You may have recently read our guide to table heights and wondered to yourself, “But what chair size do I use with these tables?” Put simply, counter height stools go with counter height tables and bar height stools go with bar height tables. But, of course, decision making is never that easy, is it? Often times, chairs and stools aren’t listed as being counter or bar height, and you’re left to guess for yourself. If you’re on the hunt for new chairs or stools for your breakroom, basement, kitchen or café, let this be your guide.

In short, the difference between standard, counter height and bar height stools is the height of the stool, of course. Below, we've highlighted the height ranges for each from shortest to tallest:

Standard Chair Height is 16”– 23”H at the seat
Counter Height is 24”– 27”H at the seat
Bar Height is 28”– 33”H at the seat

First things first, we recommend that you first pull out your tape measure and start measuring the height of your bar, table, or countertop. This will ensure that you have the accurate height of your table or countertop to know what barstool type will fit best.

Once you know the height of your table or countertop, choose a coordinating stool that will put you at the perfect height. There's a stool style that's suited for every table.

Standard Height Chairs 

Luna Collection
Standard Height Cafe Chair

How tall are standard height cafe stools?

  • Typically measure 16" to 23" high at the seat
  • Great for traditional break or lunchroom tables
  • Easy to stack and transport
  • Available in upholstered and unuphostered options

Standard size chairs, also known as table height chairs, are the easiest to select since they are made for use at a standard height table which measures 28”- 30” high. Café chairs typically measure in at around 16”- 23” high at the seat and can be found in most any style. The word standard can get thrown out a lot and this is an important distinction, so make sure you know which stool you're going to need by measuring your table first. You don't want to guesstimate on this one!

Counter Height Stools

Urban Collection
Counter Height Cafe Stool

How tall are counter height stools? 

  • Typically measure 24" to 27" high at the seat
  • Designed for counter-height tables between 35" to 39" high
  • Great for built-in overhangs on counters
  • Shorter than stools and tables seen in restaurants or bars

Counter height stools are taller than chairs and typically measure 24”- 27” high at the seat. These stools are designed to be used at counter height tables, which measure between 35”- 39” high. This type of stool is shorter than what you might see at a restaurant or bar, but counter height stools are often ideal options for use in residential settings or in office breakrooms. A mixture of standard and counter-height tables gives employees options for their seating and can be a visually appealing break from the traditional breakroom.

Bar Height Stools

barista bar height stool
Barista Collection
Bar Height Cafe Stool

How tall are bar height stools?

  • Typically measure 28" to 33" high at the seat
  • Designed for counters and tables 41" - 43" high
  • Often a bit too tall for counter-height tables or counters
  • Commonly seen in bars and restaurants 

Bar-height stools are the tallest on this list, usually measuring between 28”- 33” high at the seat. This type of seating is usually what you’ll find in restaurants and bars and is best used with bar-height tables that measure 41”- 43” high.

To learn more about what type of breakroom seating would be best suited for your space, reach out to our furniture experts at (800) 558-1010. Shop some of our best-selling standard, counter height, and bar height stools below or explore NBF's various Signature Series collections to find a fit for your space.


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