Bar Height vs Counter Height Tables - How to Choose

If you’re looking for a dining table that’s a little more multi-functional and non-traditional, let’s talk height.

Sometimes your living space, or lack thereof, calls for something a little different from a traditional dining room table. When you need to enhance accessibility and functionality in your living space, bar and counter height tables provide an ideal solution. With their elevated design, these taller tables offer a unique approach to addressing various needs including making your space look larger, providing a place for guests to stand around and socialize, or even allowing for additional seating in an area . 

Ranging from traditional to modern, you won’t have to sacrifice design or quality by considering different counter height table options. Whether you’re looking for a high top, counter, bar or pub table, we take a look at what differentiates these elevated dining experiences and how to choose the right height for your space.

What is standard table height?

The height of each type of table refers to how high off the floor the surface area for eating sits.

Let’s start with the most common, a standard height table, or one you would “sit down” to (unless you’re a small child climbing up!). These tables are typically found in kitchens or dining rooms. While table and seat heights come standard, all being sold within a few inches of range, Modern Bungalow sells standard height tables that are 30 inches with chair seats at 18 inches. This allows plenty of room for legs and any skirting or trim below the table surface. For most people, your feet will rest comfortably on the floor.

As we look at other types of tables, the exact difference comes down to measurements and the rest is up to preference. While standard height tables are fairly common in many households, some choose counter or bar height tables because of limited space. Others may simply like the look or want to add creative additional seating on the main floor, in a breakfast nook, at a coffee bar, in a rec room or even outside.

How tall is a counter height table?

A counter height table measures at 36 inches tall and sits at the same level as your kitchen counters where food is prepared or appliances are placed. These slightly more casual tables offer a larger tabletop for additional work surfaces and are ideal for buffet space. They are also a great place for socializing as there is less height difference between people who are sitting and standing. And if you have kids, the counter height chairs are still easily accessible.

Modern Bungalow’s kitchen island tables are counter height and perfect for doubling as prep and eating spaces!

How tall is a bar height table?

A standard bar table height is 42 inches tall. To help you visualize, imagine pulling a barstool up to an eating space like you’d see in a sports bar or pub. Or in some kitchens, you’d be sitting at the surface area that is attached to, but elevated above the kitchen counter.

With a smaller footprint than traditional kitchen tables, bar height tables are ideal for saving space. Oftentimes their seating counterparts are backless and can slide right under the eating surface to save even more space. This table style makes mealtime a casual event by creating a conversational atmosphere where people can sit or stand comfortably.

Also known as pub, gathering or standing tables, at Modern Bungalow you can style your own bar height table with various woods, shapes and finishes to meet your style preferences!

Bar height vs counter height vs standard - how to choose?

If you’re trying to figure out what type of dining furniture option is best for your needs and your space, ask yourself the following questions:

1. How much space do you have? Do you need something more compact in a smaller area or something expansive and decorative to fill a larger area?

2. What type of seating options do you need?

  • As a general guideline, it’s nice to have chairs placed about 24 inches apart to give ample leg and arm room
3. What will the surface area be used for most often?
  • Consider homework, entertaining, food prep, craft projects, work space
4. What’s the vibe you’re looking for?
  • Traditional or a little more eclectic and edgy
5. Do you have high ceilings?
  • Bar and counter height tables may fill the space more proportionately than standard size tables

6. Who will be using the space most often - kids, adults or both?

The answers to these questions will help determine the table that will best fit your needs. With many different height options available, you’re sure to find a style you love. 

Looking for more information? Feel free to reach out to us in person or online to help you with styling your one-of-a-kind collection!
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