by Tiffany Carboni
Kitchen design is constantly evolving to adapt to our lifestyles and tastes, but the all-important eat-at island remains a fixture we can’t live without. It's the go-to spot for fueling up with breakfast, going through the mail, enjoying conversation and a glass of wine with a visiting friend, or setting out plates of elegant hors d'oeuvres for a cocktail party. When it comes to island seating, designers are always coming up with fun ways to put a fresh spin on an old favorite. From hideaway features to mix-and-match components to suspended seats, we’ve uncovered some innovative ideas for this essential gathering place.
Suspension of Disbelief
Have you ever gotten into a tussle with your unwieldy barstools…and lost? No need to move heavy barstools—or jam precious toes—with suspended seats. Now available are toe-saving alternatives to bulky chairs with floating seats that are mounted to the floor within the island itself. The resulting design gives the illusion that the chairs are hanging from underneath the countertop, leaving plenty of space underfoot for movement. Seat designs vary from traditional to modern to accommodate a spectrum of tastes.
Made from the same material as the cabinetry, the fully detached custom bench is fashioned with casters for easy mobility and incorporates extra seating solutions. When it’s put away, the bench disappears into the rest of the cabinetry.
Islands are so multi-functional that they sometimes double as kitchen tables, with seating all the way around. No matter the size of a kitchen, a table/island offers mega-convenience, especially if it’s on casters like this one, which allows it to be moved around during parties or locked into place for a quiet dinner. The choice of seating is another space-smart move: The tapered, minimalist stools can nestle under the table when they're not needed, facilitating traffic flow through the kitchen.
Today's multitasking islands are as versatile as you can imagine them to be. Take this triple-threat angled island which serves as a lengthy prep station, traditional eat-at island and as the back to a built-in bench. Bonus: Stored inside the bench are placemats and plastic tableware so little helpers can help set the table.
If it’s a retro vibe you’re seeking, take a page from your favorite diner and affix a row of vintage barstools to the floor. Galvanized pipe and fittings offer a comfy footrest, while the stainless steel and vinyl-covered stools allow for easy cleanup. Sidle these up to a pass-through island, and all you'll be missing is a gum-snapping waitress to take your order.
Making a Statement
To get the most bang for your buck in a kitchen design, choose a timeless look and dress it up with trendy details that can be replaced when tastes change. Barstools fit that bill to a T because they’re relatively cheap for the amount of personality they can inject. Think outside the basic-barstool box with spring stools made from marine bumpers (great for an industrial-inspired kitchen); for a rustic space, mount a couple of cowboy saddles atop a fixed stool.
Mix & Match
When it comes to kitchen seating, who says you have to stick to just one style? Or even a single color? Today’s first rule of decorating is to throw out the rule book and do what you like. If you have multiple chairs at your island, feel free to use differing styles, as long as there's some sort of characteristic that unites them with each other or with other aspects of the kitchen.
At Cabinet-S-Top we can help design a kitchen island that will meet your families needs. Give us a call 330-239-3630 or stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH 44256.