Kitchen island - how much space do I need for 4?

3wallerJuly 9, 2012

At the final stages of firming up the island design for our new build. We are a family of four, and seating for all of us is a must.

It is currently designed as 8'x4.5' (incl 15" of overhang on the 8' side). The cabinet/kd guys want to put a 6" post on each corner, which would leave us with 7' of stool room. This seems tight to me. Haven't picked stools yet, they don't need to be wide but we'd like a small back to them. I could probably make the island 3" wider but compromising traffic space, making it 44" between island side and dw.

I could kill the posts on the stool side, but thinking it might look funny with the top hanging over. Btw, probably going black walnut plank over white island.

Thanks for your thoughts and opinions.

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If there is any way possible to adjust the island to have seating on more than one side, I'd do that. Four people sitting side by side facing the kitchen is just not very sociable. Have you noticed that in bars, parties of more than 2 end up with most of the people standing, and only a couple of people sitting? Because in order to talk and laugh and interact people need to face each other. The only time an island works with people sitting in a row it is because they are talking to the cook/bartender.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:02PM
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It Is tight. You really need a minimum of 24" per person and even then some people will be knee to knee. I tend to agree though, sitting lined up is not conducive to there a way to configure the seating with two and two or an elliptical side where you are all at least partly facing each other?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:13PM
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I completely agree with the above two posters. See if you can get seating on two sides. Sitting in a row day after day would get to me, unless someone was performing in front of me (like a dinner theater). Come to think about it, the men in my house wouldn't mind sitting in a row if there is a tv screen to look at. Good luck with your plans!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:43PM
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I agree that if you are going to be using the island for regular meals that it is preferrable to have seating on two sides. That said, if it doesn't work, however about something like this

Contemporary Kitchen design by Birmingham Interior Designer Tracery Interiors

Contemporary Kitchen design by Philadelphia Interior Designer Leslie Hayes Interiors

Might be easier to fit in 4 that way, depending on the size of the benches!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:07PM
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i would never go less than 10' to seat four on one side. my island is 10' and has a 6" leg on each end and fits our four stools perfectly.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:34PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

rule of thumb is 2' per stool so 8' would be enough without the legs. alternative is to use corbels for support underneath the island.

I end up sitting on the opposite side of the island and people sit facing me so it isn't as conducive to conversation as sitting across from each other, but it works for casual dining (DH sits at the island and watches the tv over the fridge) or for serving appetizers and such.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:38PM
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Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Below is a sketch, the island has been pushed toward the fridge by about 4", but other than that, that's the plan. We are happy with the plan, and too late to really deviate for the sake of a stool (drywalling Wednesday).

As you can see, the 2+2 doesn't really work, due to the fridge on one side and the dw along with what I expect to be a relatively high flow path to the door to the right that goes to a covered patio (table, outdoor fireplace, bbqs). I think you guys are right about it being better functionally, but it's not in the cards here.

Should I stuff 4 stools with a corbel or just settle with 3? We will have a kitchen table in the top left with a banquette on one side, and seating for 6. family currently gravitates towards the 2 spot counter seating we have in our current house, and would rather eat at the counter than being relegated to the kitchen table which is 3 feet away (me, wife, kids are 5 and 9).

I can see what's coming here. 3 is the better solution, and I'll eat over the island on the other side ;>

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:04PM
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Our island is 124" x 61"(including stone overhang) and we have the sides of the island extending fully out to the seating level and each end is 6" wide. I just measured and there is exactly 9 feet on the inside from end to end.We have 4 stools and lots of room for 4 people...the stools don't have a large footprint but we never feel cramped. With such a large island I also think it would look better to have support on the ends either with a post or building the sides out fully like we did. Personally, I wouldn't do corbels.
I can't post a picture right now but there is a picture on the thread ' show pictures of your 3 different counter'. I can post a pic tomorrow .

I just measured out 7 feet and pushed my 4 stools into the space. This would be too cramped for 4 people in my opinion. In my house though, we rarely have all 4 stools occupied at the same time so that is one thing to consider .... 3 stools may be fine.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:25PM
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I'd worry less about the number of bodies that can fit into that island and more about the fact that it doesn't have a sink in it. The other sink is across the entire room from the refrigerator.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 12:15AM
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Marcolo, i've got a sink for it, it's just not an the architect's plan. Will be on the fridge side of the island, 2 feet in.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 6:39AM
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