I have had hundreds of hours of meetings throughout the years about the right height for countertops, tables, pendant lights and more. While some heights in the kitchen are standard, others may be specific to a client’s request. Here, I’ll share some of the more common heights and how they might affect your kitchen design decisions.
COUNTERTOPS. Kitchen counters are typically set at around 36 inches finished height including the countertop material, although I have set them at 37 or 38 inches for taller clients. The height for a bar or dual-level island is typically 42 to 43 inches. Another important thing to keep in mind is the space around the island, to allow for proper traffic flow. This should be a minimum of 30 to 36 inches whenever possible.
Note: Chef’s height matters. 36” standard.
HOODS. Kitchen hoods can be tricky, because each manufacturer can be different. The standard height is 30 to 36 inches above the countertop, but it’s important to consider your own height when standing in front of the hood. If the chef of the house is taller and needs extra room to avoid bumping their head, then consider a streamlined design without bulky details. Because the main function is to eliminate odors and food particles in the air, the hood must be mounted at a height that maximizes its effectiveness.
Note: Manufacturer’s heights vary.
STOOLS. Counter stools are standard at 24 inches. Bar stools are typically 30 inches. These two dimensions refer to the top of the seat to the floor. Counter and bar stools can be backless or have a seat back. Swivels are also available, as are adjustable height chairs. If you opt for a counter or barstool with arms, make sure the arm fits underneath the counter and clears any cabinet details. Please keep in mind that it is also important to take into account the width of barstools to ensure there is enough space for seating comfortably.
Note: Counter stools 24” standard. Barstools 30” standard.
ISLAND PENDANT LIGHTS. The length of pendants themselves may vary according to ceiling height, but typically I like to see pendants 40 to 43 inches above the finished countertop. I prefer a slightly higher pendant for no overhead distractions. While pendants are a nice accent to the room, they should not interfere with eye contact or conversation across the island. There are a number of factors that will influence the number of pendants over your island. One is the diameter and style of your pendant as this can vary quite a bit. Another important consideration is your island length and your lighting needs. Are you having recessed can lights in addition or is this the main light source in your kitchen? What is the overall dimension and size of your space to determine your lighting needs? While every project is different and unique I typically see two to four pendant lights used most often.
Note: Know your lighting needs. Diameters and length of island matters.
DINING TABLES. Table heights are a standard 30 inches tall. Some older, vintage tables can be slightly lower at 29 to 29½ inches. I think 30 inches is best, even for taller people. Dining chair seat height is typically 17 to 19 inches. Keep in mind that if you want armchairs, make sure to check any apron details on the table to ensure the chairs fit comfortably under the table. It is also very important to remember traffic flow and ensure there is enough room for foot traffic around your table and chairs. Ideally this would be a minimum of 30 to 36 inches.
Note: 30” standard. Table spacing is important to traffic flow.
While kitchen remodeling is a large endeavor for most, it is best to work with someone that sees the big picture and helps guide you through the process for a beautiful end result. Understanding how your kitchen functions, how you cook and prepare meals, how you entertain, and how your new kitchen seamlessly flows with the rest of the house are all important questions that should be considered. While many homeowners focus primarily on the major changes, the minor details can be all the difference.