ADVICE & TIPS, TECHNICAL

Kitchen Island Height Guidelines – Measurements Explained

Having an island as part of your kitchen design is one of the most requested features I get asked for. They can make your kitchen incredibly functional, add additional storage and create a real wow factor to your space.

With so many ways to create your perfect island, I often get asked about the ideal kitchen island height.

In this post, I’ll explain what the standard kitchen island height is, if it should be the same as the other countertops in your kitchen, as well as answer some common questions about the topic.

Let’s get into it!

What Is A Standard Kitchen Island Height?

The standard height for a kitchen island is 910mm (36 inches). This is measured from the floor to the top of the countertop.

Saying this, however, there isn’t really such a thing as a standard kitchen island height. The construction of the cabinets (plinth height and cabinet height) will vary between different manufacturers and kitchen ranges.

As well as this, the countertop thickness will vary depending on what you choose. These variations will all impact the final height of your kitchen island (or any part of your kitchen).

Not to mention the option of raising or lowering any part of your kitchen island to suit a particular seating or working need. Which we’ll get into a bit later.

So, while many kitchen island heights will fall under the ‘standard’ 910mm/36″, the reality is it can be whatever you like.

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Kitchen Island Height Diagram with measurements showing - What Is A Standard Kitchen Island Height
Kitchen Island Height Measurements Diagram

Should A Kitchen Island Be The Same Height As Your Countertop?

More often than not, your kitchen island will be the same height as the other countertops in your kitchen.

This creates the most workable and practical countertop space in your kitchen. With everything on the same level, it gives you the most space to spread out and doesn’t segment any areas of your countertop into smaller sections that aren’t as useable.

However, where this may be an exception is if you intentionally want to raise or lower the kitchen island countertop height to better suit your needs.

For example, if you are taller or shorter than average, raising or lowering the island countertop height can make the area more comfortable to work out. This means you’re not bending over slightly all the time (causing back pain) or standing on your tip-toes raising your arms slightly to work (causing shoulder pain).

You may also want to change the height to accommodate a particular type of seating such as bar height or dining table height.

TOP TIP: Raising or lowering the height of a kitchen island even just a few cm/inches can make a big impact ergonomically on your day-to-day use. You can impact the island height by choosing a taller/shorter plinth, cabinets or countertop thickness. It all adds up!

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What’s The Difference Between Counter Height And Bar Height?

Counter height is the same as your main kitchen countertop height, typically 910mm/36 inches. Whereas bar height will be taller, usually by 150mm/6 inches, making it 1060mm/42 inches overall.

However, this can vary from 100-200mm/4-8 inches (or more) depending on the users’ requirements and materials used.

Diagram explaining The Difference Between Counter Height And Bar-Height kitchen island worktops with measurements in cm and inches

Advantages Of A Counter Height Kitchen Island

  • Increased Workspace: One large surface to spread out and work on, giving more usable countertop space.

  • Sleek Design: Cleaner more streamlined look – can make a space feel larger.

  • More Accessible: The lower height makes it easier for children (or those shorter among us) to more comfortably sit at the kitchen island.

Disadvantages Of A Counter Height Kitchen Island

  • Nothin Hidden: Having the surface all one height doesn’t hide anything on the island – could look messy (especially if you have a sink on the island).

  • No Protection: There’s no barrier/protection from cooking splashes if you have a hob/cooktop on the island.

Advantages Of A Bar Height Kitchen Island

  • Hides Mess: Helps to conceal any clutter on the kitchen island – especially handy if the sink is on the island.

  • Splashguard: Acts as a barrier/backsplash if you have a hob/cooktop on the island.

  • Distinguish Zones: It can help to visually separate the kitchen area from the living/dining area if in an open-plan layout.

Disadvantages Of A Bar Height Kitchen Island

  • Uncomfortable Seating: The extra height can be difficult for children (or those shorter among us) to sit at. Stools can be quite tall and dangling legs can get uncomfortable.

  • Decreased Workspace: Segmenting the countertop with different heights can mean less usable countertop space.

TOP TIP: For counter-height seating, you should have a bar stool that is between 62-72cm to seat height. For bar-height seating, you should have a bar stool that is between 75-85cm to seat height.

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What Height Should A Kitchen Island With A Dining Table Be?

The standard height for a dining table section of a kitchen island should be 760mm/30 inches.

This may vary slightly between 710-810mm/28-32 inches depending on the user’s preference.

Usually, a kitchen island will incorporate a dining table section by dropping down to this lower height from the standard countertop height. You wouldn’t normally have an island all at dining table height. If that’s the case, just get a dining table.

760mm/30 inches is a popular dining table height and one that will accommodate the vast majority of dining chairs which are lower than counter stools and bar stools.

However, some kitchen island designs will use the countertop as a dining table by extending it. In this instance, you will need to have taller chairs (bar stools) to comfortably sit at this height (not your standard dining chairs).

You wouldn’t normally see a ‘formal’ dining area on a kitchen island at bar height.

Kitchen island with a built-in dining table at lower height
Kitchen Island With ‘Lowered’ Dining Seating Area

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FAQs

Are Kitchen Islands Counter Height Or Bar Height?

Both! Kitchen islands can be all countertop height or a combination of the two by including a bar height section to your kitchen island.

However, you wouldn’t normally have a kitchen island all set at a bar height as this wouldn’t be very practical to work at for general kitchen prep. And certainly wouldn’t be good if you wanted a sink or hob/cooktop on the island. (Maybe if you’re 8ft tall 😂)

What is the minimum height for an island?

There isn’t really a minimum height for a kitchen island.

While the standard island height is typically 91cm/36 inches tall, the height can vary based on specific needs and preferences.

Depending on your requirements or ergonomic needs, you might opt for a custom height. For instance, a person who is particularly short might want a lower island height that reduces strain during prolonged use.

Personally, I wouldn’t stray too far away from the standard height as it’s designed to cater to most people but it’s your kitchen, you can do what you like!

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about kitchen island heights and the different options out there.

There’s no right or wrong kitchen island height. The correct height is the one that suits your needs and design best.

Whether that’s a matching countertop height, a taller or shorter island height to suit your user experience or a mixed-height island to cater to the different uses and functions you want.

Happy designing!

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Author

Michael from Kitchinsider.com

Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.