Kitchen Seating and Island Countertop Overhangs

Kitchen Island Seating

Kitchen seating areas, especially around islands, are becoming increasingly popular. Just be sure the countertop has proper support, as shown here.

Having an eating area as an integral part of the kitchen continues to gain in popularity. By adding a seating area, generally to an island or peninsula, homeowners create a relaxed and informal setting where family members can interact while they eat and prepare food.

There are a couple of items that need to be kept in mind regarding seating in the kitchen:

First, the standard table top is about six inches lower than a kitchen counter top height. Normal dining chairs will not work on a kitchen seating area unless the counter top drops down to table top height. Normally, people use stools designed for kitchen counter height (36”) or for bar height (42”).

Kitchen with peninsula island seating area

Great example of a kitchen seating area with a countertop overhang.

Second, island counter top overhangs need to be handled carefully. A countertop is held in place, for the most part, by gravity. The overhang for an island seating area needs to be properly supported. A 12” overhang will either need to have brackets supporting it, or have 24” of counter top that are resting securely on cabinets (this is called a cantilever). Without correct support, a counter top could be unstable and might even tip if someone were to sit on it.

Chatham, MA kitchen with countertop overhang for seating area

Another example of a kitchen seating area. Just don’t sit on the overhang!

Finally, the kitchen space itself should be considered. There not only needs to be enough room to accommodate the island or peninsula, but also the overhang and the seating. If people seated in the kitchen choke off one of the major routes of passage, then the kitchen has become more social, but is now less usable.

The kitchen has grown from a place of only food preparation to a social nexus. Adding seating to your kitchen can change the family dynamic in the room, provided the space can accommodate it.

John Allen, Showroom Manager
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham Street, Newton, MA 02461
Phone: 617-244-8020

7 Responses to “Kitchen Seating and Island Countertop Overhangs”

  1. 1 chandan hassan May 14, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Can i try this on my countertop?It is just 2 cm thick and needs plywood support?

  2. 2 John Allen May 23, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I would check with the company that made or will be making the top. I would have no problem with doing an overhang with any Quartz material and with most granites. I would be more concerned about marble since it is not as strong as either of the above materials. The fabricator will know the relative strengths of each material and I recommend checking with them.
    Thank you for the interest in this post.

  3. 3 Granite Countertops Cleveland Ohio June 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    The kitchen in the very first picture at the top is really nice. Is that refrigerated storage there (stainless steel drawers) or is it just regular storage?

  4. 4 Garden State Soapstone September 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I have an overhang in my own home. I like it a lot, helps divide the room without having a wall to separate the kitchen equipment and the dining table.

  5. 5 realloghomes October 24, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I love all 3 of the photos used on this post! (especially the curve on the third photo’s island overhang) I just finished researching and writing about laying out a home for entertaining – and a kitchen with seating space is a big part. I think it really helps the host feel connected with the party when guests can sit at the kitchen and chat with the chef.

  6. 6 L Crocker August 15, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Can u tell me about the corner built in oven cabinets. It would be a good solution to my kitchen specs. Are they custom? What r the dimensions?

    • 7 National Lumber August 22, 2013 at 8:38 am

      Ovens built in to a corner cabinet can be a great solution for the right space. An oven could be placed in a standard oven cabinet (typically 30-33″ in width) that is then installed on a diagonal in the corner. Consequently there is a large voided space behind the cabinet. You would want to meet with a kitchen designer for the specifics of your space and how it would lay out.

      Amy Mood, AKBD
      Kitchen Views at National Lumber
      71 Maple St, Mansfield, MA 02048

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