A Standard Kitchen Counter Height for Your Next Revamp

FeastHome – You probably will not think about standard kitchen counter height in a daily scenario. However, when it is time for renovation, this part will be something to take into account.

To this end, the following article will help to show you some tips for achieving a balance between this key measurement and your unique requirement.

Standard Counter Height for Your Kitchen


For a kitchen, the typical height is 36 inches above your floor. If you wish to create an island with a bar-style seating design, it can be designed as high as 42 inches.

Now the question is: what is the ground of this standard measurement? Just like other design standards, there are some essential reasons behind it.

First, this standard kitchen counter height can maximize ergonomics. Hence, an adult who is averagely 5’10” tall for men and 5’4’ tall for women can perform a variety of tasks on the countertop.

Second, since the measurement follows usual installation standards, you will find it is easier to proceed with your renovation procedure.

Then, following this standard measurement will not cost much money for customization as well.

For instance, most kitchen base cabinet manufacturers tend to design their products 34.5 inches tall. Meanwhile, the standard thickness of countertops is 1.5 inches.

In this view, the two options will provide you with the standard kitchen counter height of 36 inches without costing too much.

Exceptions to the Rule of Standard Kitchen Counter Height

Kitchen Counter Ideal Height

If you are working with custom designs, it is very common to find deviations from the above standard. Besides, there is nothing new for every design rule to come with exceptions.

For this reason, you will like to check the following guideline to create smart custom solutions for your unique design.

Exceptional Applications and Design Choices

Kitchen Counter Ideal Height

Most homeowners opt for the best ergonomic height that mirrors what a user of typical height will need. Hence, they tend to go with the rule “form follows function.”

However, there can be a time when you want to add a statement in your kitchen.

For example, you may like to go taller and wave the standard kitchen counter height to provide an extravagant look. To this end, many designers will customize it as high as 39 inches.

You can find other examples of custom applications in commercial environments. To create a statement or make an imposing atmosphere, companies may build their kitchen counter as high as 45 inches.

Keep in mind that there are still building codes to take into account. That is why smart designers are likely to follow local accessibility laws before getting too daring with their commercial counter heights.

  • Physical Needs
Kitchen Counter Ideal Height

Not only to make a statement, but homeowners also tend to turn aside the standard counter height by considering those with special physical needs.

In commercial applications, a lot of designers improve accessibility by creating a dedicated surface that is shorter than usual.

When designing a home, you actually have much flexibility to deal with this issue. Try to build the counter as high as 34 inches to make it accessible for wheelchairs.

Meanwhile, if you are abnormally tall, simply buck the standard kitchen counter height. Just feel free to make your counter height based on what you need.

Nevertheless, you may find it is hard to make stock cabinets work in your special design. Luckily, custom ones are easy to get nowadays, although costly.

How to Properly Measure Your Counter Height

Standard Kitchen Counter Height

Despite the well-known standard above, you may require different measurements to meet your unique preferences.

To make sure that you get a comfortable work surface in the kitchen, try to stand up straight and bend your arms like the way you chop something on a cutting board.

Then, measure the height that is comfortable for you. Ideally, the countertops will be between three and four inches beneath your bent elbow.

If any family member with special needs wishes to use the kitchen as well, you can try to measure them by a similar approach.

Good Reasons to Stick with Standard kitchen counter height

Standard Kitchen Counter Height

Sometimes there is no harm in customizing your countertop dimension to meet your unique needs and preferences.

However, you should never forget that it is important to keep the potential sale of your home in mind when choosing kitchen counter height.

In case you have particular physical considerations, your main concern must be selecting a height of countertop that meets the needs.

However, when it comes to more favored and creative circumstances, be wise to take your potential buyers in the future into account.

This makes another good reason to stick to the standard kitchen counter height instead of custom it. Thus, you will not face any problems with future buyers.

