Ideas for Extending Countertops

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An extended counter becomes a breakfast bar when you add stools.
Image Credit: Scott Van Dyke/Corbis Documentary/GettyImages

Ask a home chef what changes she'd make to her kitchen and chances are that extending countertops ranks high on her list. Countertop space is prime kitchen real estate, as evidenced by the plethora of appliances that mount under the cabinet to free up counters for prep work. Whether you're in the market for an entire kitchen remodel or just doing some minor updating, there are a number of ways to extend your countertops for additional work or seating space in your kitchen.

Increase the Countertop Overhang

Countertops often extend 1 to 2 inches beyond the edge of the cabinets they top. One of the easier ways to increase the counter space in your kitchen is to replace your standard countertop with one that extends an additional 8 to 12 inches along one or more sides of the cabinets. According to Marble.com, if you decide to increase the overhang by more than 12 inches, though, your counter will need bracing for additional support.

Get Creative With Peninsula Designs

Peninsulas are a popular way to add counter and storage space to kitchens, but they can overwhelm smaller rooms. Lighten their footprint and lessen the effect with a few designer tricks for small spaces. Opt for open shelves beneath the countertop instead of a cabinet base to make the peninsula less intrusive. Round the corners of the top or choose a kidney shape to maximize usable counter space while preserving floor space.

Extend Countertops With Fold-Down Option

If your kitchen is small or if you only need extra counter space occasionally, a foldaway counter extension may be your ideal solution. Fold-down countertops, most often used in RVs, work well in the typical small galley kitchens found in many modern apartments and condominiums. Add a hinged gateleg countertop at the end of an existing counter and cabinet unit to extend the counter space or hang a fold-up countertop on a wall, supporting it with chains or a drop-down leg.

Add Shelves for Extra Space

Sometimes extending your counters isn't about adding more counters, but rather making better use of your existing counters. For example, some small appliances like stand mixers can take up a lot of countertop real estate. Instead of crowding your limited workspace with these appliances, store them on lifting shelves in a lower cabinet. Choose sturdy locking hinges for the shelf, and you'll never have to lift the mixer (or any other heavy appliance, for that matter) again.

Think about what else takes up space on your counter and where you can store it instead. For example, if you keep common spices, oils and utensils on the counter, line them up on a simple shelf that sits over your stove's control panel.

Consider Bathroom Counter Extensions

The kitchen isn't the only room in the house where extra counter space comes in handy. If your bathroom doubles as your vanity or dressing room, even a few extra inches of countertop can make your life much easier.

Get creative in a small bathroom. Instead of choosing a countertop that fits your bathroom cabinet exactly, have it cut in an L shape that extends beyond the cabinet on one side. Add legs to the end and build a set of shelves beneath the counter for additional storage.

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Deb Powers

Deb Powers

Deb Powers is an avid urban gardener who works with a community collective to promote sustainable urban agriculture and build partnerships between local business owners and community organizations. Powers serves as a social media and marketing consultant for local non-profits and businesses, and has assisted in creating career pathways for people returning to the workplace.