A well-designed kitchen island provides a focal point for your open-concept home design, boosts kitchen storage, and enhances counter space for meal prep. And one of the most essential features of your island is its seating design.
Island seating invites your growing kids to linger around the kitchen while you prepare dinner, gaining precious moments together each day. It gives guests a comfortable place to relax while conversing with you as you warm mouth-watering appetizers.
Give forethought to the purposes of your island seating, and you’ll add practical function and stylish beauty to the heart of your home.
Island Seating Success Tips
1. Heighten Looks
Kitchen island seating allows you to introduce a pop of color, varied textures, and new materials to your space, bringing out the beauty in your kitchen. Add interest by creating color contrast when it comes to island seating. If the kitchen is primarily white, consider dark blue or seating.
2. Add Comfort
While it’s important that your island seating packs a punch visually, it’s equally essential that seating is comfy. If you want people to linger, opt for the most comfortable seating. Seats with arms provide extra luxury but will require greater space between them. Compare bar stools with seating with backs and armrests. Or, find a happy medium by exploring seats with backs and without armrests. Try out your top seating picks to ensure they are comfy for your family and friends.
3. Optimize Function
Your kitchen revolves around its focal point—the island. To gain the most function from your island seating, begin your planning by defining its purpose: Is it the only seating in your kitchen, or supplemental seating for a quick bite to eat each morning and a place for guests to linger while you’re entertaining?
4. Plan for Ample Seating Dimensions
Include stool dimensions that give family and friends plenty of space to maneuver around.
- Aisles on each side of your island should be at least 42 inches wide.
- Seat height should allow at least 12 inches of clear knee space.
5. Match Seating Height with Seating Type
- Bar stools work well for islands with a counter height of 42 to 46 inches.
- Counter stools fit ideally with a standard 36-inch-high island countertop.
- Dining chairs and low stools tuck under a tabletop-height counter of 30 inches.
6. Ensure Ample Elbow Room
Allow ample elbow room for each person seated to ensure their comfort while they dine.
- A 30-inch-high island counter requires a 30-inch-wide by 19-inch-deep space for each individual.
- 36-inch-high countertops require a 24-inch-wide by 15-inch-deep space per person.
- 42-inch-high counters need a space of 24 inches wide by 12 inches deep per diner.
7. Embrace the Value of Overhangs
When your island includes overhangs, it gives your family and friends ample space for legs and knees. It also allows them more flexibility to move their stools around so they can face each other more readily.
Questions to Ask Before Designing Your Island Seating
How Does Your Kitchen’s Design Factor into the Island’s Shape and Seating?
Step back and look at how your kitchen fits into your floor plan. It will impact the shape and placement of your island and affect the seating configuration you choose.
- Open concept floor plan – You’ll benefit most from a rectangular island that runs parallel to your kitchen’s outermost wall. If seating is only on one side of the island, it should be situated so those seated can enjoy watching the cook in action without getting in their way.
- An L-shaped kitchen – An L-shaped island works perfectly in an L-shaped kitchen. Seating is best configured on adjacent sides of the island, adding visual interest and practical function to your kitchen space.
- A U-shaped kitchen – Consider an extended island that features one end’s use for table-like seating on opposite sides and the other end’s use for meal prep.
Where Are Your Refrigerator, Oven, and Dishwasher Located?
Due to the high traffic kitchens experience each day, you’ll want to locate island seating away from major appliances like ovens, dishwashers, and refrigerators for the best overall function. If your island seating will back up to cabinets or walkways, ensure ample clearance after seats are filled.
How Many Seats Do You Desire?
Your island will be scaled to the size of your kitchen. Its seating should fit your kitchen’s design rather than dominate it. Straight-line seating works well for up to three seats, while you may want to wrap them around the island if you have four or more for better socialization. Your seating capacity depends on the island’s size and location within the work triangle (your stovetop, refrigerator, and sink).
Do You Prefer a Rounded or Squared Edge to Your Island?
- A more formal rounded island counter can establish a more conversational setup where meals can be shared and face-to-face exchanges enjoyed.
- A rectangular island counter is more casual, where everyone faces the same direction and experiences the same view.
- For added interest, a curved breakfast bar offers more seating than its straight-lined counterpart. Its unique shape allows for seating on two sides while the other end of the island delivers ample space for meal prep and storage.
Transform Your Kitchen with Modern Design
Create a gathering space where your family and friends love to spend time together by upgrading your kitchen with modern fixtures, counters, and appliances. Finish it by tying it together with a gorgeous island and ideal seating.
At VL Builders, we are here to make your kitchen remodeling dreams come to life. We value our relationship with homeowners and are available long after completing their remodeling. Learn more about how our kitchen remodeling services can transform your Twin Cities area home’s kitchen!