Kitchen Island Table Ideas and Options

Bring on supper! These ideas for kitchen island tables are perfect for family meals or buffet-style parties.
Kitchen Island with Built-In Bench

Kitchen Island with Built-In Bench

A bright kitchen features a unique island with built-in bench seating, creating an intimate dining area.

A bright kitchen features a unique island with built-in bench seating, creating an intimate dining area.

As handy as a kitchen island is for storage and prep, turning it into a spot where you can gather for meals increases its usefulness by a factor of about a million. And since there are as many island styles as kitchens, wouldn't you know that there are just as many kitchen island table ideas and options?

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One of the most popular kitchen island table ideas is the banquette. This setup allows for built-in seating at the end of the bar—either one bench or two depending on space, style and preference—for a cozy, diner feel. It's great for leisurely weekend breakfasts or evenings doing homework with the kids.

Of course, a banquette like this requires a lot of space, which won't work for every kitchen. A portable island with room for stools on either the long or short end makes an already hard-working kitchen work even harder. Or, try an island with a fold-down leaf, which you can tuck away while not in use.

Many islands double as eat-in bars. The area where you eat can be the same height as the island's main counter, though many islands have an eating area that's higher than the work space, where you can use bar-height stools. This not only breaks up the dimensions of the room, it allows you to hide a variety of sins below the eating area (a sink full of dishes, anyone?) or serve from there when having a party.

Another option is to add a table that extends from the end of the bar. This separates the prep space from the eating space entirely, allowing for a sit-down meal face-to-face, rather than elbow-to-elbow. It's a great way to incorporate a table into a kitchen where you don't necessarily want to use the bar as your table.

Kitchen island tables come in a variety of shapes, though the most common is rectangular, since the eating area is usually part of the bar itself. However, you're not limited to this shape; there are also square and round options—especially if you add a table or banquette to the end of your island.

Styles and colors are unlimited, too. You can match your kitchen island table to the rest of the cabinetry or make it stand out by choosing a different color than the rest of the woodwork. This is a good place to expand on or play off of your home's style. Look for something that complements your look, either by matching it exactly or by adding to it. A farm-style island in a modern kitchen is an exciting juxtaposition, just as a cottagey banquette adds to a cozy cottage kitchen.

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