Kitchen peninsulas often separate the kitchen from an adjacent room. Adding some counter stools on the off-kitchen side can bring some company to the kitchen without getting in the way of the cook. When the peninsula doesn’t have enough leg room, however, this can make sitting there challenging. One way to increase leg room is to extend the counter, for which there are several options. Another way is to change the type of peninsula you use.
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Increase Your Counter Thickness
Countertops generally come in a few standard thicknesses. Depending on where you live, some of the more readily available counters may be only 3/4-inch thick and too thin to overhang more than a few inches. By selecting a thicker countertop of at least 1 1/4 inches and preferably at least 2 inches, you can successfully extend the countertop out far enough to accommodate seating underneath its edge. Keep in mind that not all counter materials are created equal, and while some materials will extend without problem, others will eventually bow or crack, even if thicker than standard. Seek out a Class A counter material for the best strength.
Install a Stainless Steel Plate
One way to get the length you desire for your countertop without worrying about the material, its thickness or any potential cracking is to install a stainless steel plate beneath it. Stainless steel plates measuring approximately 1/8-inch thick will not affect the look or feel of the counter, but will provide incredible support for the overhang. Bolt the plate to the peninsula, extending out to within four inches of where the counter will end. The counter can be glued right to the stainless steel, without columns, corbels or brackets holding it in place.
Add Decorative Support
You can also extend your countertop far enough out to accommodate leg room by using decorative supports to help hold it in place. These can be metal brackets, wooden corbels, wooden brackets or columns that extend from the floor to the base of the counter. The only concern to using this method comes in the length of the counter; counters that are over 5 feet long will probably need an additional support in the center, which can interrupt the seating at the counter. This method does work well, however, in decorative kitchens where a repeating element can be used again in the counter support.
If you are installing a new peninsula and plan to include seating there, consider using an open style peninsula or an open backed peninsula. While many peninsulas are extensions of the base cabinets in the kitchen, they don’t have to be. Many utilize a single, low shelf for storing large items like pots and pans, with hooks hanging on the kitchen side for utensils. This leaves the back of the peninsula open beneath the counter, which gives far more than the average amount of leg room. If the peninsula is very deep, a false “wall” can be built at the back of the cabinets on the kitchen side, and the back left open to accommodate leg room as well.