Small Kitchen Seating Ideas

Solve the kitchen seating quandary with practical yet pretty ways to take a seat at mealtime.
Small Eat-In Kitchen With Light Wood Island

Small Eat-In Kitchen With Light Wood Island

A counter-height peninsula provides a functional breakfast area in this small kitchen. White cabinets and light-colored wood keep the space feeling open while a gray tile accent wall adds visual interest and depth to the room.

Photo by: Photography by Steven Ko

Photography by Steven Ko

By: Alison Miller

With proper small kitchen seating ideas, components work together and fit tightly to maximize space. For example, backless stools can be tucked under kitchen islands while armless chairs can scoot underneath a kitchen table.

10 Small Kitchens

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Bright and White

This compact kitchen benefits from an open plan design that incorporates an eat-in bar. Rich wood barstools balance the glossy cabinets and white countertops for a fresh look. A sleek pendant light and recessed lighting keep the space feeling open and bright.

Gourmet Minimalist

Few things are as helpful as good old reflective, expansive white when you are trying to make a small space feel bigger. Combined with high ceilings, stainless counters, a light-colored, mosaic -tile backsplash and a large window that floods the room with natural light, this small apartment kitchen feels anything but cluttered, even though its footprint is tiny. The sleek linearity of the space adds to the perception of roominess and functionality.

Sleek and Chic

For this contemporary California loft space, Velvet Hammerschmidt Design of Santa Monica tucked a Bulthaup kitchen under a steel stairway that leads up to the second floor. The cooking takes place on the back wall while an 11-foot Carerra marble island does double duty as a prep area on one end and a kitchen table on the other. The island divides the kitchen from the rest of the living space while the towering ceilings, light wall color and reflective stainless provide an airiness. Photo Credit: Velvet Hammerschmidt Design

Let in the Light

A U-shaped layout offers efficiency when short on space. This modified U places the refrigerator just out of sight on the right. A half-wall with countertop and stone base hides the workspace from the living area while letting light and conversation pass unobstructed. All the essentials for cooking and cleaning are within arm's reach. The horizontal drawer handles are long enough to double as towel racks and the large floor tiles make the kitchen look bigger than it is. Photo Credit: Haier

Waste Not

This entire kitchen -- oven, cooktop, sink, storage drawers and prep area -- is neatly contained in a large, boldly contemporary island situated smack dab in the middle of this open-design Amsterdam apartment. On one side of the island is a living area and on the other is a dining space. Multi-utility is the theme of this space. Even the range hood serves a dual purpose, doubling as a shelf for stemware and supplies. Photo Credit: Katie Lips

Cottage Casual

Here we have a pass-through galley kitchen designed in the classic schoolhouse style. Open to the dining room and a large sitting-room window on one side, the orderly space is well lit and uses light colors to create the feeling of roominess. Quintessential early 1900s flush-mount fixtures and a subway-tile backsplash extend the period feel. And there's even room for a desk and computer station on the near end. Photo Credit: JAS Design Build

Go Retro

The vintage feel of this kitchen was preserved thanks in large part to the '50s style refrigerator, while Mediterranean tile lines the walls. Mercury-glass mirrors were added to the cabinet doors in order to brighten the tiny space.

A Shining Example

Making use of any available natural light in a small kitchen is key — a well-placed, glossy backsplash catches the window light, reflecting it throughout the space.

Marbled to Perfection

Galley-style kitchens can be wonderfully utilitarian, especially in apartments. But particular attention must be paid to the aisle -- both the walkway and the raised cabinets. Too narrow a space can make you claustrophobic. To avoid that pitfall, a wall of built-in cabinets flush with the large refrigerator were constructed at one end of this kitchen. A large window provides plenty of light to bounce off the bright white marble counters. The sink, oven and refrigerator are in an easily navigable triangle. Photo Credit: Sub-Zero

Quaint and Cozy

Clever storage space and a wall-mounted bar give this small kitchen function and style.

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Let the Sun Shine

Designer Sarah Richardson gives this small, open, white kitchen a cheery feeling with pops of sunny yellow while the gray stone floors ground the space.

