How High Is Countertop Height?
The standard countertop height is 3 feet high, which provides a comfortable workstation for most people. As with any design feature, though, you can deviate from this rule if it suits your needs or if you have special circumstances.
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The Kitchen Work Triangle
Countertops need to be at the right height for a variety of kitchen functions, including prep surfaces, cooking areas and low-level preparation surfaces like rolling dough and kneading bread. A countertop height that is too low can impede on your workspace, and too high can limit your reach to upper cabinets or shelves.
It’s best to choose a countertop height that suits you, your family, and your lifestyle. While you may be eager to make your new kitchen the envy of the neighborhood, it’s important to balance convention with meeting your unique day-to-day needs and wants.
How Much Are You Planning to Cook?
If you are preparing a lot of food, your countertop height should be higher. You’ll be able to see the food you’re preparing better and it will be easier to keep track of what you’re doing and where you’re going.
Whether you are preparing for a large or small gathering, your countertop height will also affect how easily your guests can access the kitchen and help them avoid accidents. If you are entertaining often, your countertop height should be a comfortable and convenient distance from the dining table for all members of the family.
If your home’s style is very contemporary, your countertop height may be less critical than if you are creating a traditional look. Some designers will go as high as 39 inches to create a dramatic design statement.
However, if you are building a home to be sold in the future, you will want to keep your kitchen and bathroom countertops in line with the typical heights of the area. Choosing an oddly tall or low counter height can impact the sale price of your home.
The American National Standards Institute, which sets the standard for cabinetmakers and countertop manufacturers, states that the average counter should be 36 inches above the floor. This is the highest countertop height that base cabinet manufacturers build their cabinets to, and it’s been proven to be the most ergonomic for the majority of kitchen tasks performed by a user of average height.
While this height works well for most people, it is not always optimal for those with a physical disability or those who are very short. For example, an individual with a spinal cord injury may have difficulty bending over and working on a countertop that is too low.
For these individuals, raising the countertop a few inches to an ergonomically ideal 38 or 39 inches can improve their comfort in the kitchen. Alternatively, you can use custom cabinets to accommodate the desired height.
A countertop that is too high or too low can interfere with the functionality of your kitchen, and it could also negatively impact your home’s resale value. Fortunately, you can always work with a contractor and professional designer to find the balance between following standard construction measurements and meeting your specific needs.