Kitchen design basics: kitchen island with counter-height seating

In most cases, a kitchen island is designed to serve more than one purpose. In addition to adding a counter work surface, most homeowners want to include a seating feature in the island design. The simplest solution is to make the surface of the countertop larger than the base of the cabinet and allow the protruding area to be used for seating.

Since the 36-inch counter height is higher than the standard 28 to 30-inch table height, standard chairs will not work. Countertop seating requires chairs or stools with a seat height of approximately 24 inches. Fortunately, due to the popularity of this seating configuration, a wide variety of stools is readily available. This type of seat requires slightly more legroom than bar seats, but less than table seats. I generally recommend a 15-18 “overhang to provide enough legroom.

Since a single surface serves both the work area and the dining room, this is often the cheapest arrangement to build. If you tend to prefer simple, sleek lines and aren’t concerned about visually shielding your work area from view, counter-height seating is a good option. One detail that is often overlooked is ensuring that you are providing the proper support for the cantilevered countertop. This can be accomplished with brackets attached to the base of the cabinet or by extending the decorative wing walls under the countertop at either end.

A kitchen island can add a visually striking focal point to any kitchen remodeling project. Just be sure to follow a few basic guidelines to ensure the finished product performs as well as it looks.

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