Height Comparison Guide: Counter vs. Bar vs. Cafe Height


What is the difference between counter height, bar height and cafe height tables and stools?

Have you ever pulled a stool up to a table only to realize that your legs are now uncomfortably close to the table or, alternatively, you are now awkwardly sitting far below the table surface?

There is often much confusion surrounding the various colloquial names for stool and table heights.  Is this table counter height or bar height?  How high is a café height chair?

In this post, we’ll break down the difference between counter height, bar height and café height tables and stools.

Counter Height Tables & Stools

While the exact measurements vary from manufacturer to manufacturer a table with a surface height of between 34” to 39” is considered to be counter height.  These tables are generally meant to correspond with the average height of a kitchen or reception counter.

Counter height tables are often used as either an extra prep surface in or around a kitchen or to provide a less formal atmosphere for people to gather around.  People are commonly more comfortable socializing around a counter height table than a standard height table as there is a less distinct height difference between people who may be sitting and standing.

If you are looking for stools for a counter height table, you should look for something with a seat height between 24” and 29.”

Bar Height Tables & Stools

As with counter height tables, there isn’t one exact height or even range of heights that manufacturers agree upon.  However, most manufacturers have set their bar height tables to have a surface height that is within the scope of 41” to 46.” 

Bar height tables are named as such because they are most frequently found in bars and restaurants.  They are used to encourage casual conversation as the height of the corresponding bar height stools (30” to 36” high seats) cause those seated to remain very close to eye level with those standing.  It should be noted, however, that some people find it uncomfortable to sit in a chair/stool that keeps their feet this high above ground level.

Café Height Tables & Stools

The discussion around what constitutes a café height surface or seat is even less clearly defined than those surrounding counter and bar height as “café height” is frequently used as a colloquial synonym for either of the other two table sizes. 

While café height is used as a synonym for both other heights at times, our research has shown that the most commonly preferred definition for café height, is that it is 34” to 39” in surface height, or identical to counter height tables.

 This means that, just like with counter height tables, you want to target chairs or stools with a seat height between 24” and 29.”

Always Take Clear Measurements

It’s true that there are no clearly defined heights for a bar height vs a counter height table or stool, but once fully considered, the process of selecting the right height for your new tables or stools doesn’t need to be as complicated as it appears on the surface. 

We always recommend our clients stick to specific heights rather than colloquial terms when shopping for any new furniture whether it’s a new table for the break room, a chair for your desk or a group of systems workstations for your team. 

By inviting a sales representative to come into your space, take their own measurements and see your vision for the new furniture you can reduce the risk of miscommunication or other errors.

Once you have decided which height table you need, your next step should be to select the table edge.  Here are the Six Most Popular Table Edge Styles our customers are ordering in 2019!

Cory Porteous
Marketing Manager
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