A breakfast bar is one of the most convenient and valuable additions to a kitchen. Not only can a breakfast bar be used as a central hub for a family, but also for party hors d’oeuvres and buffet-style meal serving. Island breakfast bars are an ideal addition, but raised half-wall breakfast bars make use of an already there space and are easy to install. Just follow these step-by-step instructions to begin building your own.
Step 1 — Order New Countertops
If you want your breakfast bar to have the same look and feel as the countertops already in your kitchen, you will need to order the same type. If you want your breakfast bar to flow seamlessly from your kitchen area to the bar, you should consider replacing all of your kitchen countertop surfaces. Remember that the bar surface should extend beyond the half-wall itself to allow room for knees and chairs.
Once you’ve decided on whether you’re going to buy all-new countertops, you will need to measure the breakfast-bar area for the length and size of your new bar and then order the appropriate pieces.
Step 2 — Build a Top-Plate Base
To begin building the base for the top-plate of your breakfast bar, cut one 2x6 lumber with a circular saw to fit the new breakfast-bar space. Make sure you wear the appropriate safety gear when working with a circular saw, including safety goggles and gloves.
Step 3 — Build the Spacers
Depending on how tall you want your raised bar to be, you will cut stud spacers to raise your top-plate base. You can use another 2x6 to cut these spacers from. Cut enough to be able to have a space every 18 inches along the top-plate base. Don’t forget that the top plate is already 1.5 inches thick, so you should add that amount into your height calculations.
Step 4 — Attach Spacers and Top-Plate to Wall
Now that you’ve cut all of the pieces, you will need to attach them to the half-wall. Use wood screws and a drill to screw the spacers into the top of the half-wall, making sure they are spaced 18 inches apart.
Once the spacers are attached, secure the top-plate lumber on top of the spacers. You can also use screws to do this, or you can use the appropriate nails.
Step 5 — Install Your Breakfast-Bar Countertop
Once your countertops come in, install them in your kitchen and on your new breakfast bar. Installation for countertops varies, so you should always follow your manufacturer’s specific instructions. Most usually ask you to install them with silicone.
Step 6 — Add Brackets for Support
If installed correctly, the breakfast bar should extend beyond the half-wall. For extra security, you should install brackets to the half-wall and the bottom of the countertops. You can purchase small, unnoticeable brackets, or you can opt for fancy ones that add flair to your breakfast bar. Either way, you should follow the bracket’s instructions to attach them, although they usually can be attached with screws and a drill.
Step 7 — Add Seating
Although your breakfast bar might feel complete, it isn’t finished until you find chairs or stools to put underneath. For optimal seating comfort, measure the height of your breakfast area before purchasing seats. If they are too tall, your family’s knees will scrape the bar underneath, and if they are too short, children can have trouble reaching the bar. If you can't find a set that's the perfect height, you can always make your own bar stools.
Alternatively, you may choose permanent seating. In this case, install swivel seats similar to those found in many commercial bars.