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”).
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.
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.