Restaurant Chair and Bar Stool Spacing

Restaurant Chair and Bar Stool Spacing

There are 3 main seating heights

  1. 18 inch chair seat height
  2. 24 inch counter stool seat height
  3. 30 inch bar stool seat height

There are 3 main table heights

  1. 30 inch standard dining table
  2. 36 inch low counter
  3. 24 inch standard bar

If you are in the United States, please stick with these standard heights.  It will always make it so much easier for you to find seating, tables, and table bases in the future.  Now that you have an idea of what height to get, we need to help you figure out how many.  We find it is best to draw out your bar.  Use a ruler and have 1" equal 1 foot.  This will make everything a 1/12 scale.  You will need about 2-3 feet of space per seat.


Restaurant Chair Standards

  • A standard restaurant chair is 18 inches high, but can range between 16 to 19 inches depending on the manufacturer.
  • For dining table use, the standard width should be a minimum of 16 inches, but can range between 16 to 18 inches.
  • To give the best experience for customers, always provide between 24 to 30 inches of space around the table for each customer. The standard for fine dining restaurants is 30 to 35 inches.
  • To provide substantial leg room for customers, 10 to 12 inches is best between the top of the seat of the chair and the underside of the table. If armrests are involved, remember to leave 6 inches of space between the armrest and the underside of the table.
  • For all chairs, always remember that the standard height of a dining table is 30 inches. Some fine dining tables will range between 30 inches to 32 inches depending on the style, yet will often come with matching chairs to accompany them.

Bar Stool Standards

  • A restaurant bar stool should be 30 inches high, as most bars are between 40 to 42 inches high themselves. Measure your own bar first before matching this standard.
  • A counter stool should be 24 inches high, to match the standard height of counter tops at 36 inches.
  • For each patron at the bar, provide them with at least 24 inches of space. For corner spaces provide 26 inches of space.
  • Between the bar stool and the bar, give between 10 to 12 inches of space. This standard is the same for counter stools as well.

To create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for your restaurant or bar, vital details such as the standard for bar furniture spacing, and restaurant chair dimensions, should never be overlooked.

There is nothing more off putting for a customer than trying to take a seat in a stool or chair that has not been properly spaced, or sit on a stool at a bar that is too low for the counter. Have you ever pulled a chair out from a table at a restaurant and couldn’t fit in? Likely you didn’t go back.

With such a wide range of commercial bar stools, and restaurant chairs available to business owners, it can be hard to make sure you plan your space accordingly.

Below we’ll set out the standards for a wide range of typical designs, and get you on the way to making the right choices when it comes to spacing out your dining space, counter, or bar front.

What are the Standards?

Tip! A little extra space is always welcome, but a little extra height and width could ruin everything.

Due to the wide range of designs and styles, many of the standards are a rule of thumb measurement. You should always check the specific measurements of any restaurant bar stool, or chair, you plan to buy.

We did some research into the most common dimension standards followed by a range of the biggest wholesale manufacturers in the world, and this is what we found.

The Many Types of Restaurant Chairs and Bar Stools

Tip! When buying chairs with arm rests, make sure they are low enough to fit under the table, or counter top. 

After ironing out the right measurements for your dining space or bar, it’s now time to pick the best design of chair or stool to match. Each style has its own benefits, and it’s important to pick what you think will work best for the patrons, and for your space. 

Remember: Always shop around, and do your research before buying. There is a very wide range of chairs and stools on the market, many not covered here.

Here are some of the most common designs you’ll encounter,

            Types of Restaurant Chairs

  • Slat Back Stacking Metal Chairs: A sturdy and durable option, these metal stack-able chairs might not sport an arm rest, but what they sacrifice in comfort they make up for in convince. These chairs are best suited for outdoor areas, pop-up locations, and short stay breakfast bars, for this very reason.
  • Dining Chair: The masters of comfort, the classic standard; these chairs are best suited for restaurant dining spaces. Coming in a wide range of materials, with or without armrests, it’s not hard to find a dining chair that matches what you’re looking for.
  • Upholstered Side Chair: A cozy choice for warmer areas, such as cafes and bar eating areas. Side chairs are a great solution for more tight eating spaces, or small-scale establishments. Can be found with or without armrests, and a vibrant range of designs.

Types of Counter and Bar Stools

  • Backless Bar Stool: Best suited for spaces looking to trim down their clutter, the backless bar stool is an ideal match to the minimalist bar. These bar stools are made in a wide range of materials to match the surrounding furniture.
  • Upholstered Seat Bar Stool: A more comfortable option, the Upholstered Seat Bar Stool is best suited for spaces where patrons are going to spend a long time drinking. These stylish stools give a warmer touch to a bar, and hint of a more formal setting.
  • Swivel Bar Stool: A great choice for quick stop bar fronts, swivel bar stools can easily accommodate patrons who are going through their casual morning breakfast bar. These can also be a fantastic option for the betting corners of bars, such as slots or virtual poker.
  • Bar Stool with arm rests: When it comes to providing comfort to your guests, the bar stool with arm rests is the best comfort you can get. With good back support, and a rested arm position, the patron is set to rack up a tab all night.

Building the Right Space

Tip! When measuring out your bar or restaurant, always have a second party check your measurements before buying anything!

Setting up your restaurant or bar down to the measurements can be a daunting task, although fear not! Many businesses online offer layout tools and floor plans as free resources. The majority of the layout tools available come with limited functionality in their free versions, but are still enough to plan a simple bar or restaurant.

We did some research to find the best service out there, and stumbled across SmartDraw, which offer a wide range of tools and templates that will guide you to getting a getting handle on the layout of your bar or restaurant.

If you’re looking to get a license, it’ll set you back a little. However, it’s a one-time payment, with no added monthly or yearly fees, and provides a life-time key.

Got a big restaurant or bar to plan out? This may be a wise investment.


Seating Capacity – The Numbers Game

You should strive for a layout that maximizes comfort, whilst also not sacrificing any space you may be able to use. It can be tempting to get as many seats down as possible, yet it’s important to remember that a restaurant or bar survives on their ambience.

If the ambience is of frustrated customers, clanking chairs, and cramped conversations, you won’t be selling an enjoyable experience. Your repeat customer ratio is intrinsically tied to the atmosphere you offer, and building that atmosphere starts with a bit of planning.

Remember, it’s never a bad thing to try and get the most seats you can. Making sure you get the most profit out of your business is a core to success. However, it is often the little things over looked with seating that ruin a customer’s experience.

Try to avoid placing seats near the kitchen or bathrooms. Nobody likes to eat with the loud ambience of the kitchen in their ear, or people walking to and from the bathroom.

Make sure to sit in every seat in your bar or restaurant, and obverse how it might feel to eat in that seat. Take time to get up and down from the seats, as if you were a real patron. It’s not uncommon for a perfect layout to have a few areas that won’t work in practice.  Make sure to try the chairs with other sitting next to you too.


The Finish Line

Tip! When picking the materials your stools and chairs are made out of, always consider the surrounding furniture they will be joining. Nothing looks worse than a metal table and plastic chairs!

Now that you have a better grip on the standards you will work with, the range of products to fit your space, and the tools to get the right plan the first time, you’re all set to sit down and begin making the most of your space.

With this article, you can say goodbye to the sound of chairs hitting walls, or patrons stumbling over each other. Instead you can build the right atmosphere, with the right furniture.

Are you planning on opening your first bar or restaurant?
Let us know how it's going in the comments below!







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