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Including a coffee bar idea in your kitchen design might seem a bit of an extravagance but, just think, it could also be a wise decision for your finances. If you're more inspired by the idea of a home-brewed flat white in the morning, you might skip the visit to the local coffee shop, after all. At that point, your coffee bar will pretty much pay for itself, right?
Whether you're working at home more these days, or just love to dedicate some time to a well-enjoyed caffeine break on a weekend, coffee bars are becoming a new must-have luxe kitchen idea. Along with the breakfast station and the cocktail cabinet, it's this idea of carving out specific niches for what excites you that a lot of interior designers are using as the start of a well-organized kitchen design.
So, why not wile away the next few minutes with a latte and our list of the most brilliant and beautiful coffee bars in kitchens around?
7 coffee bar ideas that'll help you find space to prep drinks
A coffee bar in your kitchen isn't just a novelty or a pretty bit of styling. 'It's all about elevating the everyday,' explains Kristen Thomas, principal designer of Studio Thomas. 'We love to incorporate a built-in coffee station to ensure a beautiful morning experience – the comforting, slow ease of a daily coffee ritual.'
But what do you need to consider when designing one for your kitchen? Appearance, of course, is important, and you need to decide whether you want your coffee station on show or hidden away. But practicality is also key. A coffee bar that's awkward and uncomfortable to use won't elevate your morning rituals, after all.
1. Decide on the right type of coffee bar for your kitchen
Coffee stations come in all shapes and sizes, but are defined by having enough countertop room for your coffee maker and to prep your hot beverages. Beyond that, you've got license to create whatever kind of coffee bar you want with your kitchen cabinet ideas.
Some are built into your kitchen cabinetry, either open and stylishly presented, or closed with appliances hidden away. Some are set apart, distinct from your kitchen with design and storage specifically for the task at hand.
This example, created by Marie Flanigan Interiors, is a simple idea for including a coffee station in your kitchen. 'I think, where possible, add cabinetry to hide the space when not in use,' suggests interior designer Marie.
2. Adjust your millwork for your coffee maker and cups
Including a coffee station in your kitchen will affect some of your design choices, especially the kitchen storage ideas used around your coffee bar.
'One of the things to consider when planning for a coffee bar is what type of coffee maker you need to account for,' explains Marie Flanigan, principal designer of Marie Flanigan Interiors, 'as well as the height of the glassware that you plan to use.'
'Adjust your millwork and shelving accordingly,' she suggests. Specifying shelves that are perfectly sized to fit cups will help you squeeze more storage into your millwork without wasting space.
3. Try this pull out countertop idea where space is tight
If you're including a coffee bar in a small space where there's not ample countertop available, why not try this clever kitchen countertop idea to create extra surface area. In this design by Studio Thomas, designer Kristen Thomas included a pull-out countertop underneath the coffee bar to give you somewhere to place cups while using the built-in coffee machine.
4. Make sure there's a sink close at hand
You'll obviously need water to make whatever your hot drink of choice is, so ensuring your coffee station is near to a sink is a must to make it useful to use. Why not consider including a second, separate sink in this area?
In this design by interior designer Jean Stoffer featuring Armac Martin hardware, a standalone coffee bar has its own small but practical kitchen sink. You might be tempted for a boiling water tap for your coffee station, but remember that coffee and tea isn't best served by boiling water, so stick to a standard tap for your coffee countertop appliances.
5. Hide a coffee bar behind bifolding doors
The big question for your coffee bar is whether to hide it away or put it on display.
'Carefully considered joinery design can turn a kitchen into a chameleon, creating an inviting family space that changes in look and personality to suit the needs of the day,' suggests architect and designer Kate Walker, of Kate Walker Design.
In this design, a bifolding pantry door reveals a coffee station in a bank of floor-to-ceiling millwork. 'Bi-fold doors are practical and functional,' Kate explains. 'The one-handed mechanism makes them really easy to open if your hands are full, and as opposed to full size doors, they can be open and still allow room for movement throughout the kitchen.
6. Or even a pocket door
Another way to create a functional but hidden-until-you-need-it coffee bar is behind pocket doors. Pocket doors can be used for kitchen cupboards, recessing into either side so that these cabinets can be open without doors getting in your way.
Alternatively, this kitchen designed by Suzie Lucas, principal designer at Lucas Interior, features a pocket door to a small pantry coffee bar, matching the dark wood kitchen cabinets used throughout the space.
7. Design a coffee bar pantry
We might be more used to pantries and laundry rooms as separate spaces branching off from your kitchen, but if you've got a lot of kit for your morning coffee prep, a coffee bar could be in its own room too.
This design by Blakes London is the best of both worlds – a self-contained space for prepping drinks (this one doubles up as the home's cocktail bar too), while also on display thanks to smoked glass panels. The wow-factor is really upped thanks to wall-to-wall marble and brass trims.
Where should a coffee bar be placed in a kitchen?
Ideally a coffee station should be located outside of the main working triangle of your kitchen. This means, if someone's using the kitchen to cook breakfast, for example, someone else can get in and make a coffee without disturbing the chef.
A coffee bar works well on an end of a run of cabinets, on a corner, or set apart from the main run of kitchen cabinets. Remember, you'll want a coffee station to be relatively close to a sink, so that you have a ready supply of water for the coffee machine, and you'll need to ensure there are suitable electrical sockets in that area.
Make sure your coffee station is also located near to where you store cups and your coffee-making supplies if you don't have specific storage ideas in mind for your bar.
The Livingetc Newsletter
For style leaders and design lovers.
Hugh is the Deputy Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2023.
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