bar stools in dining room area

Bar Stools Buying Guide

Bar Stool Height Guide

If you've come looking for the skinny on bar stool heights, you've come to the right place. In this buying guide, you'll not only learn about the heights, but also the types and styles of bar stools. We’ll also cover placement and ways to really make bar stools blend in or stand out in your décor setup.

Getting Your Bar Stool Height Right

The first step to buying any stool is knowing what you're working with. Take stock of the area and note your layout because there's a difference between counter height vs. bar height stools.

Counter height stools range between 23-28 inches and bar stool height is between 29-32 inches. Which works best for you depends on the height of your countertop or table since bar stool dimensions are closely related.

23 to 28 inch bar stool paired with a 35 - 39 in countertop and 29-32 inch bar stool paired with 41 - 43 inch countertop

Bar Stool Sizes to Fit Your Space

There's more to ensuring your stool makes sense in your space than height. You'll also want to consider bar stool sizes. Ideally, it's good to have enough distance between each stool to accommodate counter height stool dimensions and also bar height stool dimensions.

That gap between stools is dependent on stool height though. For example, you'll want a least 6 inches between table height stools and about 8-10 inches between counter height stools. Also, with stools that have arms, swivel or extra upholstery, that adds to the optimal distance for a comfortable range of motion.

Your bar stool spacing is really important because it also determines how many bar stools you will need. Too much or too little space makes for awkward scenarios for your guests, so do them a solid and break out the tape measure.

bar stools spaced 6 inches apart and counter stools spaced 8 - 10 inches apart

Measures of Success

Now it's time to learn how to measure for bar stools. Generally, you'll want to measure the height of a bar stool from the floor to the highest seating point. Once you have this figure, you'll need to measure from the floor to your countertop. With both of these measurements, you can determine, based on the prior chart, what stool works best for your space.

3 bar stools with rulers measuring top to bottom

Stylish Stools

While bar stool heights don't have too much variation, how they appear is a different story. There are 4 typical styles that can be mixed and match depending on what you're looking for:

Backless Bar Stools

Backless bar stools are easier to tuck in and take out for quick entry or exit

Low Back Bar Stools

Low back bar stools have a bit of support with short or mid-height variants

Full Back Bar Stools

Full back bar stools feel closely to dining chairs and offer the most support

Bar Stools with Arms

Bar stools with arms provide more comfort and feel natural to sit in

Each of these styles can also come as swivel counter stools or swivel bar stools with the latter two coming as bar stools with arms. Ultimately, you'll be able to find the stool you have in mind with dozens of combinations.

Materials That Match

Deciding between metal bar stools and wood bar stools boils down to personal preference. Metal bar stools are great for durability, cleaning and a more industrious look.

Wood

Wood bar stools speak to a downhome feel and natural aesthetic. Rustic bar stools and traditional bar stools are typically made of wood.

Steel

For stools that see a lot of use and need to last, you can invest in commercial stools that are created with heavy-duty steel that's fully welded. These stools are also extra wide, upholstered in stain resistant fabric, and include a larger weight capacity up to 500 pounds.

Fabric

Bar and counter stools come in a wide variety of upholstery and fabric choices as well. From polyester to microfiber and heavy-duty leather, the choice is really up to you and your situation.

Coordinating your bar stools to work with your space relies on what your space looks like. For open concepts, you'll want to have stools that can be statements within the room. Striking patterns and brighter colors work well with neutral spaces without a lot of color. Muted patterns and neutral color stools blend well with busy rooms by contrast.

If you’ve followed our advice so far, you’re definitely ready to start your search for bar stools that complement your space. To make it easy, you can shop for bar stools by dimensions, brand, material, price, and more.

For more furniture buying tips from the Art Van team, check out our comprehensive buying guides and let us help walk you through your next furniture or mattress purchase.