How many inches is your island overhang (for barstools)?

try_hardJanuary 14, 2008

I searched the forum for this topic and get several hits but they all seem to be for discussion threads that are no longer accessible.

Anyway, my cabinet maker has designed the island to be 3 feet deep with a 12" overhang for barstools. Is 12" enough? DH and I plan to eat most of our meals at the bar and I don't want to feel like I can't scoot close enough to my plate.

Advice is appreciated. Oh, and if anyone can tell me why these old messages are no longer accessible, I'd like to understand that, too!



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try hard:

12 inches is kind of the "norm" for an overhang, with
16 inches being the max.

depending on the material you choose to use for your countertops -
you may need corbels to support - you may not - this will
depend entirely on what you use for your countertops.

hope that helps


Kevin M. Padden MIA SFA
Fabricator, Trainer & Consultant to the Natural Stone Indusrty

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:18AM
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Thank you for the feedback, Kevin. We will have corbels.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:32AM
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I saw these "standards" the other day:

and countertop overhand is recommended at 15" but that said, I'm going with 12 and I think most people do. If it WILL be your primary eating area, I think you'll be more comfortable with 15".

Here is a link that might be useful: NKBA standards

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:33AM
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We wondered the same thing before we built our peninsula. And, we were surprised at the general lack of info on this out there. We had originally gone with 9" (just cuz we were REALLY short on space), but because of a mistake made with our granite, we got a new piece, and decided to make it 12". That's lots of space, I'm a big person, but I have relatively short legs. However, I went to my antique table, and there was only a 9" overhang on it before the legs, so you may want to check furniture you already have to see how that works for you.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 11:40AM
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We have a curved overhang. It is 12" at the ends and curves to 18" in the middle. I wanted the extra space because I have long legs. Also, I didn't want my kids kicking the cabinetry while sitting on stools.
I don't have corbels but my fabricator put steel bars in the plywood before laying the granite on top.
We haven't actually used it yet since we don't have stools -
But I like the way it looks. :)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 12:05PM
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I have to decide on the overhang, too. I marked out 12" on the floor in masking tape and it just doesn't seem big enough. I'm also trying to get a straight answer on how big I can go before my silestone needs additional support/brackets.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 1:10PM
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My overhang is also curved so that it is 12" on the ends and 18" in the middle. We eat most of our meals at the island, and I would NOT go shallower than 15" with that kind of use. It just won't be comfortable and your cabinetry will take a beating.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 2:25PM
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Ours is 12 inches- it is open to the dining room so we didn't want it any bigger. We don't have corbels yet but will be getting them.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 2:53PM
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The standard is 12" for bar height and 15" for counter height overhangs. It's pretty easy and very worthwhile to mock this up so you can get a feel for the legroom you need.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:50PM
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The top of our eating bar on the island is 16" wide, and the overhang, measured from the back of the island to the edge of the eating bar is 10". I'm 6'3", and have no problem getting my legs under the overhang and getting close enough to eat comfortably.

1 Like    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:59PM
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Thanks everybody!



    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 4:46PM
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Ours is 19". It is our everyday eating area. I wanted to be able to fit stools on the side as well.

1 Like    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 7:33PM
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Wow, I knew my older island overhang was on the shorter side but I never realized by how much. It's only about 9 inches. I can't say that it ever bothered me though I could also see wanting a larger overhang. Personally I think 12 would be fine, but more might be better to protect your cabinet.

tagging on with my own (long!) question now...I only bought my house in June and am only in the early dreaming stages for a kitchen reno. I think I want to change the size and positioning of my island. Has anyone addressed what's a comfortable width zone for getting in and out of island seats?

I'll get into the details of my problematic kitchen layout one day but there's a good possibility that I might want to increase seating by taking an island that is currently attached to a wall at one end (not a true island, I know, but not exactly a peninsula either, since it's on its own) and turning it around so it will have seating on two sides instead of one. So it would go lengthwise down a longish kitchen with a wall then an aisle on one side, an aisle and then the counters/cabinets on the other side. All my cabinetry is on side of the kitchen.

I know this is unusual and I'm not married to the idea, but I'm working the angles in my head. How far would I need to have the island from the wall in order for people to access the seating comfortably? My other thought is some sort of curved or triangular island but I think I might actually get more seating by having it parallel to the wall, rather than having odd angles.

The current island is about 62 inches long and 36 inches wide, if I recall correctly. It's opposite my stove which is on the shorter wall (that wall has door to the DR, stove, cabinet, fridge, basement door). There's a lot of room on the other side of the island though. The room is longer than wide, something like 11+ feet x 20 (?) feet.

I've got 49 inches between the end of the island and the 24" counter top on the right. If I were turn it around so it's parallel to the counter and the opposite wall, instead of perpendicular, what size island do you think I could fit in this space? Using the 36" example, I guess I'd have 38" on either side, unless the non-seating side could be cut down from that?

I think it might be better because I'd still have the workspace near the stove, but also more workspace opposite my sink and counters, and additional seating on the left and far ends. Right now there's only seating on one side because the other long side is the work space with no overhang, and I *could* have a chair at the other narrow side but it's opposite the counter so it might get in the way, and my garbage is currently tucked under that overhang.

My reservation is that it might not feel like a natural place to sit, with your back against the wall and at the island facing the side of the room, but it would be useful when I have a crowd. I've only seen one picture on here with an arrangement that comes close to that description! I've also considered a more square shaped island but it might be too wide for the room.

