Choosing the Right Kitchen Bar Height and Dimensions

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Choosing The Right Kitchen Bar Height And DimensionsThose who love to cook will always dream of having more counter space to get more work done. So when the time comes for a home renovation, it’s important to know the perfect height and the standard dimensions for the ideal kitchen breakfast bar. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about choosing the right kitchen bar height and dimensions so you can get sufficient space for food preparation and cooking.    

What is the Standard Kitchen Counter Height? 

In general, the standard height of a commercial bar is generally around 30, 36, or 42 inches, although the latter is the most common height. However, this will depend on the kitchen design and the placement of your adjustable stools. You’ll also want to make the countertop height the same as other nearby or adjoining counters.

But if your breakfast bar is sitting opposite your kitchen counter, then it might be beneficial to make it slightly lower or higher — this setup will make use of the counter for extra space during meal prep. When one countertop is higher or lower than the other, you can define the two spaces as separate from one another. Many people prefer placing the eating surface higher since it can naturally hide any mess made in their prep area.  

A table that’s thirty inches tall is known as table height while one that’s 36 inches is known to be counter-height. Finally, bar-height counters stand 42 inches tall but are more commonly seen in breakfast bars but any of the heights above can be used. For example, people in a wheelchair may need a lower counter that’s table height for a more practical option and small children will also be able to use this more easily.      

Standard Breakfast Bar Dimensions 

When it comes to custom designs, the standard dimensions serve to guide us when we want to work with specific needs. A breakfast bar comes with the recommended dimensions below to maximize efficiency, facilitate comfort, and provide an aesthetically pleasing look to your kitchen. However, you need to understand that every kitchen is unique, so be sure to use these figures as points of reference that you can fine-tune according to your preferred work area.    

Stool Height 

The height of the stools you use is vital to creating the perfect place for dining and they are generally categorized under three sizes. To help you determine the best option for your breakfast bar, it’s important to know their dimension ranges in both imperial and metric measurements.

  • Counter Stool: Has a seat height between 24 to 26 inches tall
  • Bar Stool: The correct bar stool height is between 28 to 32 inches or 71 to 81 centimeters
  • Spectator Stool: The appropriate height for a spectator stool is between 34 to 36 inches, or 86 to 91 centimeters 

To make sure that you have the right seating, you’ll need to align the height of the seat to the standard kitchen counter height by following the general rules below.   

Breakfast Bar and Counter Height 

Just like with stool heights, there are standards in place for bar heights as well, which also plays a role in aesthetics and functionality. Because of this, it’s imperative that you understand the proposed measurements for your breakfast bar. Below, the height requirements are listed in inches and centimeters: 

  • Counter Height: Can vary between 34 to 36 inches or 86 to 91 centimeters 
  • Breakfast Bar Height: Will fall around 42 to 43 inches, or 106 to 109 centimeters

As a general rule, these heights were made to accommodate the stool heights above and will always maintain a gap between 10 to 12 inches or 25 to 30 centimeters from the top of the bar to the seat of the stool. Allowing for this space provides effortless movement and comfortable seating for all your guests.  

What are the Standard Measurements for Kitchen Bar Height Counters?  

The average bar height counter will be 24 inches deep — anything bigger than that and it can become hard to reach inside. Your breakfast bar will also need an overhang, which is the space between the edge of the counter and the base of your bar. Without one, you’ll have less legroom to work with, so be sure to include one if you plan to have a seating area on your counter.  


The overhand will usually measure between 12 to 18 inches, but if you come from a family of tall people, you may need to work with a larger overhang to give you plenty of room. Tall, bar height stools and counters will need less legroom (around 12 inches), while counter height stools should get 15 inches of overhang. Meanwhile, a lower tabletop bar will need at least 18 inches to provide enough room for your legs.      

Chair Clearance

The clearance between the back of the stool to the bar should be 18 inches to give your guests enough space to sit down and get up comfortably. Next, you should plan to give 18 inches to 3 feet of clearance behind the stools to provide adequate room for those who want to walk around the bar without any traffic jams. Your room’s layout will play a part when it comes to how much space is needed for clearance — if you have a huge space, clearance won’t be such an issue but if you’re working with a smaller room, seating can quickly become cramped.

Stools for A Breakfast Bar

There are different types of stools available in the market to match your needs; counter stools and taller bar stools are the most common seating options for counter-height breakfast bars. Bar stool heights are around 28 to 30 inches, which leaves around a foot of space if you have a 42-inch counter. Compared to the height of a bar stool, a counter stool comes in shorter at 24 inches and can fit a 36-inch breakfast bar to leave plenty of room for legs.    

But if you’re not happy with either option, you can always use adjustable bar stools which can be moved up and down, so you can use them as counter stools or bar stools. It’s also important to keep in mind that the type of stools you choose can have a visual impact on the height of the bar. For instance, a backless bar stool can appear lower — no matter what you decide, just be sure that you have the right height for your breakfast bar. 

Leaving a foot of space between the underside of the counter to the top of the stool is essential but no more than this or it could be difficult to reach your counter once you’re seated. This allows for comfortable seating and will leave enough room for people to sit how they want without feeling they’re confined. But if you want to be free as a bird when sitting, a swivel bar stool or adjustable seats might be the best choice for your bar area.  


When it comes to getting the kitchen island you’ve always dreamed of, be sure to get a team with years of experience who know their way around dining room tables and standard base cabinets. It’s also important to remember that each stool will come with a different height, but the right stool will be suitable for the kind of table you want in your kitchen. Once you have the kitchen bar you want, you can enjoy making a quick meal and may even take joy from washing dirty dishes.