A man walks into a bar and says, “have you got a sizing guide for those barstools?”. Alright, we admit, it’s not the punchiest opening to a joke, but believe it or not, it is an important consideration for bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants.
So, what size should your bar stools be? Well, it depends on how high your bar is. It can also depend on how tall the person you’re trying to seat is. While it may come as easier to ridicule or lampoon such a question and, indeed, the person who asked it - having at least a rough set of rules when approaching the procurement, or even manufacturing process, is essential to how your future customers see, experience and integrate with your space.
And it is their first impressions when seeing and experiencing that will determine their level of online interaction and word of mouth exposure, they will give you going forward. Two very powerful, and free, forms of marketing that can put your establishment head and shoulders above the competition. Read on for our expert sizing guide for bar stools.
How to Measure a Bar Stool
You understand that starting at the top, not the literal top, would naturally be the tabletop. But the top of the agenda. And, that, is how to go about measuring a bar stool. What measurements should you take, why are they relevant and how to use them to suit your needs.
So, the first measurement is the height of to seat. The really important one. This is the distance from the floor to the top of the seat. It determines the body position relative to the height of the countertop, table or breakfast bar because if it’s too low you’ll find your meals to be around chest height and set too high will lead to slouching when eating.
Both are uncomfortable and both can lead to long term issues with posture. Next on the agenda would be the overall height or gross height. This is only relevant if your bar stool has a backrest and the measurement pertains to the total distance from the floor to the barstool's top.
Next up is the height to the top of armrests, the measurement from the floor to the external top of the armrests; this measurement limits how tall a bar stool can be and still be safely tucked under the countertop if necessary. The internal armrest height can also be measured which is the distance from the seat to the internal top of the armrests. Finally, the diameter, or depth, of the stool matters.
Traditional bar stools that sit in front of a bar rather than snugly under it when not in use, usually require a 30cm gap between bar and seat to allow space for legs, so if overall space is an issue do not opt for a particularly deep stool or one with a particularly large backrest. Width only determines how many stools can fit in the same space and is perhaps the least important measurement.
Now we’ve got the boring bit out of the way how do all these measurements stack up and why are they relevant?
What Height of Stool Do You Require?
It doesn’t matter if you have the biggest bar stool in the world. It’s irrelevant if it's upholstered in traditional green bar stool velvet, faux leather, or leather. It can be clad in cream, grey, black, brown or white fabrics of the most expensive variety.
And finally, the frame could be handcrafted out of aged wood, cast iron or reclaimed scrap metal - its entire character, class and place in your space are squandered if it is not fit for purpose and doesn’t enhance the user experience.
No colour options can save this, no craftsmanship can reverse the irrefutable fact that you are going to have to measure your bar, table or countertop and compare and contrast this with your stool measurements to see what you need. Then you can crack on with the interior design of the colours, upholstery, frames and padding.
First, establish if the stools are to go in front of a bar or underneath a table or countertop. If under a countertop, then firstly measure from underneath the table or countertop to the floor.
The gap for legroom, vertically from the top of the leg to under the countertop should be around 25cm – 30cm to permit comfortable movement and leg crossing without the inevitable claustrophobia associated with bar stools that are too tall.
Therefore, select the size of the gap that best suits you and subtract it from the measurement from under counter to the floor. This leaves the height required from floor to seat height. It is important to note, that the overall height is functionally irrelevant here as long as it doesn’t impose on the room. Just make sure the armrests (if present) can also fit under the counter when stored and you’re away.
In the UK table height is 70cm – 76cm leaving stool height to be between around 40cm and 45cm. Similarly, countertops are 90cm – 95cm so stools for use here should range from 60cm to 75cm. Finally, bars tip the scales at a whopping 101cm to 106cm in general, so stools must ideally range from 76cm to 85cm.
Best Course of Action?
The best course of action here is to head over to the shop tab on our website, select seating and filter for stools. We have taken the liberty of measuring height, width and depth for you.
All you have to do is measure your table, counter or bar and cover the decision making. Alternatively, or for additional measurements, pop into our Hooton emporium or feel free to call or email and someone can measure for you.