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Our guide to Kitchen Breakfast Bars

A breakfast bar is a great feature in any kitchen and surprisingly, even the most modest of kitchen spaces can usually accommodate one. Furthermore, if you do decide to integrate a breakfast bar into your new kitchen, it’s unlikely it will be used for breakfast and breakfast alone… From the ideal spot to perch with a cuppa to somewhere the kids can do their homework after school, a breakfast bar serves a multitude of purposes.

So, what should you think about when planning your Kitchen Breakfast Bars? And most importantly, what are the best materials for a breakfast bar? Some of the best breakfast bars are those that are incorporated into a larger kitchen island. Typically, the island will be split level – with the breakfast bar being higher, or lower, than the rest of the island’s surface area. This is an effective way of ‘zoning’ the breakfast bar away from the island.

Whether your breakfast bar is sited on the short – or long – end of your kitchen island is, of course, entirely up to you. However, do give some consideration to the flow of footfall around your kitchen – if you’re planning on using your bar for children’s breakfasts and suppers – it’s essential to ensure they’ll be eating out of the way – and not in the line of bubbling pots and pans. Similarly, if you’re planning on seating friends at the bar whilst you cook, keep them away from hobs, griddles or other such cook tops. It’s great to chat as you cook – but no one wants to sit within a haze of cooking smoke.

If you have a smaller kitchen, but hanker after a spot to sit – with a coffee, juice or light lunch – a breakfast bar could be perfect. Go café or bistro style and slot in a higher surface – with luxe, bar stool style seating. We promise you, it can be done in the smallest of spaces and a clever worktop fabricator might even be able to make you a surface that can be folded up or down as it is required.

And so to materials. Invariably, your breakfast bar will work hard, day-in, day-out – so a durable surface that will wear well and that is easy to keep clean is a must. In the past, laminates were often used for breakfast bars, but more recently, quartz has supplanted laminate – not to mention many other types of worktops – and, with its solid, yet aesthetically appealing composition, it’s not difficult to understand why.

The best quartzes are manufactured from at least 90% natural materials – and they’re an investment that will serve you well. Completely non-porous, they can be used safely around wet areas. They’re also largely stain and scratch resistant. So, if that after-work glass of red ends up being sploshed over your breakfast bar, there’s really no need to worry. Similarly, even the messiest of children’s teas – spaghetti hoops, squeezy cheese and ketchup included – really shouldn’t pose a problem. In fact, quartz – unlike wood or some other natural surfaces – will look as good as new again with a spritz of warm, soapy water.

Of course, if you’re integrating your kitchen breakfast bar into a kitchen island, you can opt to use exactly the same surface material. The case for doing this is a lovely, sophisticated streamlined effect. However, if you’re opting for a split-level or cantilevered design of breakfast bar – as referenced earlier – why not choose a slightly different, contrasting surface? Even going a few shades lighter or darker can make a really eye-catching impact – and will firmly set your breakfast bar away from the rest of the island.

Beyond planning your kitchen breakfast bars surface, it also pays dividends to give some thought to the cabinetry or storage below. Built-in cupboard space and drawers below a breakfast bar are perfect for…yes, you’ve guessed…breakfast cereals, breads, and even – if you’re lucky enough to have the space – an integrated fridge for keeping perfectly chilled drinks to hand.

Don’t forget technology and convenience, either. If you’re likely to sit at your kitchen breakfast bar with your iPad in front of you, make sure you have some power sockets for charging built into your bar’s design. Lighting yet another way to make your breakfast bar stand out. Under lighting the edge of the bar can look extremely effective, as can tiny LED star lights.

Ultimately, the choices are all yours – but choose carefully – and it’s likely you’ll wonder how your kitchen ever really functioned without the convenience and extra space a breakfast bar affords.

Use our visualiser to try out new kitchen design ideas >>