Island Living

Clutter is the enemy, especially in a 675 -square -foot condo. A splash of aqua tile captures your eye and melds nicely with the tinted -glass wardrobe on the right and the overall white decor. A small island separates the kitchen work area from the apartment's living area while the blonde wood floor unifies the various spaces. Photo Credit: Jennifer Buktaw

Country Cooking

Tasked with designing an easy-to-navigate work-space, Stephanie Young of Design Spectrum created a galley-like kitchen with cooking, storage and sink areas within a step or two of one another. A pullout pantry not only saves space, but also spares you the frustration of rummaging through a cluttered closet. The kitchen is equipped with a large sink, stacked modern appliances, rich floor-to-ceiling cabinetry designed for storage and targeted overhead lighting. Photo Credit: Kevin Scott / Design Spectrum

The Color Purple

With a carefully laid plan you can tuck a homey, country kitchen into a small area. Creating the impression of spaciousness is the key. In this case, glass-front KraftMaid cabinets in a vanilla -bean glaze provide airiness while underside lighting removes many of the shadows. This apartment benefits from a large window that floods the kitchen with an abundance of natural light, giving the designer flexibility to incorporate darker colors, including a red oak floor, plum walls and green granite countertops. The kitchen is raised six inches and is separated from the living space by an "eat-in" bar that seats three. Photo Credit: Jennifer Dickert

Hidden Storage

With only 162 square feet of available space, every inch of this kitchen was used. Six inches on both sides of the range, which might have been considered negligible in a larger kitchen, were topped with marble and used for a pull-out spice drawer on one side and utensil storage on the other.

Contemporary Cool

How do you fit professional appliances into a tiny space? Challenged by unusual angles and cramped quarters, these homeowners designed a narrow workspace footprint where every inch of space was an opportunity to be creative. Using blonde wood, stainless steel and spot lighting the kitchen has become an organic work of modern art. The table is a harmonious extension of the island, where the sink sits. On the left of the oven is a tambour door that rolls up to expose pullout shelves for the KitchenAid mixer and other appliances. Photo Credit: Martha & Michael Stano

Keep It Simple

Simple Ikea racks were installed for additional storage in the pint-sized kitchen. A vintage-inspired decal is a playful touch on the freezer door.

Modern Farmhouse Style

A vaulted ceiling, clean white walls and a front door with large glass panels help make this small kitchen and living area feel bright and open. White Shaker cabinetry conceals a small refrigerator, full-sized dishwasher, microwave and toaster oven. A farmhouse sink and barn-style pendant lights speak to a modern farmhouse aesthetic — as does the open shelving with beadboard backing. Saddle-style barstools provide additional seating.

Fun and Functional

Turquoise Le Crueset cookware provides a jolt of color to this neutral small kitchen. A stainless steel gas range and refrigerator pack a lot of function into this small space.

Photo By: Photo Courtesy: Dan Piassick © 2013 Gibbs Smith, Allure of French & Italian Decor, Betty Lou Phillips

Industrial Wonder

The sunny yellow cabinets make this small kitchen feel brighter. The sunny color, along with the industrial-style lighting, gray tile backsplash and stainless steel appliances creates a balanced, modern kitchen.

A built-in bench is another smart space-saving choice, especially if the design offers added storage underneath. Take the time to consider how seating factors into the mix and scale of designing your small kitchen. Whether you opt for bar stools, chairs or built-in benches, choose your seat wisely.

Close quarters call for seating options that won't make the kitchen feel confined. Enter chairs without arms. Though not as comfy as armchairs, they're easier to get in and out of when space is tight.

In addition to scale, portability is a plus in a small kitchen. Employ chairs from an adjoining room to moonlight as dining chairs come mealtime, then whisk them away afterward.

Combining single chairs with a removable bench at the table offers a versatile seating arrangement. It guarantees room for extra guests at the table, punches up the style factor. Removing the bench and easing the table against the wall will allow for more floor space when it's needed.

For eat-in kitchens with peninsulas or center islands, whether permanent or removable, backless stools are a seating option that won't take up a lot of space. The clean-lined bar stools can be slipped under a kitchen island or stacked and stored in a corner to open up the floor space between meals. More specifically, modern-style Lucite stools are practically transparent, meaning they take up little visual room and create the illusion of spaciousness in your kitchen. Another space-expanding trick to keep in mind when selecting a stool is to think monochromatic. Unify the room by choosing stools in colors that match the walls and cabinetry.

Although built-in banquettes and removable benches may appear bulky and substantial, their angular "L" shape lends them to easing into odd corners and nooks, so that every precious square inch of a small kitchen is put to good use. With careful space arranging, this eat-in kitchen seating layout makes your kitchen feel much more welcoming and cozy. Up the style ante with a splash of color and pattern through easily changeable upholstery or accent pillows. This instant focal point will be proof that spare on space doesn't mean spare on style!

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