When it comes to kitchens, finding a practical design that provides room for cooking, preparing food, storage and eating while still keeping a stylish look can be difficult. After all, not every home is fortunate enough to have an ample-sized kitchen that can be tailored for endless design options, and not every homeowner has an ample-sized wallet that allows for endless design options.
One option that makes use of existing kitchen space while providing additional counter room and a spot for informal meals is the inclusion of a breakfast bar. A popular choice because it can be included in any kitchen regardless of the style or design, breakfast bars can also serve as a functional transitional element in a large area without taking away from the open concept (for example, separating a kitchen from the adjoining family room).
How much space will you need?
When planning for a breakfast bar keep space and placement at the forefront, which will also help you determine the type of breakfast bar that will best suit your room. In the kitchen, decent traffic patterns are essential to the functionality of the room, so be sure that walkways around the breakfast bar measure at least 42 inches wide. It is also necessary to determine how much counter space you will need for comfortable dining, particularly if the breakfast bar will be a permanent fixture and used on a regular basis for meals. Plan for 24 inches of countertop space per person to allow for elbow room.
Keeping things traditional
Breakfast bars are typically associated with being part of a large kitchen island. This style allows for extra countertop space on one side of the island, with stools for dining on the other. For convenience and quick availability, there several ready-to-assemble kitchen island and breakfast bar combinations available through home improvement stores, which is a great option if your kitchen remodel has gone over-budget and a custom island is out of the question. (For example: www.homedepot.ca/product/monarch-island-with-granite-top-and-two-stools-black/997569)
Another take on this traditional design is utilizing a raised breakfast bar. Though not as functional for food preparation as the conventional island, a raised breakfast bar does have the benefit of blocking the view of any kitchen untidiness, which is handy if the island/breakfast bar is used as a transitional element in an open space, because who wants a clear view of dirty dishes soaking in the sink while trying to watch a movie in the nearby family room? It also provides for a distinct eating and entertaining spot that is not away from the kitchen area.
Keeping things budget-friendly
If you have limited available space and want to create a spot for eating without breaking the bank, a portable breakfast bar might be just the solution. These tables, such as the Utby bar table from Ikea (www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/S09843459/), provide a stylish and affordable option that can also double as a work station. Make sure that the bar table you select can be secured to the floor for safety purposes.
If space is really at a premium in your kitchen, consider using a fold-down table mounted to a wall. Ikea's Norberg table (www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/30180504/)is one example, but individuals who like taking on do-it-yourself projects could quite easily construct his or her own wall-mounted drop-leaf table. Perfect for cramped spots such as a galley kitchen, this type of table can be kept folded down when it is not needed. Mount the table to a wall near a window and you've got a scenic spot to enjoy your morning coffee.
Consider options during your kitchen renovation
It's not an uncommon situation: homeowners embarking on a remodel to open up an enclosed kitchen are left frustrated when they find out they are unable to completely remove a wall due to wiring, plumbing or structural issues. Make the most of this situation by incorporating a breakfast bar. Cut a wall in half horizontally (or cut an opening in the wall if there are structural concerns) leaving the bottom portion intact. Find a countertop that works for your space to place on top of the lower portion of the wall, add a couple of stools to one side and you've got yourself a breakfast bar that will definitely open up your kitchen.
By Erin Kelly