Knowing the different sizes of bar height tables, counter height tables, and a traditional table height could be the difference between getting your new dining room table design perfect, and getting it completely wrong.
Standard dining height tables are pretty easy to understand, but when you compare those to standard counter height tables and bar height tables, things get more complicated.
Today, we’ll talk you through the different heights of these tables so a) you can get the right height stools for them, and b) you can decide which of these dining tables would work best in your home.
What is the standard table height for a traditional dining table?
Standard dining table height refers to the more traditional dining room table. There are many versions of a standard dining table, of course, but all of them are similar in size.
Some common examples of dining tables that are standard dining height tables include:
- Dinner table
- Kitchen table
- Formal dining room table
- Outdoor dining table
- Breakfast table
- And even most patio tables
The table surface in these cases is usually around 28 to 30 inches above the ground. For this table height, dining height chairs and stools would need to be around 18 inches from the floor to the seat. But why is that?
Working out the size of your chair or stool
In order to fit beneath a dining table and allow people to dine comfortably as a result, chairs or stools need to be around 12 inches shorter than the table height.
In theory, there should be around 12 inches of space between the chair seat and the table height. If the chairs measure less than this, then there usually isn’t adequate space for a guest to sit comfortably at the dining table.
Even having a chair or stool a bit taller can make entertaining guests more difficult. Taller friends would struggle to sit comfortably, so seat heights really need to stick to being 12 inches shorter than the table.
This rule about chair heights is true for all the tables (standard dining table height, counter height tables, and bar height tables) we’ll cover today.
What is the standard height of bar height tables?
A bar height table is slightly different to standard dining height tables in that they’re taller (in fact, both counter and bar height tables are, but they aren’t the same height – the difference always comes down to the exact height they measure, which will determine the type of table it is classified as).
So, what can you expect from a bar height table?
Bar height tables are the tallest of all the dining table options, and a bar height table will typically measure around 40 to 42 inches from floor to table when you take your measuring tape out and have a closer look.
Bar tables are also known as pub tables, by the way, but both bar tables and pub tables stand at the standard bar height table measurements (40 to 42 inches from the ground). The amount of people searching for things like this have seen a crazy spike due to the popularity of having a home bar.
Picking out bar height stools
Bar height stools are relatively easy to pick out. Bar stools, just like counter height chairs and standard dining chairs, will need to measure 12 inches smaller than the table they’re with.
If bar height is 40 to 42 inches, then bar stools will need to measure 28 to 30 inches, depending on your exact bar height.
Remember, the 12-inch smaller rule is for the seat height too, so bar stools with a chair arm that’s taller is fine (but still small enough to fit beneath the table height, obviously) – it’s the seat to table measurement that must be 12 inches.
Find a bar stool that’s 12 inches smaller than your bar height, and you’ll be fine.
What is the standard height of counter height tables?
As mentioned above, counter height and bar height tables are both taller than standard height dining tables, but the major difference here is that a counter height table sits somewhere between the two.
That’s right, the counter height is smaller than bar height but taller than standard height.
If you’re wondering about which types of tables are counter height, they’re typically a kitchen counter height tables. Your kitchen counter table is much more likely to be the counter height for obvious reasons, and counter height dining isn’t very common in dining rooms.
Typically, counter tables are used as a more informal dining space. Your counter table would usually be your second dining table, with a more formal dining option in the dining room.
In order to qualify as counter height, these tables must be around 34 to 36 inches tall.
Where the confusion begins…
However, there are non-standard heights in tables too, and you can find some tables that are classed as counter heights that have a dining height of around 40 inches.
This less distinct height difference is usually why people get so confused about the type of table they have – because, at 40 inches, a counter height table starts to look and feel like a bar height. Counter height and bar tables are usually told apart in these instances based on their location.
If it’s attached to a countertop, it’s usually classed as counter height, and if it isn’t, it’s usually classed as bar height.
But trust us, we understand the confusion.
Picking the right seat height for your counter height table
Counter height chairs, counter height stools, and counter benches are all easy enough to pick out thanks to the 12-inch seat height rule again.
Counter stools should have a seat height of around 22 to 24 inches when used with a standard height counter table.
All chairs or stools need to accommodate different table heights, and many manufacturers are aware of that, so won’t make all bar chairs, counter chairs, and dining chairs the same height.
Some may have the same style and design, too, so ask around if you’ve seen bar stools you like, but you don’t have a bar table, for example, and need a smaller stool height vs the bar option you like.
Getting your dining spaces right is all about nailing table heights and the chair or stool height you put with it.
A great idea before you buy is to head to a local furniture store to see how they make bar height, counter height, and standard height tables work for them.
Then think carefully about your space at home and decide on the table height that works best in your space before buying.