To Waterfall or Not To Waterfall

By Kate Riley April 23, 2015

Yesterday I returned from a quick trip to visit the folks in Las Vegas and check on the progress of the fixer upper, things are moving along in the kitchen, I found my dream backsplash and the fabricators I hired came out to make the template for the new countertops. I finally made a decision on the solid surface, I envisioned white quartz from the start so I’ll be working with Caesarstone in Pure White, it will be so beautiful when complete, I’ll share that next month.

Meanwhile I have a decision to make on the edge of the peninsula and whether I should add a waterfall edge or not, here’s a quick iPhone pic I took this week (see actual colors of the cabinets and another view of the peninsula here.)

kitchen counter template

I have the choice between a classic horizontal surface that ends here or I could have it drop down to the floor with a waterfall edge. The style of this kitchen will be more contemporary so a waterfall could look amazing – it would be striking to look at you enter the kitchen, and would have a return where two counter stools sit on the other side.

I’m torn for reasons shared below, but first a look at some waterfall edges to collectively drool over.

marble waterfall island countertop

space architects and planners

waterfall island edge in kitchen

blansfield builders

marble waterfall countertop edge

style at home

marble waterfall edge dark cabinets

john maniscalo architecture

waterfall edge island marble countertop

chelsea atelier

waterfall edge kitchen island

rosemount kitchens

kitchen countertop waterfall island edge

style at home

Here is the look of Caesarstone quartz on islands with a waterfall edge, I die they’re so purty.

pure white quartz waterfall edge


waterfall edge island caesarstone

And on a straight peninsula.

waterfall edge caesarstone

images via Caesarstone

I lean toward the waterfall edge since 1) it’s awesome and 2) it will hide that contrast between the blue/gray cabinet and pony wall. I lean against it because of the angle of the peninsula, I’m not 100% convinced it will look right since it will only be on this one side and it requires a return. Personally I prefer the look of a waterfall edge when the look is two sided and symmetrical on an island. Also are waterfall edges trendy? Will we still be loving them in 10 years, or are they a new classic?  What say you?


  1. Suzanne Dimma from Canadian House & Home included a waterfall edge on her kitchen island, and if I recall she left it short of the floor (for some reason I don’t recall, but I think her designer husband may have suggested it). And she is so good at the fine details, I would check it out before you commit.

  2. I like the waterfall edges, but in your case my vote is no. I think it would be strange with the angle of the counter and could end up looking like you’re trying too hard.

  3. I say go for it. I don’t think I’d be happy with the look of the pony wall and the cabinets to be completely honest.

  4. I like waterfall edges for many reasons, the main one being that there is no counter corner extending outward for the wee ones to bonk their heads on!

    • I was thinking same thing about cleaning vs wood over time. Also wondering how granite vs other materials will look/work on waterfall?

  5. I’m not a fan of the waterfall and I do think it’s too trendy. Although I can see your point about hiding where the two walls merge. I’m sure you’ll come up with a clever idea to hide those walls even if you don’t use the waterfall edge.

  6. I would go for it! This is also a high traffic area and those corners are always prone to getting banged up over time, whereas a waterfall edge would hold up to that!

  7. I looked at some single-sided waterfalls online, and they always look so much more clean, sleek and beautiful, compared to a non-waterfall. I would recommend doing the waterfall, and I think it will look very nice in your kitchen.

  8. I do think it is trendy, and I also think it makes the peninsula or island look a little “boxy”. But at the same time I appreciate the aesthetics and the practicality of it too!

  9. My husband is remodeling our house right now and we’re doing the white quartz waterfall on one end of the island with shelving on the other end for cookbooks. I say go for it!

  10. I am an engineer and typically super analytical about symmetry and not a huge fan of the more modern looking waterfall edges. However, in this scenario, I do prefer the white waterfall edge on the end cap to hide the wall/cabinet transition and the fact that it is just on one end doesn’t bug me one bit. I especially like the thinner stone applications, like the Rosemount Kitchens & Style at Home examples. The thinner stones look less trendy to me, but in a good way. I may be swaying you in the opposite direction with my analysis. :)

  11. I too say go for it. This is your 2nd home and I think that warrants going big, or going home (to the other one:) ) Besides, by the time it is “out of vogue” the whole look will be out and you will have to revamp it all anyway. I say, live life on the edge…the waterfall edge.

    Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

  12. I’m not a fan, to be honest. I think it will date your kitchen very quickly, in addition to adding an unnecessary extra expense.

  13. I’m loving how the kitchen is coming together! You always create such gorgeous spaces! As far as the waterfall edge, here’s my two cents… I think it would look better on an island where it comes down on both sides. I think it may look off balanced here. I’ve been seeing lots of waterfall edges lately and, while they are gorgeous, I have a nagging feeling that they are trendy and will look dated in a few years. Seriously, though, I know whatever you decide will turn out beautifully!

  14. I guess it really depends on if you want to spend the money on the extra material that you will never use. :) We just had that issue when we redid our kitchen island. We went with Alaskan White Granite. It would have meant purchasing another slab and in all honesty I think its a bit busy to bring all the way to the floor. We did go with a 2 inch edge that makes it look and feel substantial. It will look great either way.

  15. I was not aware there was even anything like this! I really like it! I think it is clean and sleek looking and I think it is the perfect design solution for that transition from pony wall to cabinet. I also agree, that corner will be a busy place. Having the Caesarstone will hold up better to foot kicks. I think it will be such nice finished edge that you see from the angle you took the pic from. I don’t understand what you mean by “it will have a return where 2 counter stools will sit on the other side”…I thick I prefer the chunkier look-it looks more substantial, like a table would be, whereas the thinner ones look like they aren’t w=strong enough to hold up that edge. I say go for it!

  16. The chunkier Caesarstone ones remind me of a Parsons table, which is a classic shape and doesn’t go out of style! But if you’re nervous, I agree that the thinner ones look less trendy. Either way, I say go for it!

  17. If modern is the “look” you’re going for….I say go for it. I agree that it will be a better application to hide the transition from the cabinets and pony wall for a cleaner look.

  18. so, yah – that was exactly the word i was going to use – ‘trendy.’ are they beautiful? yes, but there is not question it is a trend now. not as bad as an over sized talking heads shoulder pads trend, but still. also, without it being on both sides i think it may feel heavy on the waterfall side? less esthetically ‘peaceful’ because of that? that all said, i’m on your team however you decide! thanks for sharing the pics. i so enjoy.

  19. that was my first thought, I think they are pretty trendy and not everyone appreciates how cool they are.

  20. I like it! I think the wall on the other end kind of lends itself to being more or less a waterfall on both sides.

  21. One other thing to consider with the waterfall edge is that the back of the quartz is stamped/printed with their brand name. So you will need to find a way to finish the raw backside edge seen where the seating is. It may be you add an additional piece the width of your overhang and sandwich them together so the polished face is facing stool. Just food for thought.

  22. I like the look of the waterfall edge, but I’m pretty sure it will look dated in 5-10 years. If that doesn’t bother you, go for it. It really depends on how you feel about it. Some people care, some don’t. We got gold fixtures/hardware everywhere in 1999 and I’m dying to change it all out, even though gold is back. I now skip all trends and just try to go classic, or do something a little different so that it never looks dated. For example, when a red dining room was all the rage, I went with a terracotta reddish color that still doesn’t look dated.

  23. Absolutely I’d choose waterfall edge. They make a kitchen look very upmarket and super stylish!!!

  24. I’m a fan of the waterfall! I have an island that just has the granite countertop and the cabinet showing. My cabinet has a laminate on it and over the years is now chipping away on the bottom. This idea is not only pretty but functional!

  25. i think you should have put cabinet paneling over the pony wall to disguise it.

  26. the waterfall is big here in australia when it’s paired with sleek modern cabinets. i love your choices so far but years ago i had pure white corian countertops and, if you are a clean freak, you may wish to go with a white combined with flecks of something else. every single crumb or dog hair shows up. it REALLY bugged me. for resale though, the clean white look is appealing.

