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If you thought the only difference between counter stools and bar stools was the name, then you might be surprised to discover there's actually more to it than that - and it's important to know the difference. If you don't you could wind up buying a piece of furniture that looks out of proportion with your space and, even worse, means you're uncomfortably bruising your knees on the underside of your kitchen counter.

Fortunately, as long as you're armed with a tape measure and the right information - which we've provided for you here - you'll be able to choose the best stools for your home.

Counter Stools

Seating at a kitchen counter is becoming increasingly common in modern homes and apartments, with the "breakfast bar" being used as a place for more casual meals, or else offering the perfect perch to enjoy the Sunday newspaper and a cup of coffee.

Kitchen counters and counter-height tables typically range from 87cm to 91 centimetres from the ground. To find the perfect stool for your counter, you'll be looking for one with a seat height roughly measuring between 60-66 centimetres. 

These stools put people at the perfect height for dining, doing homework or sharing a cup of coffee with friends.

Bar Stools

If you're working with a table top or counter that measures between 101 to 106 centimetres in height from the floor, this is typically classified as "bar height". For this kind of arrangement, you'll be wanting stools with a seat height of 72 to 76 centimetres. This will allow you to comfortably use the bar or table surface for eating and drinking while providing plenty of room underneath for your knees and legs.

There are some bars known as "tall bars", which measure between 110 and 119 centimetres in height, which will require a stool between 84 and 91 centimetres, so as to make sure no one is having to stretch their arm to reach their wine glass.

Odd Sizes

While counters and bars are usually built to a standard height, not every one adheres to these particular dimensions. If you've measured your own and it sits outside the usual height, choose a stool that is around 25 centimetres lower than your counter. This will give your family and guests plenty of room for their legs, even when sitting cross legged.

Elbow Room

The space between your stools is another point you'll need to consider, because no one wants someone else's elbow sticking into their bowl of cereal!

To avoid crowding at your counter, space your stools 15 centimetres apart if the seats are 40 to 45 centimetres wide. If the seats are wider, or if the stools have arms or swivel, increase the space between them to 20 to 22 centimetres. This will give everyone plenty of room to move on and off the stools comfortably.

 image courtesy of Alisa and Lysandra | The Design Duo Series

Stool Styling

Once you've measured up it's time for the fun part: choosing a style that best suits your personal taste and interior aesthetic. Thankfully, bar and counter stools come in a huge range of styles. If you're using these stools more regularly for dining, then consider choosing a style with a backrest and even arms. This will give you a more comfortable place to perch during meals. 

If you'd like to keep the look more sleek and minimal, opt for materials such as timber, perhaps mixed with elements of metal or brass. And if you'd like to create a softer, warmer feel to your kitchen, then choosing a stool with upholstered seating will help you achieve this.


And it doesn't stop at stools when it comes to differentiating furniture. Do you know the fundamental difference between an Armchair and an Accent Chair? How about a Sofa and a Couch? No? Read on to unveil the mystery...

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