I have designed quite a few kitchens, and almost all of them have some sort of peninsula or an island with either raised or worktop height breakfast bar. I could honestly say, they are ‘in fashion’, but are they always the best solution for the kitchen? There are few things to consider before deciding you need a breakfast bar.

A breakfast bar helps to separate the kitchen from dining, while allowing a nice, open flow. Two children usually have their dinner at the breakfast bar, which works perfectly for this family.

See more photos from the Leys Avenue project.

However, before deciding on whether or not to have a breakfast bar designed and made, you should probably consider a few things, first and the most important being whether you actually need one. Some love having a quick breakfast at a raised bar worktop, and if they can enjoy the outdoor view at the same time, that’s even better.

This space allowed us to position the raised bar so that anyone sitting could enjoy a beautiful view of the garden. In this case, each family member has a quick breakfast at a completely different time, so having a bar was a perfect solution.

Another important point, which needs to be factored in, is the material, which is somehow connected with whether you opt for the worktop-height or the raised- height one. Clearly, if you want your bar to be flushed with the countertop, you are more limited, and probably the wisest design decision is to have it made from the same material as your worktop. The only exception would be when the breakfast bar is part of a kitchen island, like in this project.

You should, however, be very cautious when mixing different materials, and probably advise a professional if you want to avoid making an expensive mistake. Please read my post on whether it is worth hiring an interior designer

If you opt for a raised height breakfast bar, you can use a different material from the one used on your worktop to make it more of a feature. For example, in the Station Road project, the clients were open to either granite or marble for the worktop, but wanted a material that feels warmer for their breakfast bar, and we decided maple was the best option.

One thing to consider is that putting your elbows on wood feels warmer than putting them on cold stone. Of course, everyone has slightly different preferences and there are also design considerations, but this a valid functional point you should take into account.

How high should a breakfast bar be then? There are three recommended heights of 762, 914 and 1066 mm. Before deciding, however, you should consider heights of those who are going to use it, and also the height of stools you are going to use.

Here’s an example of a kitchen in which incorporating a breakfast bar would not tally in with the style and the available space without making major structural changes.

Sketch by my dear friend and a very talented interior designer, Gabriela.

Before deciding on your new kitchen layout, it is always worth talking to an interior designer, who’s going to be able to advise on the best layout that suits your needs, style and space. If you’d like to speak to an experienced interior designer, please contact KMI