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Kitchen Island Overhang

January 11, 2019
last modified: January 11, 2019

For a counter height island 36" (5' island), what is the right amount of overhang should I have? I'm 6'2 and wouldnt want to feel cramped but I'm planning to have two stools there to eat for quick snacks/lunch etc. Would 12" be sufficient or would 15" be recommended?

Comments (14)

  • iamtiramisu
    12” will be tight, especially since you’re tall. For a 36” height, 15” is the minimum recommended overhang.
  • PRO
    Duncan's Creative Kitchens

    I think 12" is sufficient at a 36" counter height for light use. 15" deep will necessitate some additional support for the counter as well, which can get in the way of your knees.

  • iamtiramisu
    We were going to do 12” and it’s fine for occasional/quick use, but for sitting, eating a meal and/or hanging out for more than a few minutes, it’s not comfortable and increases the chance of damage to the counter due to kicking, hitting with feet. Also limits your stool choices to narrow seats and/or backless due to space constraints for pushing them in under the overhang. Backless stools are NOT comfortable. After experiencing/taking note of all these things at a friend’s house, we promptly increased the overhang to the NKBA minimum recommended 15” - it’s recommended to be 15” for a reason. Using hidden steel support brackets eliminates any concerns of reducing leg/chair space, several companies make them but we used the ones from “the original granite bracket” and are very pleased with them.
  • spisland

    I have a 12" overhang that was here before we moved in. It's quite unfortunate. It only gets used for extra counter surface while I'm cooking. Other than that, a few decorative items can be placed there.

    I would definitely need a 15" overhang to use it for eating. I'm only 5'4" and still find 12" a bit too shallow for my knees.

  • PRO
    Carolina Kitchen & Bath

    Either 12" or 15" will require extra support. If you have the room, do 15" because you'll be grateful for the knee room.

  • Jim

    So here is the next dilemma, the island is pretty close to the dining room (space between island and dining room is about 12"). So unless I move the island up, you would be sitting in the dining room with a 15" overhang. Would that be weird, I would think you would sit in the kitchen area? Since the wiring is already set, that's as far as they can move the island. So should I go without a overhang or just move the island up and drill a hole for a new outlet if that is even possible?

    The distance between the stove and island is currently 66".

  • Laura

    If it is right next to the dining room I think seating would be redundant and cluttered. I'd skip the overhang for seating there.

    Jim thanked Laura
  • Buehl - We Want SW Back Unconditionally

    If you don't have the space for a functional overhang, then you don't have space for an island with seating.

    Yes, I know, an island with seating is all the rage. However, cramming it into too-small a space is not recommended.

    If you're tall, 15" might not even be enough. I know that my 6'5" DH with short legs does not find our 15" overhang all that comfortable. He has to "straddle" the peninsula or sit sideways. He'll do it for short periods, but that's it. He rarely sits there and, over time, he sits there less and less b/c it's just too uncomfortable. At 5'10", I find the 15" just barely enough -- my knees just touch the back of the peninsula when I sit straight. If I had it to do over, I would probably have put in an 18" overhang.

    Laura has a point -- do you really need seating at the island with the Dining Room right there?

    Why not put in 12" deep cabinets along the back instead. That would be a lot of storage!

    And, yes, you do need support for both 12" and 15" overhangs. (See the Stone Information and Advice (& Checklists) thread for more information.)

    Jim thanked Buehl - We Want SW Back Unconditionally
  • spisland

    I suppose the only other thing you could do is take advantage of the fact that this island cabinetry is not housing a stove or sink or dishwasher. Could you use that cabinetry elsewhere in the home or even in the garage? If so, then maybe consider an 18" cabinet, (or if you have enough leeway, maybe a little larger?) You could probably do a true usable overhang if you were to minimize the depth of the cabinet, even sitting in the exact place. Or so I wonder...

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    I do not think you have any space for an overhang on the DR side of the island since you have 66” on the stove side I would think maybe you could do something there BTW 66” is too big of a walkway usually, maybe post the floor plan.

  • PRO
    The Cook's Kitchen

    A 66” aisle? Why so big? That’s way larger than recommended for a working aisle. 48” is plenty for that. That 18” needs to go between the island and family room.

  • Jim

    I'm am worried as well about the space between the Refrigerator and island which is about 36"-42". I have a full size Refrigerator and if for any reason I had to do maintenance on it will I have enough clearance to remove it?

  • PRO
    Anthony Perez

    Jim. 15" is better that 12, What concerns me is that all of this things have to be resolved on the planning stages, before anything is ordered, this way you avoid mistakes in planing and any other surprises, people in general underestimate the value of a kitchen designer until they have to figure things out with cabinets ordered, or installed

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