How to choose the right stool height. (Important!)

At BY DESIGN we’re all about style. However, before you worry about style in stools – you must know how to choose the right stool height! For a counter stool or bar stool to be functional and comfortable there are two measurements that must be correct.

  1. Table or counter surface height to seat height measurement. (You get this right by picking the right stool.)
  2. Leg gap between the surface apron and the seat height. (You get this right by picking the right apron depth.)
how to choose the right stool height

Illustration of measurements to take in choosing the right stool height

The standard seat to surface distance is 10″ – 12″. All industry standard chairs, stools, tables and counters are constructed to hit this range. Otherwise most people don’t find it comfortable to sit, to eat or to drink. No one wants to sit at a table with the top just under their chin.

Just as important is the distance between the table apron (or lower edge of the top if there is no apron) and the seat height. If you don’t allow enough room:

  • You won’t fit your arm chairs or arm stools under the table or counter, or
  • Your legs won’t fit under the table or counter.

The practical result of the apron rule is that a table or bar apron can never be more than a few inches deep. Sorry designers. You may love the look of an 8 inch deep apron – but it will never work.

Every other dimension may be important for aesthetic or personal reasons. However, if you get the seat height vs table surface height or apron height wrong… your stools will fail at their most important job.

How to choose the right stool height? Simple. Keep the two key measurements in mind. In these days, if you don’t… it will be a very expensive mistake.