How Often Does Someone SIT at your island

aloha2009September 23, 2012

I got to thinking about how infrequently anyone actually sat at our island in our previous kitchen and it was RARE.

The layout we're having is similar enough that makes me wonder if we wouldn't be better off just putting cabinets all the way around. Our island will be 4' x 10' with the seating in question to go on the 10' side.

This is our retirement home, so subtract any usage of children doing homework etc. and consider only guests using it. Do your guests gravitate to the chairs up close in the kitchen or do they prefer sitting in soft family room chairs and sofas?

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You have to think about how you will use the island. Think about your guests. We just had our granite installed on Friday. We have no stools and the kitchen is not functional but on Saturday, everyone, teenagers, DH, and I all hung around the island. Pulling chairs from other rooms just to hang out there. Some older members of my family would not sit on a stool but most of our guests would sit there.

Are your guests stool sitters? Do you want to sit at the island?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:26AM
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In my house I am the cook, my husband frequently sits at the island while I am cooking. Often he will pour us both a glass of wine and I will sit across from him, hopping up as needed to stir, flip, baste, etc....So, instead of having an opening on the 10' side consider both sides open at one end so you can sit across from him like this

Traditional Kitchen design by Toronto Interior Designer Palmerston Design Consultants

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:45AM
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We didn't have it finished very long before we moved :( so it's hard to tell if our guests were more stool sitters or not. Many congregated around the island but I don't remember very many times the chairs were actually used. Guests tended to sit at the dinette table or in the family room. I noticed my kids & their friends liked to sit there more then the adults. With the kids mostly moved out, that takes the sitting of teenagers out of the equation.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:47AM
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How often? Daily. Even when you take my kids out of the equation. I use the stools to research recipes, have a quick breakfast, sit between cooking duties that require me to be close but not immediately tending to something, and to occasionally sit with a guest.

DH sits sometimes if he's not actively tending the kids.

Guests gravitate to the kitchen. My experience is that if there is any possible way for peole to sit down in a kitchen, they will. Most people won't stand as long in a kitchen as they will sit.

Maybe your experience depends on how often you have guests? People come and go frequently around here from family to neighbors to friends. Since I'm usually in the kitchen, lots of gathering takes place there.

And since you asked specifically about sitters other than kids, I wont tell you how often my munckins sit. ;)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:05PM
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We have no seats at the island on purpose. Dont want people getting splashed by hot sputtering oil :)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:25PM
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We added an island to our new kitchen layour about a year and a half ago. Our kitchen is open to the family room and an eating nook. We rarely use the table anymore. And although I originally bought 3 stools because that is all I had knee room for, I quickly ordered another that we keep in another room and drag in when we have company. Actually, we also drag in the 2 bar height stools we had from out layout because people just want to be around the island. It is the hub of our main foor, and by far the best thing about our new kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 12:35PM
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All the time. Guests will sit at the island bc dinner is usually still in progress when they show up. Once it's done, it's like pulling teeth to get everyone to move to the dining table 5' away. There's something about the island, I guess. My island faces my fridge and range wall and I do all my prep on it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 1:39PM
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No kids here, and we sit at the island more than the sofas.... every single day.

If either of us need a table surface to do something, we pick the island. The chairs are cushioned and comfy, and the TV is visible as well. I drink my coffee at the island, do paperwork, surf on my laptop, etc. If one of us is cooking, the other sits at the island and keeps them company.

Guests, also, flock to the island area. We had a party with 30ish people... EVERYONE congregated around the island, although the majority had to stand.

Whether the same would be true in another home depends on the layout, where the kitchen is in proximity to other rooms, etc.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:12PM
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We don't have an island, but if we did, I'm sure we would sit there everyday. But, I like the lower seating of a table, too...especially for some members of our extended family.

