A kitchen island or a kitchen peninsula are both perfect spaces to add seating for casual dining. The most common kitchen seating question is often about the countertop height. Should the countertop be the same height as the workspace /prep zone or should it be elevated (also referred to as bar height)?
What is Bar Height Seating?
The elevated counter or bar height counter seating is usually about 41″-43″ off the floor to the countertop. This is approximately 6” higher than the standard 35″-40″ kitchen counter height typically used throughout the rest of the kitchen design. This kitchen seating design works well with bar stools that are 29″-30″ tall. The raised countertop is a great design feature to help conceal a busy and possibly cluttered workspace when in use.
Dura Supreme Cabinetry design by Langs Kitchen & Bath, Inc., Pennsylvania, photography by Linda McManus.
The Pros to Bar Height Seating
As I mentioned earlier, the advantage of this increase in height is that it can conceal any clutter or dirty dishes from view. This is a good option to consider if you have a very open floorplan.
The bar height counter can also act as a sort of room divider, separating the kitchen from the rest of the space. The raised top also allows for family and guests to interact with the cook without actually being in the work area.
Dura Supreme kitchen design by designer Stephanie Frees of Plain and Posh Distinctive Cabinet Designs
Another consideration with an elevated top is there is the potential for the counter to become a drop spot for mail, keys, and screens that may lead to visual clutter.
The Cons to Bar Height Seating
For families with small children, you’ll want to note with a raised, bar height countertop, the seating has to be taller, averaging around 30” off the floor. This stool height can be tricky for small children to use. Some also look at the raised, bar height counter as additional clean up due to the fact you are wiping down two countertops.
What is Counter Height Seating?
The standard countertop height in a kitchen is about 35″-40″ tall which works with typical counter-height bar stools and chairs are anywhere from 23” to 28” from the floor to the seat.
The Pros to Counter Height Seating
Keeping the kitchen island or peninsula all one with one counter height gives you one large continuous work surface. It is the ideal place to set up a buffet or spread out when working on that large project.
Dura Supreme Cabinetry design by Boyer Building Corporation. Interior design by Natalie Talley. Photography by Emily John Photography.
The one-level, continuous countertop makes a room feel visually larger and more spacious.
With the lower, standard 35″-40″ high countertop shorter stools or chairs are needed which are easier for children and adults with mobility restrictions to navigate.
The Cons to Counter Height Seating
The counter height seating at the kitchen island does make everything visible in the kitchen, including those dirty dishes. If there is a sink on the kitchen island the potential for splashes and water spills is greater without a backsplash to contain the mess.
Dura Supreme kitchen designed by Joyce van den Dungen Bille of Gilmans Kitchens and Baths, California.
Which Kitchen Seating Style Will You Choose?
There are pros and cons to both options that depend on how you want your space to look and function. Choosing counter height or elevated, bar height seating in the kitchen island or peninsula is a design element that requires some thought.