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Pros and Cons of Kitchen Islands and Banquettes

Assisted Living: Banquette or Island?

Casa Community member MRB929 is having a kitchen redo dilemma and needs advice. She says:

I'm getting ready to renovate my kitchen and I'm debating over installing a kitchen banquette or an island. It's tough to tell from my image but there's enough room to make either one work. And actually my contractor thinks I could make both work — a small banquette with a cooking island. I've got small children so I'm leaning towards a banquette so they can get in and out easier. But I love the idea of an island. I could saddle them up at the bar and keep a better eye on them while I serve up their food, right?

Now that I've told you my concerns, tell me what you think the pros and cons are of each one. I'm trying to make the most educated decision here and appreciate any pointers or personal experience.

Want to hear my thoughts on the matter? Just


It's hard for me to sway you one way or the other because I'd love to have either in my place, but I've always been a little partial to islands. An island can provide you a place to cook, sit, eat, and store all of the pots and pans. They are also a great gathering space for guests when entertaining because we all know that the party almost always migrates to the kitchen. If you plan on being the hostess with the mostest, I'd think about that dreamy island with a few bar stools pushed up to it.

On the other hand, a banquette lets little diners get in and out easily and can be especially helpful as an entertaining spot for crayons, Play-Doh, and waffles. The seats can also serve as storage units if the benches have pull-out drawers. A built-in oven? Not so much.

Perhaps your solution is to go with your contractor's suggestion and do a banquette with a functional island instead of a seating island. It will give you the extra counter space while letting your kids take advantage of their own area. If you choose to do a banquette for the kiddos, may I suggest vinyl seating?

Got any advice for MRB929? Leave your two cents below in the comments. And, if you need advice, be sure to submit your question to our Assisted Living group in our Casa Community!

Source and Flickr user Midtown Crossing at Turner Park

sourcherry sourcherry 7 years
How about an island with a lower part that works as a table? I did a quick google search and found this to illustrate what I'm talking about: I think this gives a more modern vibe than a banquette, and you still have all the storage of an island... Besides, if you usually eat in the kitchen, the table would be a lot more comfortable than the island with those high benches, even for grown ups.
Sundaydrive Sundaydrive 7 years
I'd go with the contractor's idea of both. My parents have a functional island with a stove top. It has extra counter space on each side that comes in handy for extra counter space, and with the stove top on the island it also frees up counter space elsewhere. Then of course there is the added bonus of extra cabinets and draws.
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