One-Side Seating. An island with seating on just one side is a common arrangement for a reason, and it can work well for some situations. However, if you’re looking to use the island as a frequent spot for family meals, it’s usually not ideal. Placing all seats on one side means everyone who is seated will be facing forward in a line, which doesn’t facilitate conversation.
Determine your clearance zone. When clients ask if they have room for an island, we designers must consider factors such as how many people live in the house and how they use the space. But first and foremost, we need to know the size of the room.
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I recently heard a story about a homeowner who had a major design regret. During a previous renovation, she elected to put all four counter stools on the same side of her kitchen island, a frequent spot for her family meals. This left her with a beautiful look but turned out to be an unfortunate mistake from a functional perspective. That’s because she now has to choose between having everyone in her family face in one direction like strangers in a diner and having to pull around a stool to sit on the wrong side of the island, with her knees bumping up against cabinets for the sake of family bonding.
Go around a corner. If your kitchen is located in an open-plan room with a partition wall, get your place to perch by making use of the space as these homeowners have done. One run of cabinets continues beyond the wall, and the countertop turns the corner to form a ledge for bar stools to sit neatly under. It’s a really efficient way to use an awkward, unused area.
End-of-island display. The end drawers on this island have glass fronts and false backs so the homeowners can display cookbooks, colorful fruit, pasta, candy or whatever they please. Behind the false backs is regular storage.