Skip to main content

21OAK may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

We love these new kitchen island seating trends

Get creative when it comes to kitchen island seating

rustic mediterranean kitchen design with blue tile backsplash
Followtheflow / Shutterstock

In most homes, the kitchen is where people gather. Not just your family, but when you have guests over or entertain. Because it’s where everyone seems to congregate, you need to have plenty of seating available for people to kick back and be comfortable. But it’s not like you’re entertaining every day, so you want to make sure the seating options and kitchen setup can accommodate extra seating when you need it, but still be functional for your family on a daily basis and not feel overcrowded.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by having a kitchen island with seating that you can add to (or take away from) when needed. Because people work, eat, do homework, and prep food in this room, kitchens need to feel spacious and not overly crowded, but also have enough room to add seating for guests. Here are just a few kitchen island seating trends to get you thinking and planning for your next big get-together.

Kitchen island with bench seating
alexandre zveiger / Shutterstock

Consider bench seating

Bench seating has risen in popularity around a kitchen table, but did you know it’s become quite a splash around kitchen islands, too? Kitchen island benches, like this one from Pottery Barn, are versatile and make a big design statement. Not only is it functional, but you can fit several adults and even more kids when people come for dinner.

Recommended Videos

This setup allows for more seating than traditional bar stools and is ideal in a rustic or industrial kitchen. If you want something upholstered and a little smaller to fit your island, consider this one from Wayfair. You can tuck it under an island top and bring it out when additional seating is required.

Updated kitchen with tile backsplash
Ashton Woods Homes

Arm vs. no-arm bar stools

If space is what you’re looking for, bar stools with no arms allow for more seating that you can pack around a kitchen island. While seats with arms are traditionally more comfortable and refined, because of their width, you simply can’t seat that many people.

I like to have the best of both worlds, so in my kitchen, I have two center bar stools with arms for the weekdays when there are fewer people eating around the island, mixed in with bar stools without arms. We always have spares in the storage room, so when people pop by, we can quickly add more stools around the island.

Kitchen island with wooden chairs
Terry Magallanes / Pexels

Mix-and-match seating

Another trend we’re seeing is spicing things up a bit by having mix-and-match seating. Whether each metal bar stool is a different color or the same bar stools with mix-and-match fabric, it’s a fun way to inject some personality — and color — into your kitchen. Depending on your aesthetic, you could be as daring as you’d like.

We’ve seen everything from every bar stool being completely unique (i.e., metal, wood, fabric, etc.) to coordinating fabrics in similar hues but different patterns. We also love choosing bold colors like blue, red, or yellow and buying them in pairs so every other one matches another.

Clean, bright kitchen with seating
Anna Andersson Fotografi / Shutterstock

Use your kitchen table

If you aren’t using your center island like you’d planned or want something entirely different in your kitchen, consider putting the kitchen table where a traditional island would go. It’s been popular in the U.K. and Europe for decades, as kitchens tend to be smaller, and out of necessity, a table was the center of the kitchen.

Functionally, it’s a wonderful way to gather everyone together in the heart of the home. It also offers a feeling of connectedness to have everyone in the kitchen seated, serving food to each other in a casual setting. Plus, you can get more chairs around a kitchen table, which works well for large families or those who entertain frequently.

cottage kitchen design
2M media / Shutterstock

Hidden bar stools

A popular option for homeowners who want a seamless, minimalist look in their kitchens is to hide bar stools when not in use. Many modern kitchens feature a grand island with no apparent seating around it. This is great for small kitchens or spaces where people are bustling around and require more freedom of movement. Hiding bar stools underneath or inside the island is a unique feature of some homes. Alternatively, stashing stools in a large walk-in pantry or nearby kitchen closet is also a popular choice.

It’s important to note that this isn’t the best solution for families that enjoy regular daily seating at the kitchen island. However, for those who want a seamless and uncluttered aesthetic in their home design and who don’t require everyday seating, this may be a wonderful choice. Just keep in mind that moving the stools when needed may require more work. Though, sometimes, aesthetics triumph over functionality.

Rustic farmhouse kitchen
BM_27 / Shutterstock

What to consider before choosing kitchen island seating

Here are a few things to consider when deciding on your seating. First, does it work for your family? For instance, if you have small kids, you may want to stay away from upholstered kitchen seating to avoid staining. Bench seating around the island may be good for small kids to keep them all in a row for feeding, but may not work if you have teens who are up and down and eating at different times.

Another thought is, what is the overall look you’re trying to achieve in the rest of the room? If it’s a more farmhouse feeling, bright red bar stools may not work. Make sure your seating doesn’t distract from the rest of the space. Finally, anyone who spends time sitting in the kitchen wants to be comfortable, so keep that in mind when choosing seating that works for everyone.

These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing when it comes to kitchen island seating and kitchen seating ideas. The best part — there are no rules for what goes and what doesn’t, so use your imagination to design your kitchen seating in a way that works for your family and that considers when others come to visit.

Editors' Recommendations

Julie Scagell
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
Kitchen floating shelves: Dumb idea or cool design feature?
Floating cabinets are aesthetic and functional. Here's what to keep in mind if you choose to install them
Kitchen floating shelves with matte tile backsplash

To install or not to install floating kitchen shelves -- that is the question many designers and homeowners ask themselves these days. Floating shelves have risen in popularity over the past decade with the farmhouse design trend and are often found in more modern kitchens to complement a sleek design and linear look. But are they right for every kitchen and every homeowner? The answer is no. There are tons of ideas for kitchen floating shelves on the market, but pulling them off can be tricky.

Floating shelves can be perfect near awkward corner cabinets and give you much easier access to your most-used kitchen items, but you'll want to have a really good concept of exactly where to use them, how deep they should be, and how to make the most of them before you begin. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Read more
What colors go with purple? 9 captivating shades for your home
Here's how to decorate with purple and find colors that complement it
Living room with purple couch and walls

Purple represents royalty, mystery, peace, and much more, depending on who you ask. So, why can’t you decorate with purple? There are many ways to work it in if purple is your thing, from purple color combinations to purple accents.

Research shows that people who decorate with purple are most likely to say their home makes them happy, and Pantone's color of the year in 2022 certainly celebrated the shade. If you already love purple, this is definitely the read for you, but if you need some convincing, this just may be the thing that convinces you that purple is the right choice for remodeling your space.

Read more
These are the colors that go with green: Design your home around this hue
What color complements green? Here are some amazing options
Green living room with gold accent pieces

The color we're talking about today is rich and vivid green. Several well-renowned paint companies like Sherwin-Williams, Behr, and Glidden have named different shades of green the color of the year. A natural and lively color, green is peaceful, luxe, and vibrant, making it the perfect new addition to your space.

With its delicate ties to nature, this color is the perfect addition to home design and will have you considering switching up your existing theme. Whether you want to revamp your kitchen, dining space, bedroom, or bathroom, green is a versatile tone with several complementary color combinations.

Read more