ADVICE & TIPS, TECHNICAL

Kitchen Worktop Overhangs – Everything Explained

Not sure how much your countertop should overhang for a seating area or in front of your cabinets? The world of worktop overhangs can be a bit of a confusing one.

In this post, I’ve gathered all the questions I get asked about this topic and I’ll answer everything you need to know about worktop overhangs.

Let’s get into it!

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What Is A Worktop Overhang?

A worktop overhang refers to the portion of a worktop that extends beyond the edge of the base units it is installed on.

This feature is not only aesthetic, contributing to the overall design and finish of a kitchen, but it also serves the practical purpose of protecting the cabinet fronts from spills and crumbs.

Just so we’re all on the same page 👍

What is the standard overhang for kitchen countertops?

The standard overhang in front of kitchen cabinets is approximately 20-30mm (1 inch).

However, the exact amount the worktop overhangs the front of your cabinets can vary, usually, from 5mm – 40mm.

Typically, more contemporary or handleless style kitchens will have a smaller overhang of 5mm – 10mm to give a sleek, flush appearance.

For handleless kitchens, it also makes it easier to get your fingers in the door grooves without grinding your knuckles.

Whereas more traditional kitchens tend to have a larger overhang of 20mm – 40mm and may have a more detailed front edge shape to the worktop.

Kitchen worktop overhang - Contemporary kitchen design with a 5mm overhang
Contemporary-style kitchen with a 5mm overhang on the front edge

How Much Should A Worktop Overhang For Seating?

A worktop should overhang at least 20cm (8 inches) for bar stool seating.

This allows enough room to comfortably get your knees tucked underneath the worktop without constantly bashing them on the cabinets or end panel below.

If possible, I always recommend a 25-30cm (10 -12 inches) overhang to maximise comfort and cater to taller individuals.

It just gives that little bit more room and movement when sitting at the worktop.

Kitchen worktop overhangs diagram

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How Far Can A Worktop Overhang Without A Support?

Typically worktops can overhang between 20 – 30cm without the need for additional supports.

The exact amount will vary depending on the material the worktop is made of and the thickness of that material.

If the worktop overhang is greater than the recommended depth you run the risk of snapping or cracking the worktop if too much weight or pressure is applied to the overhang.

A general guide for unsupported overhang depths for popular solid surface countertops, such as quartz, granite, marble and porcelain is:

  • 12mm thick = 20cm (8 inches)
  • 20mm thick = 25cm (10 inches)
  • 30mm thick = 30cm (12 inches)

Additionally, the proportion of the countertop overhang is an important factor. As a guide, I recommend that the overhang is not more than 30% of the countertop’s total depth, ensuring that the other 70% is securely anchored by the cabinetry.

Diagram showing a Kitchen island with a 30cm overhang at the back for seating

How Do You Support A Worktop Overhang?

If you want a deeper than average worktop overhang you will need to install some supports. This will usually be in the form of L-brackets, corbels or legs.

These can be in the form of thin, flat and discrete L-brackets to larger, ornate corbels or even timber/metal legs. It all depends on your kitchen design and aesthetic choice.

When using supports make sure the bracket can hold the appropriate weight of the worktop overhang and run the supports to at least 10cm (4 inches) away from the front edge of the worktop overhang to give adequate support right up to the edge.

Ornate timber corbels used to support a deeper worktop overhang
Ornate timber corbels used to support a deeper worktop overhang

FAQs

What Is The Average Overhang On A Kitchen Island?

The average worktop overhang on a kitchen island for seating is between 20 – 30cm (7-12 inches).

This gives sufficient space to comfortably sit at the kitchen worktop and get your knees tucked underneath.

This is also the average overhang depth (depending on the worktop material) you don’t need any additional supports installed.

Do Worktops Overhang Kitchen Cabinets?

Yes. Your worktop should overhang the front (and any exposed side) of your kitchen cabinets.

This is so any drips or crumbs falling off the worktop will clear the cabinet and fall to the floor. Avoiding any damage to your cabinets and cabinet doors.

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about worktop overhangs!

Whether you’re opting for a minimalist look or need a practical setup for bar-style seating, you now know the essentials to ensure your worktop not only looks great but functions perfectly in your space.

Remember, the key is balancing aesthetic appeal with structural integrity. So plan your overhangs wisely to create a kitchen that’s as sturdy as it is stylish.

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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.