  27. Hi Kate! It’s not really my decision because you need to do whatever makes you happy, but I vote in the NO column and echo some of the other responses. This is a very trendy look. It will date your kitchen faster than a sheet of laminate flooring. Second, it is a very heavy look visually. I think it drags down the counter and makes it look too large for the space. Third, it is just another added expense that isn’t really that functional. Put your extra $$ into something that will really wow, even if it is just using an artsy glass bowl for pop of color on the counter. Whatever you decide, good luck with your project!

  28. If it was me, I would do it! I think it really does solve the problem of the junction of the two surfaces there, and as others pointed out, it is a sturdy surface that will stand up to the busy comings and goings in the kitchen. Is it “trendy”? Yep! But I think this sort of trend is a long term one and not something that will be out in a few years but moe like 10 years. It is no more ” trendy” than having two toned cabinets in the kitchen :)

  29. Love the look and think it is definitely a classic, similar to adding a panel or trim to the end of the peninsula or island for a more complete and designer look.

  30. All of your inspiration photos show straight line cabinet runs. I love waterfall edges, but not for your application. Good luck in your choice.

  31. Wow, your project is looking beautiful! My first thought was yes, go for the waterfall. However, the more I look at it, the more I would first try to envision the pony wall and white/gray contrast as being all one seamless color and texture. Your eye goes right to that area (where the gray cabinet meets the pony wall) because the harsh contrast in color and texture with the base trim. Can you achieve a smooth, one color island base without doing the waterfall? Maybe use your gray cabinet paint on the pony wall and continue the base trim so it all looks like cabinetry. If not, go for the waterfall. That area needs to blend better in my opinion. Good luck! No matter what your decision, it will be gorgeous! One quick addition…if you choose to do the waterfall, check the stool space, definitely constricts that area. Thanks for sharing :)

  32. I think waterfall edges are gorgeous
    BUT I also think they are trendy and will date a kitchen. I would skip it.

  33. I had a house fire2013,my contractor talked me out of a waterfall edge on the kitchen peninsula,as its code here that the end of penninsula MUST gave an outlet ..for phones/ chargers,or a big mixer..I miss the waterfall edge…the inspector said it’s very costY to drill thru marble( my choice) as opposed to granite,harder..I listened.. Love my marble even if softer material.( been around for centuries,)

  34. Love waterfall edges but the lack of symmetry would make me nuts and I’m not even very OCD (ok a little).

  35. Gosh I hate myself for saying this, but I vote no. The angles plus the fact that it may not appeal/be trendy after some time makes me lean no. If it was going to be your space to love then I would say yes! All in! No matter what, it will be beautiful. Good luck!

  36. I think in this kitchen it would not be my choice due to the angles of the peninsula. It looks good on an island because of the symmetry. In that situation, and in a contemporary style kitchen it would not be dated because it very much resembles a classic parsons table which has never gone out of style. But I fear on this bar, it would become dated besides looking odd.

  37. personally, i like the look of the waterfall but do feel its trendy. i also like symmetry and dont know that it would work in your situation. on the other hand you can make anything look great! so im sure you’ll make the right choice (:

  38. No waterfall because of the engle and because this is not a true island (both side), the modern style just doesn’t match the shape of your kitchen

  39. Several of the photos show waterfall edges on peninsulas and it looks fab. I say go for it!

  40. I do think this is a trend that you could end up tiring of. I’d vote no on the waterfall edge. You have wonderful taste though and maybe me thinking it’s trendy is just me.

  41. I’m a no vote. I agree that the 1 sided waterfall would mess with the balance, and I don’t think it would mesh well with the other kitchen choices. Can’t wait to see what you decide on regardless!

  42. I would not do the waterfall edge. I would visually extend the look of the pony wall around the end of the cabinet. The woodwork needs to be a part of the extension.

  43. I say “no”…even though I do like some of the pictures you show, I think it will be outdated in a few years…and, since it’s one-sided; I just wouldn’t like it. Love what you’ve done so far…can’t wait either to see the finished work!

  44. In your own home, I’d vote yes, but you might do without it in a property you hope to sell. I’m making a completely uneducated guess that it won’t add to your eventual selling price. Boring pragmatism rules here :).

  45. I vote no to the waterfall. I agree with another comment that you should put a cabinet panel over the whole end, or at least paint the edge of the pony wall to match the cabinets.

