In kitchen design, function should always equal appearance. Without function, your new kitchen might not be all you needed.
Your kitchen designer (P & B or otherwise) should consider this and recommend the right height for your planned use. Other questions we ask our clients might be: Do you entertain regularly? If so, is it usually formal or casual? Do your guests migrate to the kitchen during your party? How many? How often? We have a long list of questions.
Designing snack bars, island bars or breakfast nooks requires several considerations. The height of the bar or counter has strong influence on the amount of knee space needed. A counter set at 30 inches (table height) requires 18 – 21 inches of knee space to be functional whereas a height of 42 inches only requires 12 inches. The higher the counter, the straighter your legs will be thus requiring less depth.
Counters that are 42 inches high can easily be used from a standing position lending aid to those rushing to eat breakfast in the mornings, on their way out the door to work. High bar stools or chairs go well with this design since the higher stool will typically force your legs to be straighter, needing less knee space.
You will need to allow 24 – 30 inches of space per person. If you use place settings, you’ll want to err on the 30+ inches side of the rule. If it’s mostly for the kids or informal meals then 24 inches will likely work well. Remember, years pass and kids grow.
You will need space between the edge of the counter and any obstruction whether it is wall or cabinet. Allow 32 inches from the edge of the counter if you just need to squeeze into a seat. Allow 40 inches if guests will walk behind seated diners and 5 – 6 feet if you need to work behind or serve your seated guests.
As designers we need this information to give you not only what you want but also what you need. Are you designing with these answers in mind? You should be. Otherwise, your kitchen might not be all you needed.
P & B Finishers, Inc. is a full-service, design/build remodeling contractor serving Oakland and Macomb Counties in SE Michigan.