How High Should a Kitchen Island Be?

How high should a kitchen island be? That’s easy, you might think—just measure from the floor to the countertop and use that number as your guide. However, you must consider several factors and realize that various heights work better for different kitchens, family members, and purposes.

Our team at Huey Brown’s Kitchens in New Orleans walks you through some considerations as you plan your kitchen island.

How High Are Standard Kitchen Islands?

When determining the perfect kitchen island height, it’s critical to consider the countertops around it. If you have lower-than-normal kitchen counters, this may mean you need to make your island higher than usual to match the overall décor of your kitchen.

The height of a standard kitchen island is either 36 inches (91 centimeters) or 42 inches (106 centimeters). These heights allow an island to fit nicely with most traditional or modern kitchen styles and are ideal for average households. However, kitchen islands are customizable.

Some homes have shorter kitchen islands to accommodate family members with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) helps protect disabled individuals and offers some guidance on kitchen design. If you need to customize your island, get help from kitchen design experts in New Orleans.

Why Does Your Kitchen Island’s Height Matter?

Your kitchen island’s height might seem insignificant at first. However, choosing the right size can be the difference between a highly functional kitchen and an uncomfortable, crowded one. Here’s why your kitchen island height matters:

  • Comfort: An adequately sized island will be comfortable to stand or sit at. If you don’t pick the right height, it can be uncomfortable.
  • Functionality: The right island height improves your kitchen’s functionality. You don’t want to hunch over too much trying to prepare dinner. You may also want the kids to be able to do homework while sitting in the kitchen. 
  • Accessibility: Do you or a loved one use a wheelchair? You’ll want to choose the right height for your island to be accessible to everyone.

Counter Height vs. Bar Height: What’s the Difference?

There are two types of heights in a kitchen: counter height and bar height. Counter height typically measures 36 inches from the floor to the top of the counter. On the other hand, bar height is 42 inches off the floor, with most barstools measuring between 24 and 28 inches.

If you’re wondering, “How high should a kitchen island be?” The answer is either counter or bar height. However, the measurement may vary depending on the cabinetry layout and countertop thickness.

Pros and Cons of Counter Height

Counter height islands work well for many reasons. But they do have their downsides. Some pros and cons when considering counter height for your island include.


  • Blends in better because it matches the countertop height
  • Provides a larger surface for preparing meals and working
  • Can be more accessible for shorter people


  • Can be less comfortable for taller people
  • Is not ideal for sitting and eating

Pros and Cons of Bar Height

Bar height islands also have advantages and disadvantages. As you consider getting an island at bar height, keep in mind the pros and cons.


  • Looks less cluttered because it’s less visible
  • Provides an excellent place to sit and eat or do homework
  • Can keep food and drinks within reach of guests


  • Can be too high to use for meal preparation
  • Might not blend in well with your kitchen design
  • Is less accessible for shorter people or people with disabilities

Get Expert Help With Kitchen Design in New Orleans

So, how high should a kitchen island be? The answer depends on your household’s preferences and needs. If you need help determining the best height for your island, reach out to our team of experts in New Orleans.
At Huey Brown’s Kitchens, we have the knowledge and skill to design your dream kitchen. Our experienced professionals can help you finalize your plans and learn about tips when designing a new kitchen. Call us at (504) 736-9001 to get started today!