Raising the bar
Slim, portable or stowable alternatives to a kitchen table
ABREAKFAST bar is a great addition to the kitchen if you have the space for it. The additional seating can be a great place to hang out, grab a quick meal or do homework, especially if you don’t have room for a table. Adding an overhanging top to an existing island is a great option but there are other ways to add a breakfast bar to your home that are affordable and sometimes even DIY. A breakfast bar doesn’t necessarily have to be used for meals. You may be able to add a similar seating solution for use as a home office in a hallway, bedroom or den. Even in tight spaces, such as under an open stairway, a breakfast bar-styled setup can add style and function to your home. If you have a large enough kitchen that can accommodate a table and chairs, then the addition of a breakfast bar is just icing on the cake. If you don’t have a lot of additional space in your kitchen, you might have enough room to install an overhanging shelf on a wall opening (such as a pass-through) or a suitably sized shelf on a solid wall. Simply add stylish stools underneath and voila! If you choose to install a shelf on a solid wall, consider hanging a horizontal mirror on the wall above the shelf so you’re not staring at a blank wall when seated. Another option would be to install a dropdown shelf that can be lowered when not in use. This can be a great solution for a dining space in a small apartment or suite. The stools can be tucked up against the wall. In this instance, you’d want to choose stools with a slim profile for optimal space usage or collapsible stools that can be hung on hooks on the wall. For a less-permanent solution, especially if you’re renting, purchase a console or sofa table for use as a breakfast bar. These tables are long and slim so they can work great as an instant breakfast bar or home office. They are also taller than coffee or end tables so the height is conducive to a breakfast-bar setting. Be sure to choose a style that will accommodate stools. If you’re installing a wall-shelf breakfast bar, you’ll want to choose the stools before you install your shelf. When choosing stools, look at the overall space in the breakfast-bar area to ensure they will fit. Big, cumbersome stools with backs and arms might not work in a narrow hallway, for example. Height is another issue. It’s best to get the stools first and then install the shelf at the right height rather than trying to run around to find stools that will fit after the fact. When you DIY, you can customize the height of the bar by way of choosing the most comfortable stools for your body type, then installing the shelf to accommodate the stools. If you’re looking at space-saving options, choose stools that are streamlined, low-profile and comfortable. In most cases, you’re not going to be sitting down for a long, formal dinner at a breakfast bar so choose the stools accordingly. You can add a breakfast bar using a moveable kitchen island. These can be purchased as a unit to fit into an existing kitchen. Some styles offer an overhanging shelf to accommodate additional seating. If you have the room, an island with seating and storage is the way to go. Having an island that can be moved gives you more options. Cut an old, wooden dining table in half lengthwise and place it against a wall to create a breakfast bar. (Install brackets below to secure it to the wall.) Imagine that old, beat-up table being repainted and repurposed into something useful! This item could also work as a small home office in a wide hallway or in a bedroom. A tall saw horse would make an interesting breakfast bar, especially if the wood is worn and weathered. Make a bench for seating instead of bar stools for a rustic look. Check the Internet for ideas. I happened upon a neat pub-style, wall-mounted, half-moon table on Sears.ca that could work as a breakfast bar or in a games room as a dry bar. There are lots of great ideas out there.
Choose the stools first