Adding a breakfast bar to your kitchen is a great way to increase your counter space and seating without a full kitchen remodel. Even if you have a narrow galley kitchen, you can often find a way to fit in a small breakfast bar. With some clever planning and simple DIY skills, you can create the perfect spot for quick meals and casual dining.

Choosing the Right Breakfast Bar

When space is limited, opt for a narrow breakfast bar over a full-sized island. Look for the following features:

  • Small footprint: Choose a breakfast bar with a slim profile, around 16-24 inches deep. This allows for seating while preserving walkways.
  • Compact shape: A straight or gently curved bar will fit better than one with lots of angles or an L-shape.
  • Adjustable height: Look for a breakfast bar with adjustable legs so you can customize the height. Standard counter height is 36 inches, while bar stools need a height of 24-30 inches.
  • Folding or drop-leaf feature: Some breakfast bars have leaves that fold down or drop to make it more compact when not in use. This allows you to free up walking space as needed.
  • Mobility: Opt for a rolling breakfast bar that locks into place but can move when needed. This makes an excellent flexible option for small kitchens.

Planning the Layout

Take measurements of your kitchen space before selecting and installing your breakfast bar. Consider the following:

  • Mark off at least 36 inches for walkways so you have enough passing room.
  • Check that you have space for the bar along with any appliances or cabinets.
  • Make sure there is room for bar stools to slide under the overhang when not in use.
  • Allow for kneeclearance next to the stools, around 27 inches from the floor to the bar counter.
  • Plan for extra electrical outlets to power pendant lights or appliances.

Installing Your Breakfast Bar

Proper installation ensures your bar fits right and is sturdy for daily use:

  • Attach bracing underneath for added stability and prevent swaying.
  • Allow 3-5 inches clearance between wall and bar for easy access to bar stools.
  • Use wall anchors suited for your wall type if attaching to drywall.
  • Seal surfaces with waterproof construction adhesive if attaching to tile or concrete floors.
  • Incorporate leveling feet so the bar can be adjusted if the floor is uneven.

Stylish yet Functional Design

The ideal narrow breakfast bar merges form and function:

  • Add wheels for a movable bar that can be shifted as needed. Lock them in place for safety.
  • Include storage like shelves or cabinets to maximize space. Just don’t block walkways.
  • Use a fold-down leaf or dropdown panel to vary the shape and create more workspace.
  • Opt for an extendable bar that can widen from a slim profile for when you need more seating.
  • Select comfortable, backless stools that tuck neatly under the bar ledge.

Finishing Touches

Finally, incorporate details that enhance aesthetics and utility:

  • Add a stylish backsplash tile that extends from the kitchen counters to visually expand the space.
  • Install pendant lighting over the bar to create an intimate, café vibe.
  • Include a power strip with USB ports hidden under the counter’s overhang for device charging.
  • Anchor a sturdy hook under the bar for hanging utensils, tea towels, or aprons when cooking.
  • Adhere non-slip pads to the bottom of stool legs to protect your flooring.

With careful planning and creative problem solving, even the narrowest kitchen can accommodate a handy breakfast bar. Focus on maximizing every inch of available space for a bar that looks built-in. Soon you’ll have a new favorite spot for casual dining and food prep.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fitting a Breakfast Bar in a Narrow Kitchen

Can I put a breakfast bar in my small kitchen?

Yes, it is possible to add a breakfast bar even in a very narrow galley kitchen. Look for compact bars with small footprints and consider features like fold-down leaves or wheels for mobility. With good planning and strategic layout, a petit bar can work in virtually any tiny kitchen.

How deep should a breakfast bar be in a small kitchen?

For narrow kitchens, limit the depth of your breakfast bar to 16-24 inches. This provides enough room for seating while keeping the bar slim to preserve valuable floorspace. Standard kitchen counters are 25-26 inches deep.

How much walkway space do you need around a breakfast bar?

Allow for at least 36 inches of clearance around a breakfast bar for a comfortable walkway. This gives enough passing room even when stools are pulled out and occupied. Mark off this space when planning so you don’t obstruct traffic flow.

How much overhang should a breakfast bar have?

An overhang of 10-14 inches allows enough room for seating and leg clearance. Make sure your overhang is deep enough for stool legs and that you have the 27 inches of toe room needed. The overhang can also provide space for pendant lights.

What is the standard height for a breakfast bar?

The typical counter height for a breakfast bar is 36 inches. But the bar stool height can vary from 24-30 inches. Consider adjustable legs so you can fine tune the height of your bar to match your seating.

How do you install a breakfast bar securely?

Use bracing bars attached underneath for reinforcement. Wall anchors and construction adhesive create a solid attachment. Incorporate leveling feet to stabilize on uneven floors. Check that wall attachments can handle sheer weight.


Adding a compact yet functional breakfast bar can vastly expand the usability of your narrow kitchen. With strategic planning and a well-fitted small-scale design, you can create an inviting spot for meals and casual gatherings even in the most petite kitchen. Focus on multi-purpose style and space-saving elements like fold-down leaves, wheels, and integrated storage. In no time, your new bar will become a favorite hub for dining and entertaining.