Breakfast bar ideas –create a functional, family-friendly kitchen

Flexible by nature, breakfast bars come in a wide range of styles to suit any type of kitchen, no matter the size.

If your kitchen is on the small side, a breakfast bar is the perfect solution, as it takes up far less space than a table and chairs and can double up as somewhere to prepare and present food. Where to install one depends on the shape and layout of your kitchen, but you could add a raised or dropped breakfast bar to an island, a peninsula or at the end of a worktop. The standard height is 900mm but if it’s raised above the worktop, it should be 1200mm. Use height adjustable stools with foot rests so that everyone can sit comfortably.

Kitchen designer Neil Lerner recommends a minimum 300mm overhang to give room for bar stools. ‘It’s also important to allow enough room, say 600mm, between the breakfast bar and any wall behind it for easy access,’ he adds. ‘It can also be used as a barrier to keep children and guests from getting under your feet while cooking. Curved edges are particularly effective at guiding traffic around spaces.’

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(Image credit: Davide Lovati)


'Typically incorporated within the kitchen island or a peninsula scheme, breakfast bars create a relaxed, informal area,' explains says Melissa Klink, Harvey Jones Head of Design.Stylish and practical, they offer additional worktop space and storage opportunities, while also providing a social focal point where people can gather, entertain and enjoy a quick meal. Take a look at our breakfast bar ideas for more inspiration and advice.


An island unit is perhaps the most popular solution, and is one that can perform a variety functions. In a very large room, it will act as a bridge between perimeter furniture, improving the work triangle and allowing more than one cook to work comfortably side-by-side.

With the addition of arresting light pendants or an eye-catching work surface, it can become the room’s design centrepiece. In an open-plan kitchen, use an island or peninsula to divide cooking and dining. 'The addition of breakfast bar seating can create intimacy in the largest kitchen, and only requires a 40cm worktop overhang to dine in comfort,' says interior designer Abigail Hall.

Kitchen island

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

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Connect both water and electricity, and your breakfast bar will become an impressive workhorse, incorporating cooking, washing and cooling appliances. 'This will free up surfaces in the rest of the kitchen but we also see the island as an opportunity to have extra ovens or specialist appliances such as a teppanyaki, wok burner or BBQ grill,' adds Neil Lerner.

Breakfast bars

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'Whether freestanding or built-in within the island, they can be designed in the same material as the rest of the worksurfaces to give the space a cohesive feel. Alternatively, splitting the two areas with different materials, quartz and wood for instance, and elevating the breakfast bar slightly above the surface will help zone the kitchen,' says says Melissa Klink, Harvey Jones Head of Design.

Breakfast bar ideas

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)


For a U-shaped layout with an open side, placing a set of stools alongside it will create an instant breakfast bar area without any renovation work required. To achieve a more styled look, why not fit a worktop surface that extends over the unit. This will give it the same feel of a dining table. And will also give family and friends more legroom, whilst also ensuring every inch of space is utilised to its full potential.

Breakfast bar ideas

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

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'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 they are usually styled with stools that will be tucked underneath. If the breakfast bar is incorporated into an island, there really is no need for a dining table, unless you have the space for it,' says Melissa Klink, Harvey Jones Head of Design.

Breakfast bar ideas

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)


A breakfast bar doesn't have to be an unsightly addition to a kitchen. In fact, if you have the space, a breakfast bar can be the star of the show. Pretty up your bar with an enormous bouquet of flowers, glass decanters and leather stools. You'll wonder why you never had a special spot for breakfast before.

Breakfast bar ideas

(Image credit: Davide Lovati)