KD is trying to talk me out of counter-height kitchen table.

Kitten1313September 8, 2013

Is she right? I've mentioned before that we are having a "T" shaped double island, where the short part of the "T" is the main island sink, and the long part is the kitchen table.

The sink island will be about 2 inches higher than counter height and the table (which is a different material than the island and counter) will be standard counter height.

The comments she has are: 1) why are we connecting the table to the sink island? why not just make it a stand-alone table? and 2) make the table table height, not counter height.

Any thoughts about this?

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I've seen tables connected to islands and they were very attractive. that said, most were normal table height - lower than the main island. I personally would prefer this. I like to sit with my feet on the floor when I'm at the table for extended periods. I dont like sitting on tall barstools/seats. It gets uncomfortable. Hard for little kids too. Could that be the reason?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 9:31PM
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Possibly - we have 3 little kids, although they have NO problem climbing. :/

Our reasoning for having it counter height is that we entertain quite a bit and people ALWAYS congregate in the kitchen. The table will be a big part of the kitchen, so we figured it would make for more fluid socializing, etc. in there if everything were the same height.

Thanks for your thoughts.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 9:38PM
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They can still congregate around it and you can serve on it at conventional height, even if it is built onto the island.
(Remember that people serve off table height furniture all the time).

I agree with Karen that it is much more comfortable to sit at a table-height table, for longer periods of time. Even if you entertain every two weeks, that's 26 nights a year. That leaves 339 nights you aren't entertaining.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Good point, palimpsest. And we don't entertain THAT much!

I think my thought was always to have the table at regular table height, but my husband is very gung ho on the counter height and I don't know that I'll convince him otherwise. He is very tall, so counter height is comfortable for him. Once our 3 boys get tall, I'll be the only shorty in the house climbing up to eat dinner.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 9:53PM
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I don't find those counter-height tables/chairs to be very comfortable to sit in. I sure wouldn't want to sit at one every day. Craigslist always seems to have a lot of new/almost new counter-height tables and stools, which leads me to think that others have discovered the not-too-comfortable aspect a little too late.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 10:20PM
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Bah, we've had counter height for 4 years and its fine. I personally don't like sitting at the table for more than an hour or so as I don't like looking at dirty dishes. Our chairs are comfortable enough with pads. The real benefit is we can use the same chairs at our counter island and our table without needing two different sizes. This way we can use our island chairs as the extra chairs when we expand our table(s). Yes we have TWO counter height tables so we can go from 8 people to 12 people if we want. 8 chairs normally at table and 4 at island.
We DO entertain so this is important to us.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 11:25PM
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Forget the KD - it is just their opinion. Our contractor's KD tried to talk us out of several thing - thank goodness I didn't listen to him. I did most of our design (based on mpagmom's from GW) and worked with a wonderful KD at the local Lowes ... and they ended up getting my money vs the contractor's KD.

will2kz - fabulous and functional!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 4:42AM
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I guess it really comes down mostly to whether you like to put your feet on the floor or not.

We sit at the table long after the dishes are done, or when there are no dishes to be done, so maybe we sit at the table when most people are sitting in a family room or something, but we don't really watch TV when we are all together.

I think the chair flexibility works both ways. If you have lots of counter height seating you have lots of counter height chairs. But if you don't where do the extra chairs come from? Our kitchen table has 5 chairs around it, there are six available, and eight more card table chairs if we put all the leaves in the table and cram people around it. If you have 14 counter height chairs, that would work, too.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 7:56AM
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I don't like sitting at them either. It's also not visually appealing to me, too far off the floor.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 8:05AM
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At 31" my dining table is slightly higher than standard and I can say it took quite a while to get used to it. At 9 and 6, the kids still look like they're shoveling food into their mouths. And I imagine that's what I would look like if I tried to sit at a 36" counter with standard chairs.

I definitely see the advantage of counter height for entertaining. So much more comfortable for guests milling around if food is at a raised level. Also, conversation is much more comfortable between guests if one is standing and one is sitting. That's why the tables in the bar area of a restaurant are high tops.

But if you anticipate this being your primary table for a sit-down dinner then I think the guests will be happier at a standard table height.

This post was edited by foodonastump on Mon, Sep 9, 13 at 9:08

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:03AM
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Circus Peanut

Besides the question of seating comfort, there is also the functional question of using the table as a working space. If you are a baker, you probably know that it's easier to knead and work dough, etc, on a lower surface than the average countertop -- particularly if you're a bit shorter than average.