If you pick a custom counter height, your buyers probably have to reconfigure the surfaces. Otherwise, they may use this unusual specification as their reason to negotiate a lower price possible.

In other words, the future sale of your house can be affected by differences from the standard kitchen’s norm.

Meanwhile, if you created your kitchen in a standard design, you may find it as an insignificant issue for your future house sale.

Other Key Measurements around Your Kitchen Counter

Kitchen Counter Ideal Height

You already know that starting from standard measurements always works when it comes to designing a kitchen counter.

Aside from making sure that the countertop is not too low or too high, you should keep in mind other key measurements to create a comfortable place for cooking.

  • Get the proper countertop width


The width of your countertop refers to how deep it is from front to back. While the standard is 24 inches, the proper counter depth may vary based on the depths of your appliance and your size.

Moreover, the details of your cabinetry and backsplash can also affect this measurement. Many suppliers offer countertops in this standard width to fit over the usual 24-inch-deep base cabinets.

Just make sure to read the fine print or the product labeling to discover the precise size of what you will buy.

Consider bringing a tape measure with you when visiting a home improvement store. This way, you can be sure that the size is just right.

  • Determine the proper length and thickness

Standard Kitchen Counter Height

Talking about the standard kitchen counter height will not be perfect without knowing the appropriate length and thickness of this worktop.

Typically, home improvement stores provide pre-cut countertops in several standard lengths including 4, 8, and 10 feet.

Meanwhile, the thickness of your kitchen counter will vary depending on its material. Mostly, the range is around 1 inch to 1.5 inches.

Real stone like marble and quartz are likely to be heavier than other materials, such as wood or laminate ones.

Thus, the standard thickness of countertops in this material is between ¾ inch and 1 and quarter inches.

  • Have proper circulation space


If you have a kitchen island, a galley layout, or a U-shaped design, creating a proper circulation space between the countertops is very important.

Make sure to design it 48 inches at the least. This way you will have sufficient room to open your refrigerator, cabinet doors, and oven.

Keep in mind that your standard kitchen counter height will be a lot practical if you provide enough space for moving around as well.

You should never make the space between countertops wider than 64 inches since it will end up too big and the efficiency during meal prep may reduce.

  • Create proper triangle sizing and shelving clearance


Do you remember the kitchen work triangle? If you want to boost its efficiency, make sure to make the sum of its three sides does not go beyond 276 inches.

In addition, it is also necessary to get a proper upper cabinet or shelving clearance to support the standard kitchen counter height.

The distance between the counter and the bottom of the shelves or cabinets must be around 15 to 20 inches.

If the distance is lower than this measurement, this is possible to obstruct your worktop. You may end up struggling to find room for a blender or coffee maker too.

Meanwhile, if you situate the shelving or cabinetry higher than the above standard, it will be hard to each your upper shelves.

Read this: Standard Kitchen Cabinet Sizes: Get the Right Number for You

  • Have proper stove-side counter space

Kitchen Counter Ideal Height

Dedicate minimally 12 inches of your countertop on at least one side of the stovetop. This provides you with space to put kitchen tools or ingredients while cooking.

Do the same with your refrigerator, if possible on the open side of its door.

When it comes to small kitchens, standard kitchen counter height and other measurements may require some adjustments.

For instance, a small apartment kitchen typically has 30 inches between its countertops and 4 inches of counter space beside its stovetop.

Moreover, it probably does not come with counter space next to the refrigerator for the additional surface.

If your kitchen is tiny too, just make it work with the most suitable measurement possible. You may start to love cooking in such close quarters soon or later.

The Verdict

Kitchen Counter Ideal Height

While the standard kitchen counter height is 36 inches, homeowners often turn aside this norm to create a custom design that meets their special needs.

Whatever routes you will pick later, just keep in mind that going too adventurous with your kitchen counter dimension can cost you more and may affect your future house sale.

To this end, opting for the standard kitchen counter height is always the best choice for most homeowners.

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