How to Choose the Right Stool Height

By Samantha Todd | December 28, 2021

Have you ever visited someone’s home who has barstools where they should have counter stools? You attempt to sit on the stool at their counter and can barely fit your legs underneath because the stool they have is simply too high. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and just plain wrong.

There’s a difference between bar stools and counter stools, and there are different heights for stools in general. It’s crucial you pick the right stool height to make effective use of your bar and counter space. Otherwise, you’ll be giving your guests an equally awkward and embarrassing situation. 

A home bar area is a great spot for drinks, a quick bite, or just finishing up a few emails, but in order for the space to be comfortable, the stool height reigns supreme. 

The furniture gurus at Modloft are super picky when it comes to outfitting your space with furnishings that are not only beautiful but also functional. Our entire collection is built around the principle that if you surround yourself with beautiful and intentional things, you will build a beautiful and intentional life. For an item to be intentional, it has to be functional. 

As such, we definitely know the differences between chair stools, counter stools, and barstools. We’ll cover the differences between each and help you determine which ones to use in your home for each spot they’re needed.

Chairs, Counter Stools, and Barstools, Oh My!

You might remember awkward experiences from your years spent at the kids’ table. This table for tots was usually something akin to a fold-up card table with a few mismatched chairs, barstools, and ottomans around it. While the grown-ups ate at “the big table,” the kids enjoyed their meal here. 

The chairs never felt right compared to the table height. You were always either struggling to see above the edge of the table or towering over it. 

Unfortunately, you can experience the same kind of scenario as an adult if you don’t properly match your seating to your counter height. There are some general guidelines to follow to make sure the seating in your house is ergonomic and aesthetically on point. 


Chairs are best for dining room tables, card tables, game tables, and desks. The typical height of a chair is 17”-20” from floor to seat. They are best paired with a table that is 28”-31” high. The average dining room table measures 30” in height. 

Most diners find that the space needed to keep their legs comfortable that allows them to cross and uncross their legs freely is 10”-12” from the base of the chair’s seat to the bottom of the tabletop. 

If your dining chairs have armrests, you will need to consider that in order for them to fit neatly under your dining room table, the armrests will have to be lower than the edge of the table. Because many dining tables don’t automatically come with matching chairs, it’s important to take these measurements so you can get the perfect fit. 

Counter Stools

Counter stools are probably the most overlooked seating option. Many homeowners make the mistake of attempting to pair a barstool with a sandwich bar, which is significantly lower than a traditional bar. This results in a counter that is uncomfortably low for the seated person and hardly any legroom for even the smallest seated user. 

Counter stools are usually 24”-26” from floor to seat. This is the perfect size for positioning a seated person comfortably at a kitchen countertop, which is usually 36”-39” high. 

Pro tip: Make sure you are measuring a counter stool accurately or that you pay specific attention to the manufacturer measurements. Some counter stools have a seat back, which can lengthen the height measurement. The correct way to measure to ensure it fits with your countertop is to measure from seat to floor. 

Bar Stools

Often confused with counter stools, bar stools are higher and the more popular out of the two types of stools. Bar stools usually measure 28”-30” from seat to floor and are best paired with a bar height of 40”-42”. 

Bar stools are only good choices for bar height counters. If you attempt to pair a bar stool with a kitchen counter, you’ll end up with an extremely tight squeeze for the seated person’s legs. 

Remember, in order for your seated guests (and your family members) to sit comfortably, there needs to be at least 10” from the top of the seating surface to the bottom of the counter or table surface. 

How to Pick the Right Stool Height

It goes without saying you’re going to be doing some measuring, but in general, unless you’re working with a really odd piece of furniture that doesn’t conform to standard height measurements, you’ll use chairs for tables, counter stools for kitchen counters, and bar stools for traditional bar height counters. 

If you’ve got a particularly difficult piece, the best rule of thumb is to measure the bottom of the surface (table or counter) and look for a stool that will fit within that 10”-12” space differential. 

Keep in mind that any arms on the sides of your chairs and stools must be able to fit underneath the surface of the table or counter. Otherwise, you’ll end up with chairs and stools that sit too far back and are equally as uncomfortable. 

Factoring in Style and Comfort

Of course, you need the correct stool height for your counter or table, but after you’ve determined the right height, you can hone in on style and design to ensure your stool is comfortable and make it your own. 

Modloft offers a variety of different stools and chairs, so no matter what your look or style, you can get a great chair that compliments your entire decorative theme. 


At Modloft, we are firm believers that your furniture should be as functional and comfortable as it is stylish. You should never have to sacrifice one for the other. We offer a selection of both hard seat and upholstered seat chairs, bar stools, and counter stools. 

Both our upholstered and hard surface seating options are ergonomically designed to be extremely comfortable, so you can take your pick depending on the level of texture you need in your space. If you’re an extreme minimalist, less upholstery is best. 

Additionally, if you’ve got messy eaters, you may find that non-upholstered chairs are easier to clean. 


You can never go wrong when you shop with Modloft. Our designs are simple, clean, and elegant and made to fit perfectly with your home’s modern, contemporary look. Whether you prefer complete minimalism or a more artistic rendering that can seat your guests and become a conversation piece, we can help.

The Takeaway

The perfect height stool is essential in keeping yourself and your guests comfortable at your counter, bar, or table. You can easily make sure your seating provides comfort if you measure your counter or table height before you buy your chairs and stools. 

You should never have to sacrifice style for comfort. At Modloft, our stools are both stylish, functional, and comfortable, so you’ll always be able to get the beautiful look you want with the comfort and functionality you need. 



What To Know Before Buying Bar Stools | Forbes

How to Choose the Right Bar Stool Height, Style, and Design | Den Garden

How to Choose Chairs for Your Dining Table | The Spruce