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My immediate need is to ensure that I'm matching the right height stools to a kitchen island, but I assume there's a standard difference that's ideal for an eating seat to be from the eating surface?

(Note that I don't want to consider the height of the user(s); I'm looking for the best bet to accomodate most users.)

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

There are common established heights for table/counter surface and seating combinations. They are:

  • Table height: 30in (750mm), with a chair at 18in (450mm).
  • Counter height: 36in (900mm), with stools at 24 in (600mm).
  • Standard bar height: 42in (1050mm), stools at 30in (750mm).
  • Extra tall bar height: 48in (1200mm), stools at 36in (900mm).

(Source: runmyhouse.com)

In all these combinations, the difference in height between seat and table/counter surfaces is 12in (300mm). Whether or not this is ergonomically ideal, most people will be used to these sorts of dimensions, so sticking with them is a safe bet.

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Awesome - this was exactly what I was looking for. – Jaydles Oct 23 '12 at 14:52
  1. Find a comfortable table & chair combination.
  2. Measure the difference between the chair seat height and the table surface height.
  3. Subtract that value from the counter surface height
  4. Buy stools with roughly that seat height.

The only adjustment that you may need to make is if the counter surface is especially thick; you won't have enough space under their for your legs, and you'll want to lower the seat height to compensate.

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This makes sense, but I don't trust my judgement. I'm trying to see if there's a known distance that's become a standard based on having asked a lot more people than just me what's comfortable... – Jaydles Oct 22 '12 at 21:12

I think it depends on the task at hand. The standard is 12 . I have a work bench At 39 with one stool at 29 and one stool at 24. The taller stool for me is a good height for most everything but more intricate jobs the shorter stool puts me Closer to my work. Another point I'm 5ft 9in tall and a 10 gap table to seat is a good fit for me.too much gap ya start to feel like a munchkin.

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