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What is a breakfast bar?

Breakfast bars are extended worktops used in kitchen designs that create a casual dining and seating area - usually the perfect place to have breakfast in your home.

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 room layout you're working with, there’s a kitchen breakfast bar idea for you.

Kitchen island breakfast bars

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, you might want to consider adding a kitchen island to your space, and installing a breakfast bar countertop.

This is a great option for busy family kitchens (or for anyone who likes to entertain!), as this will give you more counter space for preparing food, more places to sit, and more cupboard space.

A popular way to use a kitchen island is to use half of the space as a work surface, and the other half as a breakfast bar.

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.

Breakfast Bar Island
Instagram: @mackintoshkitchens

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, so diners don't have to all sit in a row.

U-shaped kitchens

If you have a u-shaped kitchen with one open side, place a set of stools along the outside of the counter. This will create an instant breakfast bar with no renovation work required.

For 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 leg room as they’ll be sat slightly away from the unit.

Breakfast Bar U Shaped Kitchen
Instagram: @ashford_kitchens

Counter ledges

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's big enough to fit two bar stools.

Make sure the ledge extends far enough that you can comfortably sit there - you don't want to be too close to the unit!

Creating a breakfast bar will also help to define the space in an open plan home.

It will make a clear line of separation between the kitchen diner and living area. But adding seating to the counter space will prevent it feeling closed off, and maintain the social element of an open plan design.

Breakfast Bar Ledge

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.

Wall-fixed tables

A great idea for a galley kitchen is a wall-fixed table.

Wall-fixed tables are sleek, stylish and functional. And this option lets you squeeze a small breakfast bar into even the narrowest space.

A small square, rectangular or semi-circular table with curved edges is perfect for filling space at the front or back of your kitchen that would otherwise be wasted.

Or, if you have quite a long galley kitchen, consider replacing some of the counters on one side with a long, slim bar table.

Breakfast Bar Wall Fixed Table
Instagram: @xlittlegreyflatx

Floating bars

To keep your space feeling open, why not install a floating bar that extends from one of your kitchen counters?

Floating bars don't have a base unit underneath. They allow the light to flow through the room, keeping the space bright and open.

Floating bar tables are ideal for smaller kitchens, rooms that may get less light, or for if your kitchen island is close to a door or walkway.

Breakfast Bar Floating Bar
Instagram: @mackintoshkitchens

Breakfast bar countertops

Your breakfast bar is likely to become a busy focal point of your day-to-day kitchen life. So you want to choose a worktop material that is both durable and attractive - that doesn't need a lot of upkeep.

You may want to use the same material for your bar as for the rest of your kitchen worktops for a seamless, cohesive look.

However, switching up the material or the colour can help make your breakfast bar into a great statement piece for the room.

Consider contrasting textures and colours to really make it stand out from the rest of your kitchen units. For example, if you have all granite worktops, why not try a wood bar top?

Or play with levels to separate your bar from the worktop. Setting your bar table at a different height to the counter will help to define the space, and keep food prep and dining areas separate.

Laminate counters

Laminate has long been a popular choice for breakfast counters, as it’s adaptable, easy to clean, and affordable.

Laminate can mimic other materials and is available in a range of colours, making it a great choice for a statement breakfast bar at a low price.

Breakfast Bar Laminate
Instagram: @ashford_kitchens

Laminate can be easily stained or scratched. So it might not be the best option, depending on how you plan to use the space.

However, as long as you do the cooking away from this area, it shouldn’t be hard to keep your bar top looking fresh and clean.

Hardwood counters

A wooden counter gives the feel of a ‘butcher’s block’ - perfect for contemporary country and farmhouse kitchens.

Hardwood gives an immediate homey, cosy feel. And it's great for adding some warmth to a white kitchen.

Breakfast Bar Hardwood
Instagram: @spillerskitchens

If you want to keep your wooden counters looking their best, they do require a little care.

Oil your wood counter regularly, and invest in a smart set of coasters and placemats to protect the surface and prevent water marks.

Quartz counters

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 that suits all kitchen styles.

Breakfast Bar Quartz
Instagram: @ashford_kitchens

Quartz is almost completely stain and scratch resistant, making it the perfect choice for bus family homes.

You can rely on your quartz breakfast bar to withstand all the spills of everyday dining - from spaghetti to red wine!

Glass counters

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 great 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!

Draw the eye towards your breakfast bar and make it a real focal point of the room with some stylish lighting. Some well placed lights will also add a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Here are a few of our favourite lighting ideas.

Pendant lights

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.

Breakfast Bar Pendants
Instagram: @lamourinteriors

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.

Breakfast Bar Spotlights
Instagram: @atlantiskitchensltd

Underglass lighting

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.

A breakfast bar provides 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.

Breakfast Bar Counter Overhang
Instagram: @atlantiskitchensltd

Add a slimline island

In a small open plan 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.

Breakfast Bar Slimline Island
Instagram: @sheratonkitchens

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.