Variation of Stools

Top 7 variations to help you choose your perfect stool

Difference between bar stool and counter stool

At its core, a bar stool and a counter stool are different because of their height. A bar stool is taller (in the 28”-32” inch range) because it needs to put the user at eye level with a standing person behind the bar. In contrast, a counter stool is shorter because (in the 24”-27” inch range) because it’s usually paired with kitchen islands and breakfast bars. There’s generally a 12” height difference between the two. Let’s take a closer look at their differences below:

Bar Stool vs. Counter Stool - A Quick Overview

Bar Stool VS Counter Stool

Bar Stool

Counter Stool

Designed for tall bars 

Designed for kitchen islands & counters

28”-32” in height

24”-27” in height

Perfect for tables height of 40”-42”

For tables that are 36”-37”


A closer look at bar stools

We already know that a bar stool is taller and narrower because it’s typically paired with bar counters in pubs, lounges, and actual bars, where the person opposite the counter is standing, and the seated person needs to be eye-level with them.
While the overall height of these stools ranges between 40”-42”, the seat is always at a reachable height of 28”-32” inches from the floor. Most of the time, restaurant bar stools also come with footrests in order to provide the best seating experience.


A closer look at counter stools

Counter stools are shorter in height as a general rule and are typically paired with kitchen islands, restaurant tables with adjustable heights, and breakfast bars. They cannot be paired with typical tables as they are taller than them. The seat height of these stools averages between 24”-27” inches, and the overall height depends upon whether the counter stool has a backrest or not.

How to choose the perfect bar or counter stool?

The main thing to remember while choosing either a bar or counter stool is to measure the actual height of your table from floor till the base of the countertop. You’ll select your stool height accordingly.
*Pro tip: Ideally, there must be a gap of 8”-13” between the stool top and the countertop base.

How many counter or bar stools do I actually need?

The number of counter or bar stools that you’ll need actually depends on the width of the counter that you’re pairing it with. For reference, remember that each stool should have a total of at least 30” to 28” inches of width to itself. This includes elbow room and space for general movement of the body.
Typically, the space that you leave between each stool depends on the stool’s actual width. For example, you’ll leave 6”-8” between stools that are 16”-18” wide. 8”-10” of space is recommended between stools that are wider than 18”.

Things to consider when choosing your bar or counter stool

Sample interior design

If you’re thinking about buying a counter stool or a bar stool for your space, then here are all the things that you need to consider:


Note that with furniture, the function should always play a bigger role than the aesthetics. That said, you need to determine what exactly will you be using the bar/counter stool for? Entertainment? Regular home-based use? This will lead you to determine the extent of comfort that these stools should emulate in their form. 
Another functional aspect that you need to search for in your stools is how easy they are to clean. Size is another factor to consider; whether you want your stools to be flexible enough to take into another room or might help you pick between a sleek and bulky design. 

Aesthetics and Style

Counter and bar stools come in many different styles and aesthetics. Appraise the overall interior design theme of your space and determine what kind of stool that you want. 
Sleek modern ones are excellent for spaces that are glossy and glamorous with a cosmopolitan appeal. Then there are the understated scandi-modern stools that look great in Scandinavian and boho-chic style spaces. Transitional bar stools are excellent for contemporary interiors and funky ones are excellent for retro and vintage spaces.

That said, you can choose your pick from the following bar and counter stool styles:

Back or Backless

Backless stools are certainly not the most comfortable ones that you’ll encounter. They’re best for crowded public spaces where you don’t want the user occupying the same stool for too long. However, if you’re thinking about picking them for your homes, then it’s best to review all of your choices before making the final decision.

With Arm or No Arm

It’s imperative to note that most stools are armless by design, as this is what differentiates them from typical old chairs. However, there are a few designs that have built-in arms, but they’re a seamless part of the design and don’t feel alien at all. 


If you’re searching for a flexible option for your counter or bar stool, then you’ll appreciate a swivel design. Not only is it excellent for keeping up with conversations, but the rotation also ensures easy movement. Do note that it’s best to keep more than standard distance between swivel stools because they require extra legroom.

Adjustable height

For those who want a hybrid bar and counter stool, you can go for adjustable options. They can be paired with low-height counters just fine, but you can also match them with tall bars and adjust the height accordingly when needed.

Material and color scheme

Materials are also a part of the style selection. Many people prefer upholstered bar or counter stools because this gives them a chair-like illusion. The ones with a stainless-steel base and colorful seat are more of a timeless classic and preferable for public spaces like bars and clubs. If you’re in for a minimalist yet breezy effect, then the stools with simple wooden structures are a great choice. They’re mostly used in homes.
Upholstery options are also something that you should consider carefully. Whether it’s leather, suede, or some other fabric that you like, it must inherently complement your overall ambiance and design style of the space. Try to choose it in contrasting colors, so that the stools work in a striking juxtaposition with the rest of the space.

So, we hope this piece helps you understand the basic differences between a bar stool and a counter stool while deciding which one would be the best for your own space.

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