Wouldn’t it be nice to create a small eating bar while installing your new RTA kitchen cabinets? A breakfast bar makes a great place for the family to gather each morning before heading off to work or school, it’s simple to keep clean, and if your kitchen opens into your dining or living area, it may be easier to build than you think.
Easy Steps for Building a Breakfast Bar
1. Situate your base cabinets in the open space between the kitchen and living area. The backs of the cabinets will face the living area and provide the foundation for the breakfast bar. Two 36 inch base cabinets work well or you might want to add in a 24 inch cabinet to create an eight foot bar
2. Build a knee wall out of wood framing lumber that backs up to the base cabinets. A knee wall is a short wall that doesn’t go up to the ceiling. The knee wall will be the width of the breakfast bar and should extend a little past the base cabinet with the exposed side. The height can vary depending on the bar stools you plan to use, but in most cases the height that works best is 42 inches before the countertop is installed.
3. The knee wall may be considered wall space by many building inspectors so it may need electrical wiring for outlets installed and inspected.
4. Cover the exposed knee wall surfaces with a wall covering of your choice such as sheetrock, paneling, or RTA cabinet end panels.
5. The countertop material used is usually the same as the rest of the kitchen countertops. Opinions vary as to how much overhang your countertop should have on the eating side, but you want enough room so that you can eat comfortably without your knees hitting the wall. In most cases an overhang of 12 to 16 inches works well.
6. The overhang should be supported with brackets that are available at most home improvement stores. Improper support can create a safety hazard with heavy materials such as granite.
7. The countertop backsplash should cover the exposed knee wall on the kitchen side.
These are general guidelines and may vary based on your specific application. If you have any questions or concerns, call in a construction professional.