One size fits all rarely works, even when talking about furniture or other home-related products. Countertops are a good example. The standard height for a kitchen counter is 36” off the floor. While that may be OK for some people, in a lot of cases the counter can either be too low or too high. After all, we’re all different so why should we settle for something that doesn’t fit? Since industry standard heights don’t work for everybody, the natural solution to the problem is a custom countertop height that’s tailor made for the person or persons using it.
But what if several persons are using the kitchen and their heights differ quite a bit? There’s a practical solution for that situation too. Multi-height counters are a great solution for families or shared kitchens. They basically feature various surfaces with different heights so everyone can feel comfortable when using the kitchen. Another advantage for this type of design is that it’s especially great for multi-functional kitchen islands that also work as bars or dining tables.
A bar-height table work well in combination with bar stools but is not the most comfortable option for a breakfast nook or table. A counter placed at a lower height brings down the eating area to a more comfortable level and can be used in combination with regular dining chairs. Multi-height countertops also bring another idea to the table. They allow the user to physically separate functions. As a result, the dining counters can be differentiated from the prep areas, the cooktops and the baking counter and they can each be designed with the right height for the purpose they serve.
Here’s how you can figure out the right height for each area: prep surfaces need to be 3”-4” below the elbow so you can easily and comfortably chop, slice and dice. The cooking surfaces need to be 5”-6” below the elbow to avoid splashing hot oil at face level. Then there are also the low-level surfaces such as the area you use for rolling dough or kneading bread. These should be 8” below the elbow.
So the standard countertop height is 36” off the floor. The height, however, can sometimes vary from 35 1/2” to 37” so don’t take this number for granted. It depends on things like the thickness of the counter or the height of the cabinets. A below average countertop height is 32′‘. One above average is 38”-39”. A wheelchair countertop is 31”-34” high and the usual kitchen island height is 42”.