  46. I say no, if you are planning on reselling. I am not a fan AT ALL (even though I’m usually the first to jump on a trend!) and I don’t think it has universal appeal. I love the contrast of cabinets with countertops, and all you get here is a whole lot of countertop! And I have a feeling these will be the harvest gold or avocado green of our time!

  47. I love me some good stone, but I have to say, I’m not in love with the waterfall look. It’s VERY modern looking (especially in some of your examples), and I don’t think it will appeal as well to all potential buyers. That said, the ones that are more of a solid color are definitely easier on the eyes, than the ones that have the grain. I think the latter looks busy, and takes away from the other gorgeous things going on. I will caveat my opinion by saying that I’m definitely a more traditional gal when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, mostly because (as you mentioned) stuff WILL go out of style, and since kitchens and baths only get redone every 10-15 years, I like to keep styles that are more classic. I generally love all your design ideas, but I’m not sold on this one. As far as the awkwardness of it, if you were to use a solid color stone, I think you could do it, but anything with a grain might look odd, because it draws your eyes to it. Looking forward to seeing the finished result, whatever you choose :o)

  48. I was surprised at how many responses you have that said “do it”. I think it’s trendy and not worth the extra expense. I like that the cabinets are a different color, and seeing them from the side like that is not a negative. However, trying to put too much into that small kitchen will make it look garish. Skip the waterfall. Concentrate on something else for a focal point, like the back splash.

  49. NO WATERFALL! I personally don’t like the look at all. I think waterfall counter tops are going to be what orange oak was to the 90s. Stay classic!

  50. Since you are going for a contemporary look I think the waterfall would help you achieve this. I think it would look good on this angle! Trust whatever your gut says because, girl , you”ve got rockstar design instincts!:-)

  51. I vote for the waterfull but either way, the kitchen is going to be gorgeous! Can’t wait to see the finished pictures!

  52. I don’t care for the waterfall look. It looks dated to me. I really like the contrast of the cabinets and pony wall.

  53. I have to vote no. I like the waterfall in a contemporary kitchen, it works with the clean lines and flat faced cabinets. In that setting I don’t think it will read trendy in 10 years. Your kitchen is not contemporary. If you add it to the shaker cabinets in ten years it will look like you jumped on on the waterfall band wagon and your kitchen will look dated. I appreciate that you are trying to hide the cabinet pony wall transition, it does bother me too, I think a better investment would be a shaker style panel covering the side of the cabinet and the end of the pony wall. That would keep all the elements classic, thus timeless.

  54. I think it will act like crown molding in a room. It will finish the look and some people think molding is out of date but most agree it is a classic.

  55. I am amazed at the number of responses which say “too trendy.” These must be people who are too young to remember the parsons table as a kind of trend in the 60’s and 70’s, but was then, and still is a classic.

  56. Great kitchen – classic details! I personally would vote against a waterfall edge. I think it is a trend that adds too modern of an edge and keeps your space from looking classic. Another option might be to add a cabinet detail to the end of your peninsula where the wall and cabinets come together – covering both the wall and cabinet – either painted white or the cabinet color. In my kitchen, we built a bookcase to fit the dimensions. It gives me a place for display and holds my favorite cookbooks as well as it bridged the gap of the wall/cabinets seamlessly. Good luck with your decision!

  57. I certainly don’t mind them aesthetically, but I would never put use a waterfall edge with seating. It’s just asking for bumped knees (and bruised heads for the toddler crowd).

  58. I’m not at all attracted to a waterfall edge. Too modern and trendy, too “boxy” and, to me, downright “clunky”. (I do remember Parsons tables and I love them in their place.) I think the waterfall edge calls all the attention to itself, but what’s appealing about a big overturned box in the middle of your otherwise very lovely kitchen? I know you’ll make a considered decision, however, and it will all come out beautiful. I love everything else you’ve done in the kitchen and the breakfast area and I’m excited to see the finished project.

  59. Love the waterfall edges you’ve shared! I agree with some of the other commentators re: it can look modern but I think this is a great place to go for it! Love that it would hide those mismatching edges and it would finish off the counter nicely. I think waterfall edges might be trendy now but due to their practicality, they are totally here to stay. Cheers!

