Kitchen islands have been gaining popularity for years. These islands provide added storage space, more counter top space and if you extend the surface beyond the cabinets for at least 12 inches, you gain extra seating too.
As we're spending more time in the kitchen, it just makes sense to include seating for the cook, the kids and guests when you're entertaining. The real challenge is finding stools or chairs that compliment your kitchen design without being distracting, i.e. when they're not lined up exactly right (can you guess my bias)?
Oh, and let's not forget that we're only going to sit in stools that are comfortable!
Picking Kitchen Seating
Life is pretty complicated these days so we often make decisions without doing much research. That's why HomeTips4Women library is bringing together expert advice from a wide array of home professionals, to make it easier for you to find the information you need quickly.
You might think it's easy to pick out just the right chairs or stools for your new kitchen? It's not that easy so here are some quick tips to steer you in the right direction.
- How much space do you have behind the chair? You need at least 3 feet for someone to walk between a chair and the wall or cabinets so take some measurements before heading to the store.
- How large is the island counter top? You want your chairs or stools to be similar in size so larger chairs will compliment a large island counter top while smaller chairs or stools will fit smaller, narrow counter tops.
- How will your kitchen island be used? If the island will be used informally then taller is fine. When small children are doing homework they may be more comfortable with a 2-level island top that lets them sit at a normal table height.
- Does your kitchen open into a dining area? Decide if you want the kitchen island chairs to match those at the table visible from the kitchen like they do below.
- Do you want chair backs to take up visual space in your kitchen? You might only look at the chairs when shopping. Try to imagine them (2, 3 or more) and the effect of seat backs taking up visual space when they're sitting in the room.
- Will your chairs be left out all the time or put away? If your kitchen is roomy, chances are your chairs will stay there all the time but if you're tight on space as condos and city dwellings tend to be, pick chairs that are easy to carry and stack when stored.
Measurements for Kitchen Island Seats
If you're going shopping for kitchen seating, here are the key measurements you need to make the best decision.
- What is your counter height? Kitchen counter tops are normally 36 inches high while tables are 30 inches tall. To be safe, you might also want to measure to the bottom of the counter top.
- What is the length of the counter top(s) where your seats (chairs or stools) will go? Generally you should plan on 2 feet per seat but you'll want to know if the space is tight, as that might rule out seats that are 26 inches or wider.