A kitchen island unit without seating is nothing short of a missed opportunity. Happily, there are many ways to add a comfortable spot to rest your derriere. A little advanced planning will ensure the best solution for your needs.
Start by deciding what you need seating for: how many do you need to accommodate and for how long? If your island will provide the only eating area in the room, dedicate as much dining space as you can spare. And be sure to source stools that are designed for easy access and comfort – high backs are best.
Next think about the area around your island, which will help determine where the seating should go. Stools that tuck underneath a breakfast bar, out of the way, can be helpful in smaller kitchens but try to imagine them in use too. Will your guests be sitting in the way of a main entrance or access to the fridge?
One final tip; locate your seating well away from your island’s hob, if applicable, and prep spaces to keep little fingers safely away from hot pans and sharp knives.
Got your seating area sussed? Find your perfect bar stool.
1. Floating effect
Clever design details can elevate inexpensive cabinetry to designer status. Here, barely-there chrome legs create the illusion of a contemporary cantilevered dining space – without the costly structural engineering of the real deal. Caple’s Darga kitchen in white, costs from £6,200.
2. Banquette style
Banquette seating offers the cosy intimacy of your favourite diner, at home. It’s also a great space-saving solution on an island unit, as fitted seating requires less floor space than freestanding. This elegant bespoke banquette (also seen top), upholstered in luxurious leather, is by Humphrey Munson, kitchens start from £40,000.
3. Colour match
Brightly coloured bar stools can play a vital role when colour-coordinating your kitchen. We love the zesty lemon hues of these Ernest bar stools, £139.99 each. John Lewis of Hungerford’s Shaker kitchen is priced from £17,500. The peacock mural is by Alex Lucas.
4. Island seating for small kitchens
Squeezed for space? All you need is a small overhang and a couple of simple wooden stools to create the perfect resting point for your morning coffee. The New England Shutter Company’s Café Style Tulipwood Shutters in bright white start from £307.30/m2.
5. Double up
Cover all the bases with an island that boasts bar style seating at one end, and a lower dining level at the other. This dynamic island from Davonport’s Soho range features a stunning mix of materials including sandblasted ash, industrial concrete and hand-stitched fabric panels. Kitchens start from £60,000.
6. Slick contrast
Designer bar stools can instantly take a classic kitchen in a fresh modern direction. Here, the unexpected combo of manmade polycarbonate and natural timber is seriously covetable. Bespoke kitchens by The Secret Drawer start from £62,000. Kraft Furniture sells Victoria Ghost bar stools for £79.99 each.
7. Island bar seating
A raised breakfast bar will elevate your island design, literally, and provide a separate surface for serving drinks, away from the clutter of cooking and prepping. This is the Calatrava Island, £1,889 as shown, from Wren Kitchens.
8. Legroom for all
Legroom can be an issue with traditional breakfast bars, not least when small children kick and scuff the rear panel as they clamber onto a stool. This generous island with seating for four solves the problem nicely and provides a spacious elevated dining area for all the family. Harvey Jones’ Linear kitchen starts from £18,000.
9. Low-level island seating
While a barstool is the perfect pit stop for a quick lunch or glass of vino, there’s no denying a dining chair is more comfortable for languishing over dinner. If your kitchen is your only dining option, consider a drop-down island like this sleek design featuring Kitchen Architecture’s bulthaup’s b3 cabinetry in Alpine White, prices start from £35,000.
10. Design difference
The breakfast bar on this bespoke island unit is shaped like the end of an elegant table, complete with beautiful hand-turned legs. The results are undeniably striking and provide plenty of seating space too. Lewis Alderson’s bespoke hardwood kitchen, painted in Little Greene’s Mortar 239 and True Taupe 240, starts from £40,000. The gorgeous Beetle stools are from £971 each, The Conran Shop.