Having multiple counter levels makes your kitchen accessible to all members of the household, allowing everyone to participate in preparing family meals while also ensuring that people have the ability to independently navigate the kitchen and prepare their own food throughout the day.
If you have a multi-generational household, this a particularly thoughtful way to promote the kitchen as a shared community space. Multi-level counters can also be an essential design element for addressing access needs related to height or mobility. When you prioritize inclusion and accessibility in your design, the kitchen can become more convenient and comfortable for all.
When you’re planning a multi-level kitchen counter, consider the physical needs of everyone who might use your kitchen. Figure out the heights of the tallest and shortest people who will be using this kitchen, as this will help set the parameters for your higher and lower counter levels.
If the shortest person in your household is a child who is still growing, think about how the lower counter level might be used once the child is taller. If everyone in the household eventually has similar heights, multiple counter levels will still help to improve kitchen workflow and distinguish between food prep spaces. For instance, it could be converted into a sit-down workspace or an extra storage area for countertop appliances.
On the other hand, if the shortest household member is already at their full potential height, invest in a kitchen design that maximizes accessibility, from the cabinets to the decor. Consider factors like reaching up or bending over when positioning cabinets around the lower countertop — after all, a kitchen is only fully usable if you have access to storage space as well as countertops.
If relevant, plan space for mobility aids, such as wheelchairs, when planning out the area directly below the counter. Adding a multi-level counter is a simple modification to kitchen design, and with some thoughtful planning, it will make your kitchen the ultimate family space.