Since you have room for both, I would suggest you get the stools. Maybe something sleek and stainless steel to go with your modern kitchen :)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 2:40PM
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We sit at the island for breakfast every day. And guests naturally seem to gravitate there. One thing I think makes a difference for a larger island is having seating on 2 sides rather than a line of stools all facing the same way. It's much more social when people can look at each other easily.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:11PM
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Wow with all those responses, it tells me I better keep the stools, or others may not be too happy with me. Like I said, our kitchen remodel was very short lived before we moved on. Our current dinette area is surrounded with windows and comfy chairs that everyone gravitates to now. The extra seating by the island, even if others many prefer the dinette will always be welcome. Thanks for all of your replies. I'll keep the island seating in the plans.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:15PM
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I've lived in three places with seating at the island/peninsula, and I'm pretty sure no one ever sat at any of them. Partly comfort (I've never met a raised chair that I find comfortable!) and partly lifestyle. Now that I think about it, I can't recall ever sitting at an island when I was a guest in someone else's home, either. Seating at an island seems like a great idea and I suspect that it's wonderful for some households, but it's not something that I'd plan for my own.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 4:45PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We have no kids and we sit at the island daily. When guests come, they sit there too. I think part of it is that the island is all counter height, so even a shorty like me can sit there and still reach the floor. At other islands that are bar height, I'd much rather stand as, when I sit, it is impossible for me to move the chair to be comfortable as my feet are no where near the ground.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 6:20PM
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We don't care for sitting at higher chairs. When we were doing our planning, originally, we were trying to put seating there. As we started talking more, I asked my DH if he thought we would ever sit there to have a meal of any sort. And the answer was no. So, that solved our space-for-seating-at-the-island issue quite easily.

That being said, if I could have wide aisles and seating at my island as well as a wide enough prep area in the island, I would have done it anyway. But, to do all of that, I would have needed an additional 4' of width to my kitchen and that wasn't going to happen.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:43PM
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We sit at the island all the time! Since our floorplan is open, I find that I'm in my kitchen about 80% of the time during the day. We use it for informal breakfasts and lunch daily, and if DH is working, I often sit with the kids there for dinner, too. The kids naturally gravitate there to do their crafts and activities, as do every guest that we've had. It seems natural since I'm usually offering a beverage or making a snack for them. Or, if I'm preparing a meal, the island seating provides the most natural way to carry a conversation.
Our island measure almost 10'x4' and we do have soft, padded leather chairs with a low back which everyone (users have ranged from 1-72yrs of age) seems to find comfortable. The padded seating and the fact that they are counter-height, rather than the bar-height I often find too high for my comfort at restaurants, I think, adds to their attraction.
I'd consider your layout... if you have an enclosed kitchen rather than an open floorplan, I can see why you may find yourself and your guests more often on the couch in the den or living room.. Also, how much time do you actually spend in your kitchen? I find that I not only cook/bake in the kitchen, but I'm on my laptop there and my kids do the vast majority of their crafts and lessons there, too.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 2:11AM
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Not sure, since our island is still in the planning stage, but we are planning to have stools for guests to sit to keep them on the OTHER SIDE of the island, and away from my side and working path. In the past, when we have not had seating at the island, I found that guests would congregate ALL AROUND the island, and I was constantly having to work around them and shoo them out of the way so I could finish preparing the meal!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:01AM
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I must have put human magnets in the stools. Whenever anyone comes into the house, they immediately sit down at the counter. And of course I slide them a coaster (because of the Super White and its etching issues, lol)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:10AM
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Bee- you are so funny....

Ditto Breezy for us. We use it daily, and I find when we entertain, people just hang in the kitchen. I am always saying "you guys are welcome to sit at the dining table" (because it seats 10 vs the 4 at our island) but people still sit around the island and stand in the kitchen to chat!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 8:16AM
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It is just me and my husband and we never still on the island stools. The only ones who use them are the cats.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 10:25PM
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I have never had an island, so my only experience is the bar height seating at the peninsula at my brothers house. They have hosted many family gatherings at their house since it was remodeled 8 years ago.

I hate the bar-height stools. The only reason they get sat in is to give everyone a place to sit. Their dining table is just a few feet away and everyone sits there instead, or in the open family room. I must admit I am not a fan of their dining set either as it is counter-height. While that is certainly more comfortable to sit at than bar-stool height, it is no where near as comfortable as table height with your feet on the floor. Just my experience. YMMV

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 12:05AM
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Well, scream as I might, it seems that no one ever wants to be more than 4 feet from me, and the kitchen is where I usually am. So ... the island gets sat at. I don't even have a seat there for me; like others above, I don't personally even like that tall seating. But everyone else does. When occasionally a super-informal meal gets scarfed at the island, I actually just stand up while they're all seated. I can never get comfortable perched up there.

So I think the answer to this is very, very personal. But I agree it's hard to know in advance. I've never had an island and was skeptical it would be used, but it has been, all the time (just not by me).

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 1:53AM
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