The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Bar Stools

How to decide how many bar stools you need for your space

So, you know you need bar stools, you just need to figure out how many will fit in your space. This is a common question we get time and time again when working with customers to choose the perfect bar stools for their space. It can be tricky and confusing without having anything to go off in your home or commercial space.

There are several factors we’ll explore together to help you decide how many bar stools you need for your space. We break down sizing and design factors that make it easy for you!

At a quick glance, here are some pointers we’ll cover:

  • What are typical bar stool widths?
  • How do I know how many bar stools based on different design styles?
  • How many bar stools do I need for the purpose my space serves?
  • What is typical spacing between bar stools to have a comfortable setup?
  • How does my counter size play a role in how many bar stools I need?

In short, your unique needs will differ from everyone else’s so there are several factors to consider when choosing how many bar stools you need.

Start by asking yourself some questions that will help you decide. Check out your space, how big is it? How many people regularly use the space and how often will it get used? Is it a high traffic area? Are there walls directly surrounding it? Will you need it for entertaining? Or just those that live in your home? Is it for commercial use? If so, how large is the area that will need the bar stools? What is its purpose?

These are just some of the questions to consider when deciding how many bar stools you need. Consider the following information to best determine how many bar stools are the perfect number for your space.

Decide the function of your space to determine how many bar stools you need

First things first – decide what purpose your space serves that needs bar stools. Is it a dining space that will be used frequently? Is it a bar area that will be used for entertainment? Will children use it often? Is it a commercial space?

No matter the function, the bar stools should fit well into the space and leave enough room to feel comfortable and not crowded. Before determining the height and width of your bar stools, first think about how the counter and spaces near it will get used.

If the space you want to add bar stools is closer to other areas, having smaller and minimal bar stools is the best option. You don’t want to have the space look crowded and congested; it will make it look smaller.

If the counter area is off and away from other traffic areas, having more bar stools is better, as long as they fit within the counter space.

If it’s a kitchen area, make sure to consider the layout of the kitchen. If the counter is near the pantry or refrigerator, you won’t want bar stools right there as they will crowd heavy traffic areas.

Check the size of stools and your counter height

Bar stools are typically between 16 – 21 inches wide. Before purchasing, measure the entire counter from end to end. From there, ensure you have at least a 24-inch seating space for each one. This enables people to get on and off the bar stools without bumping others or feeling cramped. You want to make sure those sitting there have arm room to move around while eating, etc. If you’d like extra space, allow 30 inches of seating space for each bar stool.

Once you’ve measured the counter from end to end, divide the measurement by 24 (or 30 if you’d like extra space for each bar stool). The answer will indicate how many bar stools you need.

For example, if the width of your counter is 96 inches, the number of bar stools you need is 4 if you’d like 24 inches of seating space per stool. If you’d like 30 inches of seating space, you’ll need 3 bar stools.

Leave some space between each bar stool

To expand upon sizing, there should be some amount of space between each bar stool. The idea is not to cram as many bar stools as possible in one area. This will feel crowded, and you’ll have a hard time moving around in the space.

Adjustable bar stools with no arms should have six inches between each other.

Bar stools with arms, especially those that swivel, should have eight to 10 inches between them.

Ensuring you have the right height and width will allow for perfect placement and functionality, while adding a nice touch of style to your space.

Make sure you have leg room

While ensuring you have the right height and width in your bar stools, it’s also important to have enough space for leg room.

Room under the counter is just as important as room between each bar stool.

The typical height of a bar counter usually ranges between 32 to 38 inches high.

Your bar stools should range between eight to 11 inches to make sure you can equip both children and adults. This range will cover anyone and everyone sitting on the bar stool to sit comfortably.

Bar stools that have arms take up more space 

It goes without saying that bar stools with arms naturally take up more space. They typically take up two to three more inches than those bar stools without arms.These are great for open areas that don’t have walls closing the space in. 

Once you've figured out the measurements of the counter height and width, and the stools it can accommodate, it is important to know the distance that needs to be between a seat and the wall.

The recommended space to sit comfortably on a bar stool at a counter is 18 inches. This means the distance from the edge of the counter to the back of the stool should be 18 inches.

Ensure there is room between the seat base and the countertop

If you’re looking for the ultimate comfort level for bar stools, two feet of space is plenty. If you have a bar island and want to occupy more seating, you will need to pay attention to the stools you pick.

Ensure you have enough space between the seat base and the countertop without having too many bar stools to cram the space up or prevent traffic in walkways. You need to consider the number of bar stools you choose, the height of the bar, and the kind of seats that will fit your space’s design.

Match your space’s design

Having enough room to comfortably sit in bar stools is important but matching your space’s design is equally important. This helps plan for the right bar stools for your space.

Bar stools come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. They also come in several different materials that can take up more space depending on the material itself. Knowing their measurements based on style and design will ensure the perfect fit. Never assume a bar or counter stool that’s labeled by name will fit as there are often several variations of each. At Bar Stool Gems we make a point to include detailed measurements for each product so that you can get it right first time! 

Summary - How to decide how many bar stools you need for your space

While choosing bar stools can be fun to put the perfect finishing touches to your space, it’s important not only get the height measurements right, but also the width for the type of style each bar stool is. This will ensure they will not only look great, but also feel comfortable as well!

Then you can match the bar stools to your design style. If you’d like to learn even more about this topic, we also talk about Everything you need to know for choosing bar stools in our post here

Finally, once you know the number and type of stools you want, browse our unique collections of expert craftmanship and quality counter and bar stools here. They're sure to spruce up your space today. We include all dimensions in every product featured to provide you with as much information as possible.

Make sure you follow us on Instagram and Facebook as well and don’t hesitate to reach out with any of your counter or bar stool questions!