How to Cut Bar Stools Down to Counter Height Stools

counter stools

Yes you can make those wood bar stools fit your counter.  Here’s an easy DIY fix to make bar stools into counter stools (and a quick makeover too!).

Bar stools typically sit at 30″ high, this is fine and dandy if you have a proper bar where the countertop is elevated higher than the working countertop space.  Kitchen designs are trending now away from the proper bar towards one even countertop surface.  No worries, you can still use those bar stools for your counter by easily cutting off the bottom 4″ to reduce the stools to a counter height of 26″:

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(The white stools above are counter height and in the picture for comparison purposes.)

In addition to fixing the height of your stools give them a fresh look with a quick paint job and a new design:

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How to modify bar stools to counter height (and refinish with star detail):

Materials:

  • wood bar stool(s)
  • scrap 1×4@20″and 1×2@4″ or similar, wood glue, wood screw
  • circular saw or hand saw
  • sandpaper
  • paint (for legs & stars) & paintbrushes
  • stain (for seat) + cloth & cotton swabs
  • ballpoint pen
  • clear polyurethane & foam brush
  • clear paste wax & brush or cloth

Instructions:

Step 1: Make a guide for measuring the 4″ cut from each stool leg.  Having a guide ensures each leg will be cut exactly the same length.  Pieces needed for the guide:

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Step 2: Attach the 1x2x4″ piece flush to one side and near one end of the 1×4 with a wood screw and glue.

Step 3: Place the guide (the flat portion of the 1×4) up against the bottom of the stool legs lining up the 1×2 with one leg, mark the 4″ cut line.  Repeat this process for each leg.

Step 4: Cut legs using a circular saw (or hand saw), try to keep your cut parallel to the rungs.

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Step 5: Sand.

Step 6: Paint. (I used one coat Annie Sloan paris grey.)

Step 7: Sand to distress edges.

Step 8: Stain seat portion using Minwax Provincial.  Be sure to tape off legs where they meet the seat.

Step 9: Use a cotton swab to apply stain to distressed areas of legs.

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Step 10: Print out star pattern.  (Download the free pattern here.)  Center pattern on seat and trace stars using ballpoint pen with enough pressure to create slight indent in wood.

Step 11: The indent is visible.

Step 12: Paint the stars on and inside the indents.

Step 13: Distress stars with sandpaper.

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Step 14: Seal seat with clear satin poly, two coats.

Step 15: Seal legs with clear wax.

counter stools8Your stools are ready!  And don’t forget to add some felts to the feet for easy sliding on your floors.

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Now when you see those wood bar stools at garage sales this Spring grab them! You can easily modify the legs to fit your counter height eating area.

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They’re solid wood, easily portable, user friendly and you can paint them any color to match your decor.

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Comments

  1. Nice, the stars look great and add a nice touch.

  2. I never thought of redoing the seat and distressing the legs…thanks for the great idea to freshen them up!

  3. colleen says:

    i SO enjoy receiving and reading about your projects. at my home, i have the opposite problem with barstools. my counter is 48″ high, therefore the stool seats need to be at least 36″ high. any idea on how to heighten a barstool? thanks!

    • I DO have an idea. Years ago I saw a friend had cut PVC pipes that fit around their dining chair legs to raise the chair up several inches for their toddler. Granted this was a chair, not a stool, so make sure it is sturdy and can’t topple over first.

  4. This is a very nice idea! I would love to modify our bar stools. My son would love to help me out. Thanks for the tutorial. You’re the best! :-D

  5. Wow! I never thought doing this to my bar stools. It looks so easy to do. I hope my husband will like this idea.

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