So you might also consider whether a table-height table could provide you some additional functional cooking value you wouldn't have otherwise?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:35AM
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Counter height is only comfortable for short periods. There will be no lingering over meals, sharing the day's events when you're perched with your feet off of the floor. It's fine for a quick breakfast of cereal on your way out the door, or to make a quick wrap for lunch, but for dinner, I'd want to eat elsewhere. If this is your main eating area instead of just the breakfast and snack area, then I'd listen to the KD. And I personally prefer the versatility of a regular table just pulled up to the island rather than something permanently attached. You have the possibility of pulling it out and having more seats there. It's more versatile and multi function when it's not permanently affixed.

The best way is to judge for yourself. Buy a couple of counter height stools and a table. Maybe off of Craigslist or a store that has a liberal return policy. Try to have a along family meal there with the kids. I'd bet that the back of your legs will be bothering you by the time that hour+ is over. And the kids will be squirmier than usual with no where to put their feet.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 9:42AM
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Thank you everyone. I'm so indecisive and don't have any "vision" so it's hard for me to conceptualize.

This is the table where we will eat all of our meals. It will also be used as a homework table for the kids while I make dinner, but it will not be used as a kitchen prep space.

I should mention that we do have a "formal" dining room with a table that seats 12, so should we host a holiday dinner or an adult sit down dinner, we do have a more traditional option.

On the other hand, the new kitchen will be open to the family room, and my husband envisions sitting at the table eating lunch, watching a football game. If counter height isn't comfortable for that....

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:07AM
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You didn't mention whether your room height was 8ft or like will2kz who appears to have 9-10 ft. ceilings in a huge room. That makes a difference in how objects look in your room. A room with lots of space, high ceilings can accommodate the proportions of the counter height table. Smaller kitchens cannot. The idea of sitting at the table for a meal and being next to the kitchen sink is a deal breaker for me.

I personally don't like the pub table concept, not only because I find sitting on a stool uncomfortable, but because I have people of all ages and sizes sitting at my table. I don't want guest to feel awkward if they cannot get in and out of the chairs/stools easily.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:20AM
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I think the best solution would be a free-standing wooden table at counter height so you can change it or trim the legs when your husband comes around. lol! I agree with most others that counter height is not conducive to long cozy dinners. And with 3 young children, you probably don't want long cozy dinners-- but when those little boys become little men, you will be grateful for ANYTHING that keeps them sitting around and talking to mom & dad. Ask me how I know. ;-)

A table gives you the most flexibility. That's probably what your KD is trying to convey.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:28AM
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Good point about the ceiling height! I had not even thought of that. Our ceilings are low (8'2") and on top of that, we will have some wood beams running across, further lowering the ceiling height.

I remember why we wanted the table attached - so that no one would have their back to the main kitchen area. By having it attached, the kids would sit at the table and be forced to watch me cook or wash dishes. lol

My KD also said we could do an unattached table but push it up, or slightly under the island, and pull it out if we need it.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:38AM
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I agree with the KD---pub tables are not comfortable. My SIL has barstools in her kitchen and I never sit on them...I am short..so hard to hop up there for one, plus dangling legs, etc..

If you do decide on a counter height--make it free-standing so you can change it if you don't like it....if it's permanent, you're stuck.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 10:39AM
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It will also be used as a homework table for the kids while I make dinner

I don't think the children will be comfortable enough to really focus on their homework.

Counter-height tables are trendy, and have moved into homes from the coffee house and bar decor - but if they really worked as domestic furniture, they would have been common far earlier.

There is a REAL advantage to a bar or coffeeshop having seating that's comfortable for a short time and increasingly uncomfortable ... it makes the customers order, eat and then want to leave. If they were too comfortable they'd stay and take up space without producing revenue. it's called "turnover" and bars want it.

Have the DH go to someplace that has counter-height tables with the kind of stool you are thinking about and watch an afternoon of football. How does he like it?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:00AM
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My girlfriend has her kitchen seating adjacent to the island and it is counter height. Even though I am tall, I don't care for it. It is not comfortable, even though she has upholstered chairs with backs. My legs start falling asleep after awhile!

She often serves dinner there, even though she has a perfectly good dining room steps away. I want to say, "can we please eat in the dining room!"

Also, I wouldn't design a kitchen around entertaining. If the food is good and the conversation lively, people will have fun anywhere. A kitchen should be about the way you want to live, day to day. IMHO of course:)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:44AM
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Solution - get DH a pub table for one, and a real table for the rest of you! (I don't even like sitting at pub tables in pubs. I find dangling feet to be very unpleasant).

Just a side question - is there an advantage to connecting of table-height-table to an island? It's never appealed to me over a free-standing table.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:47AM
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We are looking at doing something similar, but the short part is the seating area and the long part is my prep island.