  60. Sandyc said it all. Too trendy. But whatever . . . . it’ll be a beauty of a kitchen.

  61. The waterfall edge is a great look but my concern is for the front of the island were the stools are. The front of my island always has foot prints. Would the stone look good on the front of the island to prevent foot prints.

  62. I don’t mind the look of it (I do think it’s more trendy and less timeless though) but I do think it works best on an island where it’s symetrical. The ones that I’m drawn to in the pics above really anchor the island in the room and it works well with the surrounding kitchen. I think for the Las Vegas kitchen it could make that side of the peninsula heavy, but I do agree with others about finishing off the end with some type of cabinetry so that it looks like a built in.

  63. Hi Kate – I can’t wait to see the Ceasarstone. I agree with your concerns about the waterfall edge. They are lovely but perhaps not right for the angle you have there. Have you considered an alternate disguise for that pony wall? I think it would look fabulous if you framed out the small edge of the pony wall and the end of the base cabinet unit to match the detail on your cabinet doors and drawers. I look forward to seeing the counter installed and good luck!

  64. I love the contrast colors of the pony wall and cabinets – but also know this will be an area of lots of wear and tear – not to mention the head banging for kiddos. That being said – I don’t care for the waterfall – way too trendy. And an expense that may not pay off on a house you are planning to flip.

  65. Waterfall!! I would love to have done this when we remodeled our kitchen-that end of the counter also takes a beating from traffic and you wint need to worry about wear and tear not to mention it will look uber cool!!

  66. I would bring the pony wall around in an L shape to enclose the side of the cabinets.

  67. I tried to find a picture of a waterfall edge AND an angled peninsula or island. I guess it’s too much to have both, but it would be nice to “finish” the exposed side somehow.

  68. I have it in white quartz and I could not be happier. I do not care ‘if’ it may be trendy because right now, I am in heaven and every single person who walks in my house compliments me on it. Not that this matters, what matters is that I love it. And I only have it on one side, as the peninsula hits the wall on the other side. It is gorgeous!

  69. I would say what market are you aiming for? If it’s really high end the waterfall is worth the price. Otherwise…..

  70. I would say go for the waterfall! In my opinion, it makes the kitchen look very polished.

  71. As much as it pains me to say this, I think the waterfall edge would look really nice. You’ve got some nice square-ish shapes going with the cabinets and drawer fronts, and the finished edges of the waterfall would complement nicely. On the other hand . . . the waterfall edge might make an attractive nuisance for little ones with paints and crayons : )

  72. The waterfall look is beautiful., but I do think it is trendy and not for everyone. Since this is a re-sell I would pass on the waterfall.

  73. I didn’t but wish I did. I bought my Caeserstone as a surplus piece from a supplier and there was just not enough to do the waterfall. In hindsight I should have sourced another piece. I don’t think the look is trendy or will date I just think it’ looks ‘finished’ and ‘luxe’.

  74. It looks pretty-and modern-but if people are sitting in the end stools I bet it’s a pain for them to leave the table/counter with that “wall” in the way-especially if the stools swivel. I’d go with function and say no.

  75. Waterfall edges are nice in the right setting, but with a smaller bar, it makes it feel boxed in and even smaller. It visually chops up the space.

  76. I say yes to the waterfall. It will give it a nice clean edge, save space on the passageway into the kitchen and just nicely set off the peninsula. Plus, I think not having a that countertop corner sticking out will prevent a lot of little kid head injuries.

  77. Your third example from the top, from Style at Home, settles it for me. Install the waterfall. It will be beautiful!

  78. I agree, that end of the cabinet needs something. I’m not sure about the waterfall, though. Like you… I like the symmetry of a waterfall edge on both ends.

    What if you framed out that end of the cabinet and the pony wall together, then added moulding so that it looks like wainscoting? Then you could paint the whole thing the base cabinet color without having that edge of the pony wall to contend with. You could even extend the wainscoting across the pony wall. Would that be too traditional for the style you’re going for?

    I know whatever you do will look fantastic!

  79. I was thinking as I looked at all those pictures that the waterfall will date itself quickly, and then you asked that very question. Maybe it’s a sign….

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