What is a breakfast bar?
Breakfast bar styles
Breakfast bars are flexible by nature - there are so many design possibilities that they can fit into almost any space. Whatever size, shape or layout you're working with, there’s a kitchen breakfast bar idea for you.
If you’re lucky enough to have a large kitchen, you may already have an island in the middle to break up the floor space.
If not, it’s a possibility worth considering as a way to install a breakfast bar worktop as well as creating more countertop and cupboard space.
One of the most common approaches it to use half the kitchen island as a work surface and the other as a breakfast bar surface.
You can split the two areas with different worktop materials, or create more of a separation by elevating the bar slightly above the island surface.
Another option is to add a unit extending from the island, creating a T shape. This allows you to put stools on both sides of the bar for a more social feel, rather than diners sitting in a row.
If your u-shaped kitchen has one open side, place a set of stools along the outside of the counter to create an instant breakfast bar with no renovation work required.
To build a more styled look, fit a worktop counter that overhangs the unit to create the feel of a table; this will also give your diners a bit more legroom as they’ll be sat slightly away from the unit.
You don’t need tons of extra space to have a functioning breakfast bar!
Make your counters work harder for you by extending your countertop beyond the cabinet, creating a small ledge that should be big enough to accommodate two bar stools.
It can also help to separate the kitchen in an open plan living space, which is usually the top of an interior design list.
If you have an open plan living area and are concerned by the height of a breakfast bar, attach your ledge below the top of the counter on an outward-facing unit to create a bar that sits at the same level as a dining table, without taking up as much space.
A great idea for a galley kitchen is a wall-fixed table, which lets you squeeze a small eating space into even the narrowest space.
A small square or semi-circular table with curved edges will fill an otherwise wasted gap at the back or front of your kitchen, or you could replace part of one side of the galley with a long, slim bar.
To keep your space feeling open, install a floating peninsula that extends from one of your kitchen units.
The absence of a base unit will maintain a flow through your room, which is a particular benefit if your kitchen is small or the island is close to a key walkway.
Breakfast bar counters
Your breakfast bar is likely to become a busy focal point of your day-to-day kitchen life, so you want a material that is both durable and attractive, without requiring a lot of upkeep.
It may make sense to use the same material for your bar as for the rest of your kitchen worktops, but switching up your materials a bit can make your breakfast bar into a statement piece in the room.
Consider contrasting textures and colours to really make it stand out from the rest of your kitchen units, and playing with levels to separate your bar from the worktops.
Laminate has long been a popular choice for breakfast counters, as it’s adaptable, easy to clean, and affordable. It can mimic other materials and is available in a range of colours, which makes it a great choice for a statement breakfast bar at a low price.
Laminate can be easily stained or scratched, but as long as you keep your cooking separate from this area, it shouldn’t be hard to avoid damage.
A wooden counter gives the feel of a ‘butcher’s block’, perfect for contemporary country and farmhouse kitchens. Hardwood gives an immediate homey feel and is particularly impactful paired with white units.
Wooden counters do need regular oiling to stay looking their best and can acquire noticeable water ring marks, so invest in a smart set of coasters and placemats to protect the surface.
Quartz is a slight upgrade from laminate, with a beautiful finish and solid feel that give it a more luxurious feel. Available in a huge range of colours and textures, quartz is a flexible material to suit all kitchen styles.
Quartz is almost completely stain and scratch resistant, so it can be depended on to weather all the spills of everyday dining, from spaghetti to red wine!
Glass is the ultimate statement material for modern kitchens. It’s easy to clean and can be cut to the exact shape you need, which is useful for bespoke breakfast bar needs.
Glass counters are expensive, so if you’re looking for a statement glass feature that won’t break the bank, a smaller option could be the perfect solution.
However bear in mind that glass can crack under pressure or impact, so be sure to position your glass breakfast bar where the corners won’t protrude or be knocked.
Breakfast bar lighting
Time for finishing touches! Some stylish lights will draw the eye to your breakfast bar, as well as adding a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Here are a few of our favourite lighting ideas.
Pendant lights are the most popular lighting for breakfast bars, particularly due to their lengthways arrangement that so often echoes the shape of a counter. They not only illuminate the bar, but reflect light around the rest of the kitchen.
Consider whether you want clear or coloured pendants; clear lights are stylish without distracting attention from the bar itself, but coloured pendants can be a fun way to introduce accents of colour if you have a neutral decor scheme.
Ceiling spotlights are ideal for kitchens with low ceilings, where hanging lights may sit too low and feel oppressive overhead. Spotlights keep the bar bright, and are particularly effective in modern kitchens with reflective worktops like glass.
A truly show-stopping idea for a glass breakfast bar is to install LED lights underneath the glass, lighting the table from beneath for a cutting edge, modern look.
This can also work with solid materials if your breakfast bar has an overhang where you can place LEDs right along the edge on the counter underside.
Breakfast bar ideas for small kitchens
While at first glance it might seem challenging to fit, a breakfast bar can be invaluable in a small kitchen, providing opportunities for extra storage room and workspace as well as a dining area. Follow these top tips for incorporating a breakfast bar into your small kitchen.
Utilise the ends of your counters
If you have some spare room at one end of your worktop, pop a couple of stools around it and you have an instant bar spot! You can even install a worktop overhang to lengthen the bar a bit - consider a different material to your worktops to emphasise the dining area.
Add a slimline island
In an open plan small kitchen, there may be scope to add a kitchen island; this can double as a separator between the kitchen and living areas. A slimmer island takes up minimal space while offering a stylish eating spot and cupboard space.
A bar with drawers
A ledge-style breakfast bar can be improved by installing drawers below the table. Drawers will give the ledge a more solid look, and can store dining utensils for easy accessibility.
You should now be full of ideas for your new breakfast bar! Browse our ranges for extra design inspiration.