Beautiful new Kitchen with black bar overhang

Selecting the Right Overhang for Your Bar or Island Counter


When you’re planning your kitchen makeover and considering new countertops for your bar or island, you may encounter an unfamiliar concept—overhang. Let’s take a close look at what exactly counter overhang is, what your options are, and what sorts of factors should guide your decision-making process. When we’re done, you should be fully equipped to make the right choices for a satisfying final result.

What Is Overhang?

The overhang on a bar or kitchen island refers to the portion of the countertop that extends beyond the base structure. In other words, it’s the extended part of the countertop you can touch the bottom of. Overhang can exist for a purely visual effect or to allow for certain forms of seating.

When we’re talking about a kitchen worktop, we’re generally looking at a standard 2-foot depth, so overhang is anything beyond that 2-foot depth. Your standard kitchen worktop countertop has a short overhang, about an inch or less, which exists primarily for aesthetics (it can also make sure countertop spills hit the floor instead of staining the cabinetry below).

If you want a more comfortable seating area, such as a proper bar, you want closer to a foot of overhang. Anything up to 12 inches is considered a typical extended overhang. Beyond that, your overhang will almost certainly need additional support to be structurally sound.

To figure out whether a standard, extended, or supported overhang makes sense, consider these factors:

What Are You Doing With the Space?

If you intend to use your bar to sit and enjoy meals or drinks, you need more overhang to allow for comfortable seating. If you only intend to perch yourself nearby with a drink or use the space for cooking prep, then you don’t need any extra overhang—if anything, a short overhang will serve you better.

How Much Space Do You Have Available?

If space is at an absolute premium in your kitchen, then extending your countertops out into the room can be a risky proposition. On the other hand, having enough overhang to be able to sit in close to the counter and have legroom, or even to store stools underneath and out of the walkway, can improve safety for people moving past the bar through your kitchen.

If you’re thinking bigger in terms of space use throughout your home, then making your bar or island a comfortable seating area can allow you to skip a dining table elsewhere—especially with an island, which can easily pull double duty with the right design in place.

How Tall Is Your Bar?

If your bar is taller, you may not need a large overhang for comfortable seating because people sitting on taller stools will almost have their legs extended parallel to the bar; they won’t need to bend their knees and take up as much extra horizontal space if their footrest is further from their seat. This does depend on what sort of bar you have, of course, but it’s worth considering.

Don’t Forget Aesthetics

Of course, your overhang isn’t just a practical thing; it has plenty of aesthetics and style behind it as well. For example, you can pragmatically choose your edge profile, thinking about how the edge would feel to rest your arms on or might catch spills…or you can choose the one that looks great. The same goes for materials; you can choose a countertop that’s easy to clean and hard to scratch or inexpensive and versatile in design, or you can go for pure sophistication and timeless style.

Ultimately, your choice of bar or island overhang needs to make it past the harshest judgment point of all — what you think looks best. If you don’t like the look of lengthy overhangs, then you can opt to stick to a shorter one even if it doesn’t match with what is ‘correct’ for your needs. The opposite is also true; if you like long overhangs, go for it, even if you don’t really need them for anything.

Learn More About Bar & Island Overhangs

Want to hear more about your options for your home’s bar or island countertops? Let the experts at IDC Countertops help you choose the perfect materials, measurements, and styles. We can guide you through all of your options, help you consider things you may have overlooks, and combine all your preferences and constraints into a satisfying final result.

To find out more, call us today at 952-767-1818 or message us online.