How To Choose The Right Bar Stool - Inside Interior Crowd

How To Choose The Right Bar Stool

Claire Andreas for InteriorCrowd
by Claire Andreas for InteriorCrowd
March 10, 2016

Finding the right stools for your kitchen is challenging because there are so many factors to consider, including height, style and comfort. Below is a quick guide from How To Decorate to helping you find the best stools for your kitchen island, breakfast bar or even your in-home pub.

Chair height stool for pulling up to a secretary desk


Chair (above), bar or counter height? To determine which stool you need, measure the height of your table or counter. Keep in mind you need 9″-13″ between the seat and the counter for seating comfort.

  • Chair stool heights are generally 18″ from floor to seat. Pair with a table or counter 28″-30″ in height.
  • Counter stool heights are generally 24″-26″ inches from floor to seat. Pair with a table or counter 36″-39″ in height.
  • Bar stool heights are generally 28″-30″ from floor to seat. Pair with a table or counter 40″-42″ in height.

How many stools can fit in your kitchen


It’s important to provide enough space between stools for people to eat, drink and socialize without bumping elbows. Here are the rules of thumb we use:

  • If the widest part of your stool is 16″-18″ allow 21″-22″ of space per stool.
  • If the widest part of your stool is 19″- 22″ allow 24″ to 25″ of space per stool.
  • If you choose stools that swivel and/or have arms, you’ll need to add a bit more space between stools.



Do you want to make a design statement or do you want more discreet seating? Do you want to match or layer materials in your kitchen? And do the stools you really want work in the space you have? Your answers can help you determine the style of stool that will ultimately work in your kitchen.

If your stools are in a busy or narrow corridor or you don’t want a look that overwhelms your island, choose backless seating that can easily tuck away. But if you love to entertain and want something more lounge-worthy, choose a broad-backed stool with deep seating.

Allen stools in your kitchen

If you’ll use your stools where food is served, consider a low-maintenance material, such as leather, wood or metal. If you choose upholstered stools, choose a microfiber that easily wipes clean. Or, choose cushions that you can swap out.

Right stools for your kitchen

Whether the style of your kitchen is traditional, rustic or contemporary, you can find a stool that complements your look. There’s no need to be too matchy-matchy. If, for example, your dining room is adjacent to your kitchen, it’s not necessary to match the style of seating. And if you already have a lot of wood, try mixing it up with metal stools. Keep an open mind, and you’ll find just the right look for your kitchen.

Still having trouble? Here’s our handy infographic:

How to choose the right stool size

Browse our vast selection of bar stools and counter stools for even more ideas, or follow our Kitchens Pinterest Board for inspiration.

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About author
Claire Andreas for InteriorCrowd
Claire Andreas for InteriorCrowd

Claire is the Content Manager at InteriorCrowd. While she was studying Film and Media at Queen's University, she worked as the Photo and Media intern at Dwell Magazine and fell in love with San Francisco's design community. After graduating, she returned home to the Bay Area and joined the team at InteriorCrowd.

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