If you’ve been looking into re-inventing your kitchen, one of the aspects that you’ve probably researched is the kitchen counter. You may think that these pieces of furniture come in a variety of different sizes as well as shapes, but many tradesmen will tell you that there’s one standard height for kitchen counters.

Is this true? Are you really that restricted to the size of your counter?

Yes…and No

Believe it or not, there is actually a standard height when it comes to the kitchen cabinet. This stands at 36 inches tall, and all off the shelf counters will be this height, no matter where you buy them from.

This height is generally regardless of what the kitchen countertop will be used for. It doesn’t matter whether you will be using your counter top for food preparation, eating at or as a platform for a kitchen appliance, the height of your counter will always be 36 inches if you are buying an off the shelf counter product.

Why Is It That Height?

36 inches seems like a very specific standard height for a kitchen counter, so why is it that this has been chosen as the optimum height?

Firstly, you have to think about the function of the kitchen countertop within the kitchen environment. Essentially a countertop will act as a platform for food preparation, item and appliance storage and as an eating space, and two out of the three functions will require standing up and working over the countertop.

This means that you will need to be able to comfortably work with the countertop below you without stretching too far up or too far down to reach the items that you are working with.

standard kitchen counter heightThe general idea of the 36 inch rule is that for an average sized person, there will be a few inches between your elbow and the surface of the countertop if you bend just the lower arm upwards and straight out in front of you. This makes it a comfortable height to work at, and there’s just enough height to be able to work with the items that are on the countertop.

Secondly, you will often be lifting items around which may be heavy or unstable, especially when preparing food is concerned. Whether it’s a heavy pan full of boiling water and potatoes, or a stack of dirty plates that you are going to store on the side before washing them, it’s important to make sure that you are able to work safely while using your kitchen counter and this is where the height becomes important.

Standard kitchen counter height

With objects such as boiling hot pans and balancing plates, you need to remain in full control of the items in order to feel safe. If you are having to reach up high and try to safely place these heavy, often dangerous items down, you’re at risk of over balancing the item and potentially hurting yourself – a water filled pan is unsuspectingly heavy, you know!

Instead, you will want to be able to transfer these heavy items quickly and be able to fully control how you set the item down – and that’s why 36 inches appears to be the ideal height for the average person to work at to avoid any accidents.

Can They Be Made Smaller?

But what about the shorter people of the world? Surely these individuals may be stretching up to the 36 inch cabinet and therefore putting themselves at risk?

This is true, and luckily for you there are ways in which you can have smaller cabinets installed. Bespoke is probably the best way to determine the best height for you to work at if you feel like the 36 inch high counter would be a stretch too far for you to reach.

This will also give you a little more freedom in designing your kitchen the way you want, and make sure that you’re feeling safe while working in the area, too!

Do you know what finishes a kitchen counter perfectly? A beautiful worktop of course! If you’d like more information on our beautiful range of natural worktops, please feel free to get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to help you find the perfect worktop for your kitchen.