For a counter stool or bar stool to be functional and comfortable there are two measurements that must be correct.
- Table or counter surface height to seat height measurement. (You get this right by picking the right stool.)
- Leg gap between the surface apron and the seat height. (You get this right by picking the right apron depth.)
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:
a) You won’t fit your arm chairs or arm stools under the table or counter, or
b) Your legs won’t fit under the table or counter.
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.