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Kitchen Seating 101: A Guide to Choosing Seating that Works for You

Updated: Dec 11, 2020

Kitchen seating, though it may seem straightforward, is anything but. In fact, simply selecting something you find beautiful may cause you to run into endless issues. Is the height a good match for your counters? Will the material selected repel wine and food stains? Are those vintage wooden stools going to be comfortable for extended seating periods? And just how many people can you fit in a corner banquette?

All of these questions are absolutely valid, and at their core, they give a glimpse into just how detailed the process of choosing seating can be. However, this doesn’t mean it’s out of your reach! With a few key considerations, you’ll have both function and style nailed like no other. And with that kind of combo, there’s no stopping your family from settling right into the comfort of your new and improved dream kitchen.

Read on for our take on barstools vs. banquettes, and how to choose the right seating for you.



Barstools are an absolute must if you have a kitchen island and are in need of a casual dining space. Not only do they make use of that beautiful spacious countertop in the middle of the room, but they also take up as little floor space as possible while still providing adequate seating space. We love using barstools in our designs because there’s no limit to the style you can achieve, and because they’re adequately spaced apart, it’s a cinch for everyone to ease in and out of their own chairs.

Need some inspiration? Scroll on down - we think you may want to invest in a few of these right away!

The Height of Comfort

If comfort is high on your list of must haves, skip the wood and metal stools and invest in plush upholstered beauties - ideally with backs. You want to sink into each one with all the time in the world to enjoy your meal (even if it’s a casual breakfast or lunch).

Interior Design- Designs by D / Builder - LDK Builders / Photography - Homecoming Photography

Interior Design - Designs by D / Builder - LDK Builders / Photography - 8710 Photography

Details, Details, Details

For the style aficionados who pay attention to every curve and handle when they walk into a room, you’ll want your barstools to rock in the detail department. Buttons, cane detailing, textured fabric, and more will make your kitchen stand out from the crowd.

Interior Design - Designs by D / Builder - LDK Builders / Photography - 8710 Photography

Sleek Silhouettes

If a modern and contemporary kitchen sounds like music to your ears, keep your barstools ultra sleek and pared down. A simple color palette (ideally in the neutral family) and more industrial materials like metal and leather will be your best bets.

Interior Design - Designs by D / Builder - LDK Builders

Interior Design - Designs by D / Builder - Stone Bay Builders


Swivel stools are classic options for any kitchen, but especially kitchens that are going to be filled with a ton of activity and family gatherings. The movement makes it easier than ever to get in and out of the space, which makes it extra convenient for those with busy lifestyles.

Interior Design - Brick + Linen / Styling - Designs by D / Builder - Custom One Homes / Photography - Spacecrafting Photography

Interior Design - Brick + Linen / Styling - Designs by D / Builder - Custom One Homes / Photography - Spacecrafting Photography



In all honesty, we’re often torn about using banquettes within a kitchen space. There’s no doubt they’re all the rage right now, and especially in a smaller space they can be a great use of a previously unused corner or wall. But not every kitchen benefits from one. For starters, they aren’t the easiest to access; like a booth at a restaurant, everyone needs to slide in one at a time and if just one person needs to get out for any reason, everyone needs to exit together. On the other hand, they are incredibly versatile and flexible. The fact that they inherently mix and match elements makes them stylish at their core, and you can easily swap out cushions, pillows, chairs, and benches to your liking. For a casual breakfast nook, you really can’t beat them.

If banquettes are more in line with your style, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite designs as of late. It’s bound to have you pinning like wild to get ready for your own nook refresh!

Corner Booths

Corner booths are perfect for the kitchens that have just enough space to fit a banquette for extra seating. They’re incredibly convenient since they don’t take up a ton of floor space, and depending on the size of your table and kitchen square footage, you can optionally add chairs on the other side or just keep it only as a corner seating area.

Extra Storage

If you’re short on storage or cabinet space in your kitchen, incorporating a built-in banquette with storage elements is a must. Whether you opt for open cubbies for things like cookbook displays or firewood storage, or you prefer a more hidden approach with a seat that lifts to reveal storage underneath, it’s undeniably a great use of space.


For those of you with large families, sometimes a three- or four-seat island just doesn’t cut it - you need a space that will fit everyone. Enter in the large-scale banquette. Though it’s more difficult to slide in and out of, you can definitely fit a large number of people quite comfortably, and that’s hard to beat.

Long Wall or Window

Sometimes, it’s unavoidable - no matter how you arrange your space, there’s always a long wall or window that feels all alone and unused. Incorporating a banquette in that space is the perfect way to make your kitchen feel complete.


So, which camp do you fall in? Are you a barstool lover or a banquette fan? Or maybe what you really dream of is a combination of the two. Whatever your heart desires, there’s no shortage of inspiration out there, and you’re sure to have a drop-dead gorgeous kitchen (with adequate seating) in no time.

By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Designs by D

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