairs, then you want to allow 26 to 28 inches per chair.
Have a Seat, and I'll Get the Coffee
Well, we have more than answered the question, "How tall are counter height stools?" Counter height stools need to be about 13 inches shorter than the counter.
The counter dictates the height of the stool, not vice versa. So it doesn't matter how tall or short the counter is, the stool needs to be about 13 inches shorter.
In addition to answering "How tall are counter height stools?" we've given you a few other considerations. And with all this information, you should be able to find the perfect stools for your counter.
For longevity, get the best barstools your budget can afford, and if possible, get them with adjustable height. And remember, when figuring out how many stools will comfortably fit underneath your counter, figure 24 to 26 inches in width for each chair.
So now that you know the answer to "How tall are counter height stools?" you can shop with confidence and know your stools will fit nicely in their appointed space.
Let us know in the comments below what kind of stools you have in your home plus any advice you can give to someone shopping for stools.