A kitchen island is the perfect addition to any home.
The quintessential island will establish itself as the center of all your kitchen activities: it provides additional countertop space for enhanced cooking preparation; allows you the option for a second kitchen sink; and can function as the ideal spot for meals, with casual dining seating.
Have you established the perfect design? What about your seating?
If you are designing a kitchen island with seating, you need to ensure you have all of your bases covered before you can turn your dream into a reality.
This article will walk you through what to do – and what to avoid – when designing your kitchen island seating!
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Know The Common Mistakes
When it comes to renovations, you can't just have a half-cocked idea of what you want based on a Pinterest design or Instagram post.
Sure, they can be great for inspiration and kickstarting your design process; but, in order to seamlessly integrate the perfect island into your dream kitchen, you’ll need to first know where not to start.
Here are some common kitchen island seating mistakes we will go over in this article:
Cramming too many seats at the bar
Choosing design over functionality
Choosing design over comfort
Purchasing the wrong size chairs
Going over budget
Arrangement is Key
You will first want to consider the arrangement of your seating area.
Many people find kitchen islands appealing because of breakfast bars. When deciding how many seats you want, ensure you give each person at least 24" of space. The last thing you want is people bumping elbows during meals!
Think about the view! Do you want your guests to face the wall or a window?
And, of course, do not let a beautiful visual get in the way of functionality. Setting four stools on the same side of a kitchen island may look perfect from a visual standpoint but does not aid the conversation. You will either have everyone lined up in one direction like strangers in a bar, or someone has to awkwardly pull a stool to the wrong side of the island.
Islands with seating on only one side is a common arrangement, and it works well for most situations. However, if you have the room, and are looking to turn a kitchen island into a frequent full family meal spot, it may not be ideal for you.
But, if your kitchen space is limited, or you just can’t manage implementing seats on more than one side, then having multisided seating is not the be-all and end-all of kitchen island seating!
Comfortable Chairs Are a Must!
It's easy to get caught up in designing the perfect kitchen. Sometimes, when you are matching aesthetics, you can focus solely on visuals, and forget about functionality and comfort.
It is critical to ensure you actually enjoy sitting on the chairs you pick!
You will likely regret buying fashion-forward chairs if they are uncomfortable. Just because a certain style of chair or stool may appeal to the eye, does not mean you will want to be sitting in them every day.
Try out different chairs and decide what's important to you!
Here are some things you should consider when selecting your seats:
It's simple – You can't lean back on a backless stool. Equipping your island seating with proper back support will enhance your dining experience, and ensure you get the most use out of your island seating as you envisioned!
Sitting in a single chair for a long time can hurt after a while, trust me. If you are planning on using these chairs a lot - consider padding them.
Even if they aren't a common style, you still make the rules when it comes to your kitchen. Modern armrests can come in various styles, heights, and thicknesses.
Just remember, seat armrests and backs take up more room, so you will need to account for that. And they may not tuck under the island overhang as easily as other styles.
If you've sat in a swivel chair and haven't done a quick spin just for fun, you are lying.
Swivel chairs are popular in kitchen seating because they give you more flexibility. No more craning your neck to speak to your neighbor, all you need to do is swing around and chat.
While swivel chairs are fun, they aren't meant for all kitchens. Stationary chairs are great options for smaller spaces, since they do not require as much room.
Family members of various heights can make it a pain to purchase chairs that match everyone's needs. Adjustable chairs make that a bit easier, and guarantees everyone has a seat at the island!
What material is best? Wood? Metal? Leather? It's about more than just your fashion taste.
Will kids and pets be using your kitchen seating?
Young kids are tough on furniture, which makes upholstered chairs and cushions a pain to clean. Claws rip through vinyl; teeth leave marks on the wood.
Deciding on your seating material will come down to the make-up of your home, and everyone in it.
Looking to start on your dream island? Book a free consultation with a Deslaurier kitchen designer, today!
Consider The Purpose
Recognizing the purpose of your kitchen island seating will help determine its style and size.
How Often Will You Use the Seats?
Will you be sitting in the kitchen for every meal? Planning on having plenty of dinner parties with friends at the kitchen island? Is this going to be the hub of family activities - homework, games, socializing?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you should consider comfy chairs with a back and armrests. Seriously, it's not easy managing a lengthy game night on a backless stool.
