Kitchen island ideas with seating - 15 transformative built-in seating ideas for your kitchen island

These striking kitchen island ideas with seating are as eye-catching as they are practical and space-saving...

kitchen island ideas with seating
(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

As you'll see from the striking kitchen island ideas with seating below, creating built-in seating for your modern kitchen island or breakfast bar is as eye-catching as it is practical and space-saving.

Whether you have a separate dining space or not, informal seating that is integral to the kitchen will always be used. Meals can be served immediately, you can chat to family and friends while you are preparing food and it’s a good place to chill with a coffee. And there are lots of variations – comfortable banquette seating, upholstered stools, wooden, rattan or metal stools, stools that fit underneath the kitchen worktop - the choice is huge.  

Camilla Clarke, Interior Design Director at Albion Nord says “One great way to make the most of a kitchen space is by using multi-functional furniture, like extendable dining tables, and folding chairs that can be tucked away when you don’t need them. Another important pointer is to place large pieces of furniture against walls so the open space in the middle is not broken up.”

Here’s our edited collection to inspire you...

1. Colour bomb

Now this is what we mean by banquette seating. An L-shaped island is perfectly suited to an upholstered bench seat on the other side. It’s not near the hob, so there are no safety issues and it adds a burst of colour to a monochrome scheme, especially in this funky honeycomb design. 

kitchen island ideas with seating, turquoise banquette bench in marble kitchen island

New Deco kitchen from £35,000, Martin Moore

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

The glass table is moveable too so it’s truly versatile

kitchen island ideas with seating, turquoise banquette bench in marble kitchen island

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

2. Shelf life

In this contemporary kitchen, a breakfast shelf has been added to the side of the island with stand-out designer brackets. The shelf doesn’t take up a lot of room so it’s ideal for quick meals and drinks and the stools echo the modern shape of the brackets. This kitchen has a great colour scheme too. 

kitchen island with built in seating

Rugged Concrete Worksurface from £550 m2, Caesarstone

(Image credit: Caesarstone)

3. Separate and stylish

An island often separates the working kitchen from the rest of the room, so make a feature of it with a different flooring in each part and smart, upholstered stools to define the areas.

kitchen island with breakfast bar seating

Metallics Collection kitchen, from £50,000 Ledbury Studio, Stools, Danetti

(Image credit: Ledbury Studio)

The stools complement the Marine Blue wall colour beautifully and painting the lintel in the same colour adds to the cohesive feel.

kitchen island with breakfast bar seating velvet bar stools

Metallics Collection kitchen, from £50,000 Ledbury Studio, Stools, Danetti

(Image credit: Ledbury Studio)

4. Add drama

Choosing a dramatic finish for a kitchen island really makes a statement. This is a man-made material inspired by Patagonian Natural Stone. Then at one end a recess has been designed for two stools.  The recess is decorated to match the black wall cupboards and is positioned away from the cooking and food prep area, whilst still being part of the action.

marble kitchen island with seating

Dekton Khalo. From £450, Cosentino

(Image credit: Cosentino)

5. Updated country

A modern country kitchen style, again the L-shape creates space for banquette seating on the other side, this time in wood with upholstered seat cushions. It’s central to the room, so there is plenty of space to move around, and a mixture of dining chairs has been chosen for an individual look. A bench seat would also work well.

kitchen island with built in banquette bench seating

Durham Collection in Light Grey, Cool Grey and Desert Pink, from £10,000 LochAnna Kitchens

(Image credit: LochAnna Kitchens)

6. Clever seating

If you have low windows and don’t want to block them with kitchen units, consider a window seat. It’s a great idea for ‘dead’ space that may not otherwise be used and is a nice place to sit with a coffee. 

modern country kitchen with built in bench seating

Hartford collection kitchen from £20,000, Tom Howley

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

The kitchen units can be stepped down towards it which makes it look like a design feature rather than a ‘solution’.

modern country kitchen with built in bench seating

Hartford collection kitchen from £20,000, Tom Howley

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

7. Go large

If you have a large kitchen, you can have a large island! And this one is huge, so there is plenty of room at one end for seating. These stools with a low back are on two sides so perfect for chatting to the cook while the food is being made, or for children to do their homework, but they don’t encroach into the working kitchen. 

kitchen island ideas with seating in yellow kitchen

Kitchen design by Uncommon Projects, Photography: Jocelyn Low

(Image credit: Uncommon Projects)

8. Small space living

Although you might not have a lot of room In a penthouse kitchen, you can still make a statement, like this stunner, The Modulnova Fly Collection from Design Space London from £25,000. 

kitchen with small kitchen island and breakfast bar

(Image credit: Design Space London)

The large island comes out from the wall, then a breakfast bar is attached at one end that overlaps the island and forms a sculptural block, which means there is no need for a separate dining table.

kitchen with small kitchen island and breakfast bar

(Image credit: Design Space London)

9. Open plan

With a large space like this, you can have the best of both worlds. The main kitchen is open and spacious then on the other side of the return is banquette seating with a dining table and chairs. It’s a sociable space and can accommodate a lot of people comfortably.

kitchen with peninsular island with built in bench seating

Homely kitchen from £25,000, Life Kitchens

(Image credit: Life Kitchens)

10. Wood is good

A classic set up - a large, wooden, rectangular island with an overhang and stools tucked neatly beneath. 

kitchen with modern kitchen island breakfast bar

Brancaster Marshes kitchen, £42,000 Naked Kitchens

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

The warm wood is complemented by pale grey tongue and groove underneath as a contrast which is echoed in the floor and elsewhere in the kitchen, the school-style stools add to the overall look. 

kitchen with wood kitchen island breakfast bar

Brancaster Marshes kitchen, £42,000 Naked Kitchens

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

11. Low level

The ultimate minimal kitchen design. The dark grey, porcelain peninsula has been extended at a lower level to create a table and seating area. It’s a decent size, and perfect for children at this height too. Simple stools tuck neatly beneath out of the way.

kitchen island ideas with seating bar stools

Modulnova Twenty Frame Collection from £25,000 Design Space London

(Image credit: Design Space London)

12. Compact space

Don’t despair if you have a small kitchen, a compact island unit can still have seating beneath with some clever design. This is perfect if you are short on space, where you don’t have room for a separate dining table. 

blue kitchen with small island breakfast bar

Small blue kitchen, from £13,000 Koivu

(Image credit: Koivu)

13. Double up

This fabulous kitchen from John Lewis of Hungerford belongs to interiors influencer Gold Is A Neutral and incorporates fabulous bench seating with an Art Deco feel in olive velvet that backs onto the kitchen. Jess has stools at the kitchen island too – so plenty of seating - perfect for big family parties.

kitchen island ideas with seating

Bench seat: Simon Collins Upholstery, Photography: Kasia Fiszer 

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

14. Make it cosy

Isn’t this fabulous? In an open plan space the kitchen and bench seating backs onto the lounge with a stunning wallpaper as a backdrop. The whole space works together perfectly for a comfortable and lived in family room. 

country kitchen with built in bench seating

The Real Shaker Kitchen from £12,00 deVOL, Wallpaper: Mythical Land, Andrew Martin

(Image credit: deVOL)

15. Double up

And if you have the space why not have two islands? One for cooking and another for prepping and informal eating.  This one was designed around a family of five who all love to cook and entertain. Both islands have the same finish and the same fantastic chandeliers above. It’s also the perfect party space. 

kitchen with seating

Smdly kitchen, from £35,000 Martin Moore

(Image credit: Martin Moore)