8/02/2022  •  , ,

How Much Overhang Should A Kitchen Island Have?

Are you including an island in your new kitchen? As the focal point of the kitchen, an island will play a crucial part in the kitchen design process. 


At Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, we know how vital a process it can be to design the perfect kitchen island. We also know how important island countertop overhang can be, especially when incorporating island seating.

But how much overhang should your island countertop have?

This article will go through the ins and outs of everything you need to know about kitchen island overhang.

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

What Is Kitchen Island Overhang?

How Much Overhang Should A Kitchen Island Have?

How Much Overhang For Kitchen Island Seating?

Supporting A kitchen Island’s Extended Overhang

Vertical Clearance For Kitchen Island Overhang

Waterfall Kitchen Islands

Discover Deslaurier Custom Cabinets


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What Is Kitchen Island Overhang?


Kitchen island overhang refers to any segment of countertop material that goes past the edge of the base cabinets below. Overhang can offer creative design styles while also protecting the cabinets below from spills, crumbs and general damage.


The most important part of kitchen island overhang may be its ability to incorporate kitchen island seating! Whether it be two stools, or seating for six, having the right overhang for your island seating is an important decision to make.

Regardless of whether your island has seating or not, determining the right overhang will come down to your personal preferences.


How Much Overhang Should An Island Have?


Because the kitchen island is such a central element in your kitchen, it is important to get the amount of overhang right. 


Standard countertop overhang is 1 ½ inches. Keep in mind that this is 1 ½ inches over the front edge of the base cabinet. While some countertops may have different overhang measurements, this is the number that is seen as standard for homes. 


While 1 ½ inches is the most common, it’s far from mandatory. If you’re designing your custom island, you will be able to tailor your countertop overhang to your own preferences. 

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How Much Overhang For Kitchen Island Seating?


What about islands with seating? Incorporating seating into your kitchen island is a great way to ensure the focal point of your kitchen has everything it needs.


However, it will result in a large increase of your island countertop’s overhang. How much? That depends on your preferences!


For starters, make sure you design your island with enough space underneath the counter for your knees. Generally speaking, a countertop overhang of 12-18” is a good place to start.


It’s worth noting that 12” likely won’t allow your bar stools to tuck in all the way. Since kitchen island seating areas are typically casual dining spaces—few people would sit down for a three-course meal at their island—most homeowners don’t need the chairs to pull in completely.


If you really want to be able to tuck in your bar stool underneath the overhang, or worry about the hazard of island chairs sticking out into the kitchen area, having an overhang depth closer to 18” would be ideal for you. 


Supporting A Kitchen Island’s Extended Overhang


Extending your kitchen island’s countertop overhang can be great for spacious and comfortable seating. With this being said, extended overhand will require additional support for the overhanging countertop. 


An island overhang of over 12 inches will require proper reinforcement to securely brace the supplemental countertop material. Thankfully, there are a number of decorative and stylish manners to provide this additional support.


Countertop overhangs that extend past 12 inches can be supported with columns. Island columns are custom millwork designed to support your island’s countertop overhang while matching the island cabinetry. 


Take a look at these elegant custom cherry island columns:


Deslaurier Greely 004


Kitchen corbels are another method of supporting extended island overhang. A kitchen corbel is a structural bracket used to support the weight of a kitchen island countertop and serve as a decorative accent at the same time.


Often, corbels are elaborate pieces of ornamentation that suit traditional kitchens best.



If traditional isn’t your style, fear not. Despite what people may say, corbels are not only for the traditionally inclined. These modern, metallic corbels are simultaneously decorative and contemporary:


There are other ways of supporting your island’s countertop overhang through the design process. Simply adding additional cabinets to the end or extending the side panel can increase support for cabinet overhang. 


Doing this, however, will reduce the overall space you have for island seating. If you have a large island, that may not be an issue. Smaller islands, on the other hand, would benefit from leg columns or corbels being used for support. 

modern kitchen

Vertical Clearance For Kitchen Island Seating


It’s important to remember that overhang for kitchen island seating also needs to offer enough vertical space for people to sit comfortably in stools or chairs. This means that while allowing enough horizontal space for knees, your overhang should also allow enough vertical room to comfortably tuck in when sitting at the island. 


Luckily, this can be resolved through your choice of stool or seat. It's recommended that you leave at least 15 inches between the top of your seat and the overhang of your counter. Once you know the measurement of your counter, you can choose the correct height of your stool or seat accordingly. 


Standard counter height in a kitchen is typically 35" to 40" tall, which works well for bar stools and chairs anywhere from 23" to 28". Choosing the perfect seating height for you can be a challenge. Check out this guide on how to choose island stool height for everything you need! 


Keep in mind that the measurement of chairs is from the floor to the seat. These seats come in a large range and often have adjustable heights to help make them as comfortable as possible for your island’s specifications. 


Waterfall Kitchen Islands


Not every kitchen island needs a countertop overhang. In fact, there are specific designs that don’t require countertops to have an overhang around the entire island. The most popular of which is applying elegant waterfall ends.




Waterfall ends are when a kitchen island’s countertop flows to the side of the island, creating a seamless, congruent look. A slab of the same countertop stone is placed on the end panel of the island and meets flush with the horizontal countertop. 


Waterfall countertops are delightfully dramatic and one of the best ways to decorate your island instantaneously.




These seamless waterfall sides negate the need for a traditional overhang. In fact, other than above your cabinet drawers and doors, the only reason for countertop overhang with waterfall islands is to incorporate kitchen island seating. 


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Discover Deslaurier Custom Cabinets


Need a hand designing the perfect amount of countertop overhang for your kitchen island? You’ve come to the right place!


Deslaurier Custom Cabinets has everything you need. With over 40 years of experience to our name, we provide our clients with a wholly customized design process with our talented team of designers


Book a free consultation today and meet with one of our Deslaurier design experts in our Ottawa showroom!


Interested in becoming an authorized Deslaurier dealer? Visit our Become a Dealer page to learn more!

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