How To Choose The Right Height Bar Stools


Bar Stools have been increasing in popularity and can be a stylish yet functional addition to your homes, particularly complementing your kitchen or dining spaces both indoors and outdoors.


While style is important and is often the first thing shoppers look for, at Bar Stool Home we believe it’s just as important to consider the functionality such as the Bar Stool seat height. This is important as you want to be seated comfortably, whether a casual catch up with family or friends, or sitting for longer periods of time entertaining or eating meals.

Getting your Bar Stool seat height wrong can mean your legs can be uncomfortably jammed under the bench and having to hunch over and put pressure on your back. Or if the Bar Stool seat is too low, the bench will seem too high and it can be difficult to do activities or eat meals.


There are a few important factors to consider before buying your new Bar Stools including; the different heights of the Bar Stool (specifically for leg clearance, bench height, or the seat’s height), whether the seat is adjustable, and other features such as how comfortable the seat is for you.


To help you choose the right height Bar Stools, we’ve detailed out some simple criteria to consider.


Criteria For Choosing The Right Height Bar Stools

There are a few things to consider when determining the right height Bar Stools including; your bench height, your leg/thigh clearance, and whether the Bar Stool has a fixed height or has an adjustable height feature.



1. Counter/Bench Height

The very first measurement we recommend you take is that of your bar or counter’s height. This will eventually serve as the reference point for all upcoming measurements, such as the height of the Bar Stool, thigh clearance and seat height.


It is important to be vigilant about this measurement because each counter or bench can be significantly different in measurement. Bar Stools can be used in many spaces including tables, kitchen counters/islands or taller bars.


2. Leg/Thigh Clearance

Leg or thigh clearance refers to the space that your lower half of the body needs to be able to sit comfortably on a bar stool. Typically, there needs to be a 20-30cm space between the seat and the bench (kitchen counter, for example) to allow adequate space for your legs/thighs.


3. Bar Stool Seat Height

The bar stool's seat is an essential component of both comfort and functionality, and therefore must be decided upon with careful consideration. While most common bar stool seats are fixed at a certain height, many come with an adjustable mechanism for the seat's height.


The most common seat height is approx. 60cm-68cm which best suits a kitchen counter/bench height of approx. 85-95cm. Where as taller bar stools with a seat height above 68cm, would suit taller bench heights such as a home bar.


So, depending on how comfortable or aesthetically appealing you find a bar stool, you can either go with a fixed height, if it complements the height of your bench, or with one that can be adjusted.


Measure First, Buy Second

Knowing the right measurements is an important part of choosing the right bar stool height for your space. Getting this right the first time will avoid disappointment or the hassle of having to return or exchange your new bar stools.


To help you choose the right height bar stools, we’ve prepared a short step-by-step guide.


STEP 1: Measure the Bench Height

Take a measuring tape and measure the distance between the floor and underside of your bench. Make sure that the tape is not slanting anywhere, as this will cause errors in your measurements.



STEP 2: Calculate the Minimum and Maximum Bar Stool Seat Height

This will determine the minimum and maximum seat height of a Bar Stool and help you narrow your search for the right Bar Stool height for your space. Remember, you need to allow for a 20-30cm gap between the seat height and the underside of the bench to allow for your leg/thigh clearance.


  • First, subtract 30cm from your bench height measurement to get your minimum seat height. 


  • Then, subtract 20cm from your bench height measurement to get your maximum seat height.





Great! You now know what your minimum and maximum seat height should be, but keep in mind these measurements are a guide and you can adjust to suit your own preference.


STEP 3: Decide If You Want An Adjustable Height Bar Stool

Many Bar Stools come with an adjustable height feature like a gas lift or manual screw seat that adjusts the height. The benefit of this is being able to tailor the height to each person who is seated.


This is simply a personal preference considering style and functionality. If choosing an adjustable height bar stool, it’s important that you understand the minimum and maximum seat height for the Bar Stool, and make sure this meets your minimum and maximum seat height measurements.


STEP 4: Determine How Many Bar Stools You Need

Another important factor to consider is how many Bar Stools you need for your space. The ideal balance can be struck by allowing about 15cm between each Bar Stool, which will accommodate the right amount of people and avoid the space being too cramped or sparse.


As a rule of thumb, the easiest way to figure this out and for comfortable seating is to add 15cm to your bar stool width. This will give you the ideal space per person required and help you determine how many Bar Stools you need.


To help, we've listed the below simple steps to follow:


STEP 1: Measure the length of your bench

e.g. 240cm


STEP 2: Add 15cm to the width of your Bar Stool

e.g. 45cm (Bar Stool width) + 15cm = 60cm (space per person)


STEP 3: Divide the length of your bench by your space per person

e.g. 240/60 = 4


Great! For this example this means you would need 4x Bar Stools! 


Now lets be honest, the measurements don't always line up this easy so use it as a guide. You might want a larger or smaller gap than the 15cm suggested so play with the numbers until you land on what works for you.


Well done! You now know how to choose the right height Bar Stools and also how many Bar Stools you need for your space. While style is important and is often the first thing shoppers look for, it’s just as important to consider the functionality including your seat height.


You can now start shopping knowing that you’ll be able to select the right Bar Stool that ensures you, your family and your guests can be seated comfortably. 


Check out our full range of Bar Stools and use the filter to narrow your search to the right height Bar Stools.


Need help? Visit our Contact Us page to get in touch and we'll be happy to help.


Happy Shopping!