Create more seating. Whether your space lacks a proper dining table or you’re looking to create a more casual bar-seating option, adding low-profile seating to the island is an easy way to increase functionality and make the environment more social for both guests and the cook. Create a breakfast bar or dining table, and leave a counter overhang that offers enough room to tuck the chairs or stools underneath when not in use.
Our recent story on how to squeeze a narrow island into a small kitchen garnered numerous contributions from readers who have managed to make a mini island work in their homes. These narrow and small islands cleverly bring extra storage, prep space or seating into a space-challenged kitchen. Here’s a look at some of the best.
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Two-Side Seating: Adjacent Sides. Adding seats to even just one adjacent side can go a long way to making your island a much more inviting spot to dine. By extending the island overhang to two sides instead of just one, you allow guests to sit facing each other.
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.
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.