Not all fitted kitchens are equal, not all kitchens suit an island unit but… some kitchens really suit a breakfast bar! From social engagements to how you live, a breakfast bar has many advantages for many different kitchen designs and can suit a variety of living circumstances. 

Before we jump straight into different breakfast bar features, let’s look at what the difference is between some of the more common kitchen design elements. 

A kitchen island unit
A kitchen island is a freestanding unit providing both counter space and storage space. They are traditionally designed to be in the middle of a kitchen and in recent years they have been used to house sinks, appliances and stovetops. 

A peninsula unit 
This has been much forgotten in recent years and yet possibly provides some of the best design solutions for those who have limited space but want the wow factor of an island unit. This is an island unit that is connected to a wall so you only have access to three sides. Typically used in narrow or small kitchens, they are designed to turn a L-shaped design into a U-shape. 

A breakfast bar 
A breakfast bar can be incorporated into both a peninsula unit and a breakfast bar and provide a social area for people to sit, eat and talk. They become a focus point for the space that has been created. However, there are such kitchen designs where a breakfast bar is separate from either of these design elements and are stand-alone. They can be incorporated into nooks or under high frame windows. 

So how can you design a breakfast bar in your kitchen? Here are some things to consider and some ideas for your next breakfast bar area. 

Think about the size of your breakfast bar area

One of the big mistakes that is made about the breakfast bar is the size that is eventually used for space. If you have an island unit, it is quite common to make the whole of one side the breakfast bar segment. However, if you have a space that is over 2 metres long and you only entertain every now and again, do you need more than three spaces? 

Another consideration is the size of the area that is being used. Are you preparing food here? Are you using it for general day to day usage? How big is the total area? 

The larger the area, the more space you have, but a smaller breakfast bar will look out of place. Likewise, if you have a small space, a large breakfast area can end up being functionally unsuited. 

breakfast bar

Think about the dimensions of your breakfast space 

When it comes to the total dimensions of your breakfast bar space you need to think about two key things, overhang and clearance. 

If you want to incorporate a breakfast bar into either an island unit or peninsula design, then you need to consider having a clearance of 620mm; you will also need to add about 300mm for the depth of the bar stools underneath as well. 

This clearance is essential and from a practical perspective, it is better to work with a design team to make sure that you have exactly all the clearance that you need for your kitchen space. 

When it comes to overhang you want to consider two aspects. The first is the amount of overhang required for you to sit underneath and the second is a design element. You want to ensure that you have suitable leg room and enough countertop space to get the maximum enjoyment from the area.  For design, you want to be able to tuck away stools or chairs and maintain a minimal look. Many kitchen designers recommend 18 inches (450mm) of overhang to ensure that both elements are covered. 

Mix and match breakfast bar materials 

One of the best things you can do with your breakfast bar area is mixing and matching your materials and making the whole functional space stand out. Yes, you can incorporate your current work surface into the design and that looks stunning whatever the kitchen – especially when it is done properly and by professionals. 

Another aspect to this though is by mixing materials, you can create a stand out item in your breakfast bar space. 

The important part is to maintain a durable work surface area because it will be used so much. Granite and quartz are the best and easiest solutions and will continue perfectly with your chosen work surface materials. If you mixed your materials, go for a hard wood surface such as walnut or even stained bamboo which will not only last but complement the design of your beautiful new kitchen feature. 

Breakfast bar ideas for your kitchen

Done correctly, a breakfast bar element in your kitchen is a great addition and also helps with overall seating space if for example you can’t fit a table and chairs into your layout. 

There are lots of different interpretations of a breakfast bar and we wanted to take you through a few great ideas we’ve seen and even done ourselves in homes across Chester and wider Cheshire to bring your kitchen to life. 

Stick in a ledge

So you have a small kitchen, you have managed to craft a space to for some books, or an extra unit for additional storage. This is the best time to stick in a ledge with your worktop. That little bit of overhang and clearance is perfect to eat your porridge in the morning. 

Maximise dead space 

Perfect for those who have deadspace where the kitchen begins and ends. Think of your unit space as a potential design element to place an overhang and subsequent breakfast nook space. 

Float in a breakfast space

Take the concept of an overhang and increase the size of that same overhang with more space and even without a pilaster to keep a design look so that it appears to float. 


Runoff the bar 

If you have a linear kitchen and don’t want to break the function of the room, then you can add a run off breakfast bar area that will not only add to the function but also create a dynamic feature that you can enjoy in your kitchen space. 

breakfast bar floating

Use a wall

If you have a small space, then using a wall for a breakfast area is a great solution. Look at how this contemporary kitchen design really maximises the wall feature to make the whole design stand out.

These are just some ideas to make your dream kitchen come to life with a breakfast bar space. What designs do you like? We’d love to know.

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