Clearance needed to accomodate stool seating at peninsula?

tigernycAugust 31, 2008

Hi! Hope this question makes sense. I will have a peninsula in my kitchen at which I will have stool seating. What is MINIMUM amount of clearence I need to factor in for the depth of the stools at the peninsula? 24 inches?

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Are you talking about what is the minimum overhang needed for seating at a counter?
.....18" for table height (30" high surface)
.....15" for counter height (36" high surface)
.....12" for bar height (42" high surface)

Are you talking about amount of space needed for each seat in length of peninsula?
.....24" per seat

Are you talking about amount of clearance needed to allow someone to walk behind the stools (i.e., b/w counter edge & wall or other other obstruction behind the seating area)?
.....32" if no traffic passes behind a seated diner
.....36" to allow traffic to edge past seated diner
.....44" to allow traffic to walk past seated diner

Here is a link that might be useful: NKBA Kitchen Planning Guidelines with Access Standards

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 10:43AM
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And about 54"-60" if there are working counters and cabinets or appliances behind the seated diner and you'd like to be able to use them.

Please note that the standard for "clearance behind" is from the COUNTER edge. So it starts at the outside edge of the counter overhang, not at the edge of the cabinets or knee wall.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 10:55AM
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I have a counterheight island with seating - overhang is 12" and narrowest distance I have between island and wall is 36". In general I have pretty narrow clearances around my island and to make that work - and not look overcrowded - I thought it was important to have modest sized stools. I also chose no backs so I could tuck the stools under the overhang. My stools are 14" square which was quite small compared to a lot of them.

My KD felt the NKBA guidelines are just that - guidelines and a starting point - from which you can deviate under the right circumstances.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 10:58AM
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Yes, YMMV, but Guidelines are guidelines for a reason... I wouldn't vary too much (less) without a very good reason...and I don't mean just b/c you want more in your kitchen or b/c you have to have an island (not the OPs issue, btw). E.g., many people claim 12" is enough overhang for counter-height seating, but when pressed, many of them have admitted that they have to sit sideways or slightly away from the counter or that they hardly use it (could it be b/c the overhang is too shallow?)

The average height of people is increasing, even if you are very short, think of your children or, if you plan to sell in the next 2-5 years, prospective buyers. I'm 5'10" and I'm very uncomfortable sitting at a friend's 12" overhang (my DH refuses to sit at it at all b/c it's even more uncomfortable for his 6'5" frame!) My children at 12 & 14 are 5'9" (DD) & 6'1" (DS)...with growing still to come. 12" was not an option for us. We went w/the 15" recommendation and it seems fine. I think my DH still has to straddle a little bit, but I can sit under the counter fully & comfortably.

As to aisle kitchens can get away w/narrower aisles (36" or so) but 2-cook kitchens or kitchens w/children or kitchens w/appliances opening into the aisles should try not to make the aisles much narrower than the recommendations. Additionally, if you have a major (traffic) thoroughfare in your kitchen...that aisle should be even wider (and have no cooking appliances on it if you can arrange it).

Yes, this is all my opinion...but I've been "studying" my friends' kitchens since before we started our remodel plus I've read and observed here and my opinion comes from what I've seen about how kitchens work (or not) and what others have thought of their kitchens after living with them for awhile. Lots of things look "fine" or even "great" on paper, but real life is the real test!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 1:17PM
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Wow, great information Buehl!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 9:02AM
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I've looked at the NKBA website but can't seem to find the info I need on clearances.

How much space do you need between barstools (or edge of island) to a dinette table? I thought I remember someone posting something like 5 feet. Would I be okay with 4'6" if there was plenty of walk room around the rest of the kitchen table (i.e. no walls/open to family room).

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 9:03PM
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We are tall and have tall family members. We just had our granite installed counter height and we did 20" overhang.
The island is 9' long and it looks fine.

We also did wider walkways. We tested it so we could walk comfortably past one another shoulder-to-shoulder.

You really have to figure out what works for how you live. Then incorporate your day-to-day dynamics into your floorplan flow. Well, maybe if you are OBSESSED with your kitchen!! LOL

Good luck!


    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 10:09PM
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Houseful...I think you'll probably be OK w/54" (4'6"). If you could mock it up somewhere and then have someone sit at the "table" and someone else at the "island" and then try to walk through it might give you a better idea. We have 53" and while it is a tight fit when someone is sitting at both the peninsula & table, usually it's just one or the other.

I had planned for a full 5', but we messed up w/the chandelier placement in the DR...w/o thinking we centered it on the "old" DR setup, not the the chandelier forces our table closer to the peninsula than we had planned. B/c of our tall family, the chandelier has to be over the table or we'd be hitting our heads on it! While I'd like to eventually move the chandelier, it involves more than just the hole in the ceiling for the also involves the 2 speakers that are equidistant from the chandelier! So, 3 things to move, 3 new holes to cut into the ceiling, & 3 holes to patch!

Ccat...a 20" overhang? Sounds wonderful! My DH would love it. We tried for 18" but all we could swing was 15"'s adequate for me & just barely for my DH.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2008 at 11:25PM
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Thanks, Buehl! On paper it looks just fine, but then there is reality, LOL! The mockup is a good idea. We'll definitely do that.

Sorry about your DR. No matter how much you plan, there is always some oversight. I am already prepared for that! :)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 11:33AM
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If you are using granite, remember that the more overhang you want, the more complicated the support structure under the granite will need to be.

I did a mock-up of mine and it really helped me see exactly how much space I will have. I ended up with 15" from the wall to the edge of the bar. There is a 2" overhang on the inside.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 12:21PM
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