Any ideas?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 8:30PM
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Generally speaking, it takes about 33-34 inches from the counter edge. For one person to get past another is about the same. For one person to actually walk behind a seated person is about 44 inches. To have stools with a working counter edge or appliances behind them is more like 54" to 60".

So, an eleven foot room is 132 inches. That minus 25" for counter along the wall, minus 42" for the minimum aisle between the counter and the island, minus 37" for the island leaves 28" for the far side of the island. If you had another 6-10" in room width, I'd be for it.

People who talk about crowds might not want to consider a main working aisle less than 42" and might not want the far side of an island blocked with bodies so the only circulation route becomes on the cooks side. All kitchens are compromises and balancing acts. Choose wisely, grasshopper.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 8:52PM
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Thanks for that. I knew it would be tight but it's one option I'm mulling over. I'll have to check but I think I have 135 inches and currently have 24 inch counters, not that those 4 inches helps signifigantly! (Is 25" more standard these days? I think this kitchen was re-done in the late 80s.) You don't think I could shave some inches off the 42" between the counter and the island to gain some space on the other side? Like about 37" on either side?

It's kind of a strange layout in that the stove and fridge are both at the top of the room and the sink is on the side wall, but also near the top - so I have this VERY long countertop on the other side that I don't really use much at all; I end up using the island for food prep. I guess I'm trying to justify a shorter distance between the island and the counter by saying that space isn't very functional or used much anyway, but I'd still need clearance for drawers and for people to get out the back door....and possibly to move things into the house through that door from time to time!

Yikes. Such a bummer that I actually have a pretty decent sized kitchen now with LOTS of cabinet space, but it feels like a lot of wasted space and not well-designed. By the way, on the left wall, away from the stove and towards the back door (must take some pics!) is a double door for the laundry storage area. So there's all this dead space in the back of my kitchen where it seems I should have a kitchen table and I don't - but there's an issue with blocking either the laundry closet door or being too close to the back door.

I'll have to take some pics and learn how to post them, I know the people here will have great ideas!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 9:31PM
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I don't know how to get the picture in the post, but here are two links. My kitchen does NOT look this bad now! The first was taken before I ever moved in. Now that I look at it from this view, you may be right that it's simply not wide enough, unless it's possible to go with a narrower island. The second was taken at an open house shortly after I moved in and shows why I want more seating - my family tends to gather in the kitchen no matter how much space I may have elsewhere! Faces blurred to protect the guilty.

It's a little embarrassing posting these when so many people have such picture perfect houses, but this is our first house and an older house that needs some work; ironically enough, it was the kitchen that sold me on the place; it was so much bigger than my apt and had SO much storage! We have, at least, replaced that crooked ceiling fan and those awful stools since we moved in, and got a new stainless dishwasher and stove since we moved in.

First is in the link before, second pic from the other side of the room is here:

That was taken from near the dining room door, with the stove and refrigerator to the left.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sandy's kitchen

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:48PM
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I LOVE your granite! What kind is that? And about how much a sq foot, if you don't mind me asking - I know that varies by region...but that's gorgeous!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:53PM
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I read somewhere, I can't remember where for the life of me, that "rodding" to support a countertop makes the stone weaker. Is that true? I would like to avoid bracket is I can, but I don't want to pay for it later.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 9:31AM
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Mine is 15". For us, nothing smaller would be comfortable. Plus, I really hate when chairs stick out and don't line up with the countertop. Our kitchen designer kept insisting (!!!!) I was wrong and 9 - 12" would suffice, but I knew from experience that I needed 15" So glad I stuck to my guns!

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 9:44AM
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Ours is about 11" (that's the most we could work out with our wall space). Our KD said the standard for % overhang without support is that 70% of the stone counter must be on top of the cabinets to avoid supports. If you want more overhang than that, you need corbels or supports of some kind.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2008 at 2:48PM
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Bumping ... to keep alive

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 6:03PM
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Just to throw another measurement out there, our current kitchen island has an 18" overhang, which is apparently a lot larger than the norm. But we're used to it (and have the space) so we're going to stick with the 18" for our new island as well.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 1:31AM
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Mine is 11.5 and I wish it were an inch or two more - but it was the max that the granite folks were comfortable with and I don't want to take ANY chances with my precious... err I mean granite.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 1:34AM
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I got to thinking about this again when I went to a party and they were using their island to serve buffet-style, like I intend to do with ours. They had some larger platters and stuff that really needed their 18" depth to feel like they were not going to topple off. I think I'm going to stick with 18" and not try and make it narrower.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 1:56AM
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Going against the norm here,we had to squeeze as much as possible into a small space. Our 8 ft long peninsula has a 9 inch overhang. While deeper would be nicer, it's comfortable for us (I'm 5'6"). I bought smaller scale stools. We use the stools/counter for quick meals, snacks, and entertaining.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 8:53AM
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I have also heard about that rodding thing and that it possibly weakens the granite. However, we avoided rodding our application by using the Freedom bracket from Federal Brace. It supported our granite countertop overhang and we could hide it so we got away from the visible bracket. There are examples in the gallery on their website of these types of applications.

Here is a link that might be useful: Federal Brace Gallery

    Bookmark   June 21, 2010 at 3:46PM
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