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Even in the smallest of kitchens, you can create a breakfast bar to suit your space.
There are many benefits to having a breakfast bar in the kitchen. As well as creating a communal, welcoming hub, it can be a great space-saving dining option and can offer storage solutions too. To help you make the perfect choice in choosing yours, we've compiled a concise, need-to-know buying guide on breakfast bars.
Breakfast bars are typically incorporated within kitchen islands or peninsula-style layouts to create a laid-back, informal space. But what are the main differences?
A kitchen island is a freestanding unit providing counter and cabinet space, usually in the centre of a large kitchen. As well as providing additional seating (like the Carnegie kitchen at Masterclass Kitchens pictured above), it can be used to place stoves, stovetops, ovens, coffee machines, and even a second sink.
A peninsula is similar to an island but is fixed to at least one wall, so instead of having access to all four sides, you'll have access to just three sides. Peninsula kitchen designs are ideal for narrow or small kitchens, and helps to transform an L-shaped kitchen layout into a horseshoe or a U-shape.
A breakfast bar can be incorporated within a kitchen island unit or as part of a peninsula. Doubling up a kitchen island as a breakfast bar is a popular option and creates the ultimate social space in the kitchen. But peninsulas can also make handy breakfast bars and this is a common option in smaller kitchens. Alternatively, a cost-effective solution is to buy a freestanding breakfast bar – depending on where you shop and the size you want, you can buy a breakfast bar and stools set from £150 upwards.
See some examples of freestanding breakfast bar sets below:
Adler Bar Table & Stools, White/Oak
Perfect for smaller spaces, this breakfast bar table with two stoolsprovides the perfect eating spot and work space. It's crafted from solid rubberwood and MDF.
John Lewis & Partners
Maisey Storage Bar And 2 Stools
£199.00 (23% off)
This slimline tablefeatures a storage section to theside where you can keep bottles, cocktail accessories and more. Thetwo matching high backstools offers back support for comfort.
On a budget
Chicago Bar Table and 2 Stools - Grey
This bar table and stool set boasts atwo-tone finish andoffers a touch of country cottage charm.
Fulda Dining Set with 2 Chair
£256.99 (42% off)
Simple yet stylish and made of solid oak wood, this bar table comes withone drawer, providing additional storage space.
WOLTU Kitchen Bar Table and Stools Set
£151.99 (13% off)
With alight oak table andblack bar stools, this stylish, industrial-style design can be used as a bar table, party table or dining table.
Whether you are in the middle of a kitchen renovation or simply pondering design ideas for the near future, these breakfast bar ideas will help you consider all the essentials...
1. Select your size
A breakfast bar can be a long-term dream for many to have in their home. But before you begin on design ideas, ensure you have enough space for it to work.
'One of the advantages of a breakfast bar is its size. Freestanding breakfast bars take up much less space than a dining table, particularly considering it’s usually styled with stools that will be tucked underneath. If it’s incorporated into an island, there really is no need for a dining table, unless you have the space for it,' Melissa Klink, Harvey Jones' Head of Design tells House Beautiful UK.
'Before investing in a breakfast bar, make sure you choose the right size for your space: a small breakfast bar will look out of place in a large room and will need to be paired with a wider island or a dining table.'
'The size is really dependant upon the space and architect of the room,' Brenda Gibson from Tom Howley tells us.
When you're designing your space, be careful not to simply opt for the biggest breakfast bar. While a larger one may seem better, if it's too big for your kitchen it will be impractical. Things to ask before specifying a breakfast bar include...
- Do you want your main sink or prep sink on the island?
- Do you want the hob on the island?
- Do you want a clear island free of appliances?
- Are you looking to have bar seating?
- What storage do you require?
- Does a peninsula style work better?
- What shape works best with the space and the functional requirements?
2.Think carefully about the dimensions
In the UK, a standard worktop will be around 600mm deep, or 620mm if you have an overhang. If you're looking to transform your island into a practical breakfast bar, you will want to add at least 300mm to the depth for bar stools.
The average height of a breakfast bar is around 42 inches (107cm), but it's always recommended to seek the help of a professional to work out exactly the size you need for your kitchen.
'An island with enough depth underneath the countertop will allow barstools to be tucked discretely beneath to maintain the sleek feel of the island,' Mor Krishner, Head of Product Design for Caesarstone tells us.
When it comes to a breakfast bar overhang, the standard size for this should be 18 inches to allow for enough leg room.
3. Opt for durable material
A place where many will gather for coffee, meals and endless conversations, you need your breakfast bar to cater for all kinds of occasions. As well as opting for a timeless design you love, it's vital you choose a resistant, heavy-duty material that will last. Choosing something with a beautiful appearance will simply be a waste of money if it won't stand the test of time.
'In terms of materials, breakfast bars need to be durable, hardwearing and easy to clean. Quartz is a beautiful resilient surface – smooth and easy to clean, while also largely scratch and stain resistant,' says Melissa Klink.
4. Think about its position in the kitchen
Second Nature Kitchens
'A well-planned breakfast bar is also important. It can cleverly act as a divider in open plan spaces between living and cooking areas, so think about the shape of your room,' says Darren Watts, Showroom Development and Design Director at Wren Kitchens. 'If you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful view in your kitchen, take advantage of it and face your seating towards it.'
When you plan your breakfast bar, think of its purpose. Will it be a place where children sit to eat breakfast, or perhaps where friends gather over coffee and cake, or even as a workspace? Taking these into consideration will help you design the best breakfast bar for your home.
5. Lighting is key
A kitchen breakfast bar or larger island can work as a dining area and clever place for storage — but remember, you'll want to ensure the area is well-lit. 'Lighting should be considered from the very beginning of the planning process,' Sinead Trainor, Kitchen Category Manager at LochAnna tells us.
'Cabinets and units should be designed to work around windows to maximise the amount of natural light available. In terms of artificial light, LED flexible strip lighting is a popular option for incorporating mood lighting into a kitchen design and is commonly used along the plinth or on the underside of worktops or breakfast bars. They are a great way to add depth to a room and can easily create a change of atmosphere when required.'
6. Don't be afraid to mix and match
'An ongoing trend is using multiple materials for your breakfast bar to create two dedicated areas for practical use and dining,' says Darren Watts from Wren Kitchens. 'For illustration, you could use Wren's Luxury Laminate thick 60mm worktop as a practical area and as contrast, choose the sleek 20mm Xena Quartz in Aspen Ice. It creates a unique and bespoke look.'
Breakfast bars are flexible by nature – there are so many design possibilities that they can fit into almost any space. Whatever size, shape or layout you're working with, there’s a kitchen breakfast bar for you.
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