5 Ways to Add Seating to Your Outdoor Kitchen That Are So Practical and Stylish

Make your outdoor kitchens the heart of the home with cozy, welcoming seating ideas — from loungers and dining tables to corner sofas and built-in banquettes

An outdoor kitchen with a large dining space
(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Design: Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture)

A well-designed alfresco eating space should feel like an extension of the interiors, so finding the right outdoor kitchen seating is essential. The sun is out and there's no better feeling than firing up the grilling station or a pizza oven and enjoying a meal with friends and family. From outdoor dining tables, loungers, stools, and more, there are a plethora of options available.

To help you with some great seating ideas, we reached out to experts. Take a look at these outdoor kitchens equipped with the best seating systems and replicate them in your backyards.

1. Create multiple seating opportunities

An outdoor kitchen seating space

(Image credit: Kris Tamburello. Design: Strang Design)

If you have the advantage of a large backyard, convert it into a secondary, outdoor living room. Think about how you could use different spaces, from dining areas to relaxation spots to seats to enjoy different aspects and views. Bring in sofas, chairs, and more. To give it a more luxe vibe, consider beautiful pendant lights that add wonderful layering to the space.

'This outdoor living space features multiple seating areas to accommodate various social gatherings, fostering connectivity and flexibility,' says Elizabeth Starr, managing partner and director of architecture at Strang Design. 'From a full, built-in kitchen to multiple eating and lounge areas, the diverse space offerings cater to different activities, ensuring an enjoyable experience for the family and their guests.'

2. Add compact, custom seating in a small outdoor kitchen

An outdoor dining in a small kitchen

(Image credit: Lauren Taylor. Design: LH Designs)

In smaller outdoor kitchens, consider custom outdoor furniture pieces that fit snugly into the area, providing functionality and comfort. A small outdoor dining space will allow for easy alfresco meals and double as a perching spot for beautiful sunny days. To make the space even more relaxing, add soft furnishings such as pillows or rugs to the area.

'The best outdoor rug material is polypropylene,' says Victoria Holly, principal and founder of Victoria Holly Interiors. 'It's super easy to clean, especially if you need to hose it down.'

'I think of the outdoor kitchen the same way as an indoor kitchen,' says Linda Hayslett, founder of LH.Designs. 'The BBQ is like the stove and most people have an island. However, since I had to consider the outdoor elements and layout of the penthouse, I thought of bringing in a table to make it feel like an island and the perfect place to sit while giving extra counter space. It helps make the person BBQ'ing a part of the conversation while guests and family can hang out just like in a kitchen.'

3. Set up an outdoor dining

An outdoor kitchen with a large dining space

(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Design: Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture)

This outdoor space features a large, 8-seater dining table along with a cozy, built-in seat by the outdoor BBQ. The space allows guests to sit comfortably for long feasts and even perch by the grill for freshly made food. The vibe is cozy, and welcoming, and can be further elevated with string lights. Do keep in mind that when positioning tables and chairs, ensure the area is easy to walk on. Hard paving is best rather than gravel, and it would be nice to move the table and chairs onto a grassed area during the summer months.

'At the rear, traditional dry stack retaining walls surrounding the entertaining area appear beautifully contemporary in their expression,' says Joseph Richardson of the DC-based Richardson & Associates Landscape Architecture. 'Two patios—one for cooking and dining, the other for reposing around a fireplace—are connected via a walkway of pavers surrounded by river stone, which in turn are bordered by traditional boxwood, boulders, ornamental grasses, and perennial flowers.'

4. Bring in bar stools for a casual vibe

An outdoor kitchen with tall bar stools

(Image credit: Raili CA Design)

Have pass-through kitchen window? Or an open outdoor kitchen? Create a fun, casual outdoor seating vibe with tall bar stools.

'For this Spanish Hacienda, we went straight to the old school Mexican equipole chairs made from pig skin,' says Raili Clasen, founder of RailiCA Design. 'The barstools added the perfect south-of-the-border style to the outdoor kitchen and bar. The built-in padded seats allow the guests to stay as long as they want.'

5. Consider outdoor sofas to create a lounge vibe

An outdoor kitchen with a small seating area

(Image credit: Nick Bowers. Design: Pepo Botanic Design)

Nothing says "lounge" better than sofas. And yes, these can be placed in outdoors, as long as you're using the right materials.

'We love PET which is an outdoor fabric made from a recycled material,' says Lauren Lerner, CEO and founder of Living with Lolo. 'These are often UV protected to prevent fading in the sun.' That apart, Sunbrella fabrics are known to last long without fading or catching mold.

'The rear garden of this stunning Bronte home offers a balanced transition between interior living, outdoor play and entertaining spaces,' says Nicola Cameron and James Perkin, founders of Pepo Botanic Design. 'A casual seating area next to the barbeque is surrounded by verdant plants spilling over the edges. Located behind this verdant garden is a productive vegetable garden where the clients, passionate gardeners themselves, tend to herbs, fruit, and vegetables growing in the raised garden beds. With numerous spaces to relax, entertain, grow, and play, this Bronte Garden offers a welcoming family home for its owners and a respectful integration of elegant and contemporary design.'

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Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.