If you don’t intend on everyday use, or prefer your family dinners at the table with breakfasts better suited to the island, then the amount of space designated to your island seating should reflect that.
This process is about establishing the unique island needs of you and your family - so, be sure to consider every possible variable!
Measure, Measure, and Measure Again!
Okay, you picked out the perfect chairs for your kitchen island weeks ago, they just arrived and you have them placed exactly where you envisioned them. But...they're too big.
Now what? What if the chairs are non-refundable?
The last thing you want is to purchase non-refundable chairs and find out that they're too big, too small, or lack the functionality for your kitchen island size. Double-check all measurements!
There are two primary kitchen island heights: standard and bar height.
What is Standard Height Seating?
Standard counter height in a kitchen is typically 35"-40" tall, which works well for bar stools and chairs anywhere from 23" to 28". Keep in mind that the measurement of chairs is from the floor to the seat.
Standard height is perfect for shorter stools or chairs. The shorter height is better for children and adults with mobility restrictions to get in and out of the chairs more conveniently.
What is Bar Height Seating?
Bar height seating is elevated, usually about 41"-43" tall, which works well for stools that are 29"-30" tall. An advantage of bar height seating is that it can conceal clutter or dirty dishes from your guests' view.
They also make it easier to slide stools underneath, to help maximize space in small kitchen designs.
The raised top can also act as a room divider, separating the kitchen from the rest of the room. Additionally, family and guests can sit and interact with the cook without interfering.
Just as standard height seating is perfect for small children, bar height seating is not.
For an elevated counter height, you will need taller stools, which smaller children may have some trouble hopping onto.
Stay on Budget!
Budgeting is crucial.
Before any big design or renovation, you must create a spending plan to determine if you have enough money to complete the project.
If you do not have enough money to realize your dream kitchen fully, you can still use this planning process to prioritize your spending.
Establishing an appropriate budget also makes sure you do not go into any unnecessary debt.
Following a budget when planning your kitchen island seating has several benefits that cannot be overemphasized.
Budgets Keep You on Track
Budgets force you to think long-term and map out your goals.
Okay, it might suck when you realize you can't purchase that gorgeous cashmere sweater or the newest smartwatch because they do not fit into your budget.
But it's worth it when you remember that you need that money to purchase those sleek faux leather stools you had your heart set on.
Budgets Help Keep You Out of Debt
I know you love your credit card, but they are key players in putting consumers into debt. In 2020, the average credit card debt per household was $6,194.
It's easy to overspend with credit cards without realizing it. Before you know it, you are drowning in debt.
It is easy to fall into unwanted debt while tinkering with your design process. Upgrading fixtures here, adding accessories there, the possibility of overspending your budget for a kitchen project is extremely prevalent.
However, if you stick to a firm budget, you will never find yourself in this dangerous position. You will know exactly how much money you have readily available and how much you can afford to comfortably spend.
Budgeting Keeps Everything Organized
Let's be real here; you are not just renovating or designing your kitchen. Along with the kitchen project, you have monthly bills, groceries, family care expenses, pet care expenses, and everything else that costs you money.
Before you know it, the excitement of turning your dream into a reality can quickly transition to stressing over whether your dream has become a nightmare.
This is where budgets come in. Budgets keep your financial life organized and your stress rate down. Leaving you free to focus solely on what you set out to do: upgrade your kitchen!
Budgeting Keeps You Prepared for Emergencies
I sincerely hope that everything goes well for you when planning your kitchen island and its seating. However, life is full of surprises - and not all of them are good.
If an unexpected repair happens, it helps to have a backup plan readily available.
Prepare a small amount of your budget to cover any unforeseen repairs or issues. That way, you can manage the unexpected and stay on track for your kitchen island seating.
If, thankfully, those issues never happen? Use that extra money you put aside to throw a celebratory party to show off your new, flawless kitchen island!
There are plenty of considerations when it comes to planning the perfect kitchen island seating that is comfortable, functional, and stylish.
Need a hand designing your perfect kitchen island seating? Whether you want traditional or modern kitchen island seating, contact Deslaurier today for a free consultation with a kitchen designer in our Jupiter, Florida showroom.