I had similar feelings to you about that fact that no one ever sits at my table when we have a party but we hang around my counter peninsula which had not seating.

I want the two islands to feel connected. I have actually been sitting at a 36" counter height table to plan my kitchen in the design space. I've found it comfortable and not an issue to work at. I've sat there for hours at a time. I've had my kids get up on the stools too to see how it would look and it seems to work for them.

Good luck in your decision.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 12:39PM
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I'd design the sink/island as you please...and then push a heavy table (pub or counter height) with stools up to it. If you don't like it, you can change it. Or start with a lower table and get a pub height, when the boys get older. I've always liked this picture :) From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 12:42PM
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I find counter height tables uncomfortable for even a few minutes. I like for my feet to touch the floor. I detest trying to serve even a small meal at my counter height island. Only my younger children eat at my island.

Next house I may eliminate island seating altogether. Definitely will not do counter height table. I think those of us who do not like raised seating are older. I am in my 50s.

Wonderful little lunch/pub that middle dd and I frequent. She always wants to go to the tables that are raised and I want the lower booths.

I sat on a jury this summer and my seat was too high and could not be adjusted down. I spent almost two weeks feeling like Edith Anne from Laugh In. Very uncomfortable.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 3:02PM
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We have a high table as our kitchen table (Crate & Barrel Basque line 'pub table'.) It was one of the only things my late DH asked for when we did our reno.

I'm now the shorty at 5'11" -- DD is 6' and DS is 6'4" and growing. So I love my tall counters, but to be honest I'm just OK with the pub table. I would prefer to put my feet on the floor. My mom is only about 5'4" and it's not as comfortable for her as a regular table height.

It might help if you could go try one out at a furniture showroom and see how it feels (sit in the chairs, get up and sit down at the table a few times, etc.)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 4:48PM
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You are getting some good advice here.

My least favorite spot to eat a meal in the kitchen is the kitchen eating bar. It is okay for a quick snack or serving drinks and/or appetizers to the guests while the hosts are working in the kitchen; however, a kitchen eating bar is a poor substitute for a kitchen table and chairs when it comes to family meals, doing homework and paying the bills. If you only have space for one item, go with the kitchen table and chairs. You won't regret it and I only wish I'd been as smart as you were to ask this question of others in order to profit from their experiences.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 4:58PM
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We had the same dilemma when we decide to go with a "T" shape island. We ultimately decided to go with table height. Glad we made that choice. We eat meals and our kids(two 6 year old) do their homework at the table. And the kids are able to watch and sometimes help mom in the kitchen.


    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 5:25PM
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Just to throw in a different idea here: could you somehow do both? A pub style table to eat at when you are grabbing a quick snack or surfing the web (that is what I'm doing now :-) ), a regular table for family meals...for people with physical challenges - it depends on what those challenges are as to whether or not a regular table will be comfortable. I have knee problems, for instance. If I sit in a regular chair for long, my knees get stiff. Of course, rising from a regular chair can be a serious ordeal; for that reason, pub style chairs are often more comfortable and doable for me....as for the issue of dangling legs - of people, I mean, not chairs! - some chairs have footrests, you know.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 6:03PM
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Thank you everyone for your thoughtful advice and ideas.

Spent a lot of time with my KD (who is also a friend, but has DEFINITE ideas about what she does and doesn't like) and I"m pretty sure we are going to stick with our original plan of counter height, attached table. Testing it out with a plywood mock up now, but so far I like it. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Choice made then. It's always nice to see people check their options and then go for what they really want.

As someone suggested, you could always detach and/or cut it down if you ever wished to. Probably not, but saving extra tile and trim would make the usual good sense should you ever decide to rearrange, whatever the height.

Others, it's been rather eye-opening to see how many people don't find this very comfortable, even tall ones. At 5'2" I didn't weigh in with how much I dislike perching over relaxing into a chair because these days it seems most people top me by at least a head, if not shoulders too, and I thought this might have become mostly a "personal" problem. Like the typical new dining chair AMAF. :)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2013 at 1:25PM
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One caution - do you have parents who visit? My mother and in-laws will not sit at my counter-height peninsula b/c it is too uncomfortable for them. This type of seating is not comfortable for older people. At the very least, eat your meals in the DR when you have them over so they aren't miserable during the meal.

I understand you've made your decision - but I wanted to bring this up b/c I don't think you would want your family feeling/thinking like rosylady....at least I wouldn't.

BTW...we are a tall family (5'10" to 6'6") and we all prefer table-height seating for meals, etc. We use the peninsula for quick meals, snacks, and similar, but never for normal meals. I guess we're not bar people...

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 1:34AM
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