Elevated Eating: 33 Kitchen Island Breakfast Bar Ideas

updated May 26, 2021
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A modern white kitchen with a stainless steel fridge and black pendant lights over the white kitchen island
(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

The breakfast bar may have started out as just a place to scarf your morning cereal, but as anyone who’s ever been in a home with one can attest, if there’s a kitchen island with seating, that’s where everyone will be hanging out, guaranteed.

They’re great for people who love to cook too. It allows party guests to have some fun with the person who’s handling the food prep, and provides a handy spot for kids to finish up homework while their parent is getting dinner done.

No matter how big and fabulous your home is, matter how long your dining table or how cozy your breakfast nook, everybody is inevitably going to hang out in the kitchen, and breakfast bars give them a place to do just that. So pull up a bar stool and prepare to get inspired by the next-level breakfast bars below.

Credit: Susie Lowe

1. Fun With Pink

Emily Murray, the founder and editor of The Pink House, says her favorite element of her whimsical London home is “The Bert & May pink-tile-clad marble breakfast bar. The tiles are such a delicious shade of pink and I love to perch on my gold Bend Goods counter stool and watch the bright green parakeets roosting in the trees outside.”

2. Pop of Green

The seafoam green bar stools add a welcome pop of color to the neutral palate of this kitchen, and add much-needed extra seating to this 500-square-foot Toronto apartment.

3. Rustic Chic

Carina Michelli’s favorite part of her Instagram-famous Buenos Aires kitchen is the island. She says, “When designing the kitchen I imagined it white with a long rustic table. I love all the ways we use it, from my first coffee at dawn to family dinner; everything happens here.”

4. Tons of Seating

This massive kitchen island can seat five with room to spare and is the homeowner’s favorite element of their California house.

5. Bright and Airy

This green concrete island in this Melbourne, Australia home adds an element of color and whimsy to the all-white kitchen. Says homeowner Chelsea Ellis, “It gave me the chance to bring in some warmth with the wood and personality with the color and tiles behind the island” and adds “more space and seating for the family. It has worked out so well that the dining table is getting some long service leave.”

6. Classic Marble

This marble-topped island has plenty of space for baking for Joy Wilson, aka Joy the Baker, in her New Orleans home. “I’ve never lived in a house with this much open space and it feels really wonderful to have friends over and be able to make a big mess gathered around the main kitchen island,” she says.

Credit: Jack Strutz

7. A Clever IKEA Hack

With no upper cabinets and minimal storage space, the island is what makes this open LA loft’s kitchen function. Says resident Jack Strutz, the island serves multiple purposes: “[It’s] a great gathering place for hosting dinners, prep space for cooking, much needed storage space for kitchen items, and a home for the microwave and toaster oven.” And bonus, it’s an IKEA hack! The counter’s top and island are the IKEA Karlby and “I had the metal leg custom designed by a local metal shop [Steel Impression] to help support the counter top.”

8. Industrial Strength

This breakfast bar allows for chatting during dishwashing, allowing one to feel involved in the festivities while doing this hated chore.

(Image credit: Nasozi Kakembo)

9. Color Contrast

Though the overhang on this island is fairly minimal, “[the] generous counter island can fit all of the little ones for breakfast or snack time.”

(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)

10. Warm and Wooden

This smart kitchen setup allows diners to eat their breakfast while gazing out the window and/or contemplating the day’s to-do list on the chalkboard refrigerator.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

11. Striking Legs

Here’s another example of a situation in which the stools fit all the way under the island, keeping the walking areas clear. The seating area was created by augmenting an island with a tabletop.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

12. Farmhouse Inspiration

“The island gives additional counter space and is a casual spot for the family to share a meal.” While the high bench provides ample seating, “having the family room right off the kitchen now allows everyone to hang out close to one another during meal preparation—without having too many cooks in the kitchen.”

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

13. Sleek Minimalism

“Friends love coming over for dinner and having a drink at the kitchen island while Nick and Julia finish cooking.” Who wouldn’t want to belly up to a quartz-wrapped bar, especially with a television right at hand?!

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

14. High Shine

Unusually, there is seating on both sides of this kitchen island, while clear “stools from CB2 allow the light from the floor-to-ceiling windows to pass through and fill the kitchen.”

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

15. Weathered Wood

In another rare stools-on-both-sides arrangement, lab stools from Craigslist are positioned on each side of a DIY island made from a restaurant cart.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

16. Polished Waterfall

The most important meal of the day is any meal eaten at this gloriously marble-clad breakfast bar.

(Image credit: Emily Billings)

17. HIgh-Backed Chairs

This breakfast bar exactly fits four counter chairs from Restoration Hardware, especially convenient since the dining room is at a distance from the kitchen.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

18. Extra Space

Up to seven stools could fit around this island, allowing lots of folks to eat within viewing range of the living room’s television.

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

19. Floating Island

Two delicate stools fit under this slim custom-made floating island, but there would be room to seat eight, if desired.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

20. Concrete Style

Poured concrete counters by Concrete Elegance top a generously proportioned island devoted to dining—there is no dining room—in this totally renovated kitchen.

(Image credit: David Dines)

21. Tucked-Away Seating

Two stools are tucked, nearly invisibly, into the end of this long kitchen island.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

22. Mixed and Matched

The slim proportions of this island nonetheless allow it to seat at least four diners, with room left over for a stove, utensils, and essential ingredients.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

23. Bright Whimsy

There’s room to tuck these adorable stools all the way under this IKEA island.

24. Motorcycle Mornings

Diners can perch on the adjustable, leather upholstered stools—or pull the 1967 Triumph up to the breakfast bar.

(Image credit: Abe Martinez)

25. Butcher Block Basics

This island has the look and functionality of a butcher block, while allowing room for in-kitchen seating.

(Image credit: Anik Polo)

26. Thrifted Finds

Island seating needn’t be limited to stools: these thrifted chairs provide a formal dining experience at an rustic antique island.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

27. Quirky Cushions

This custom-built island has only the smallest of lips, but it’s enough space to accommodate these quirky, cushy stools.

(Image credit: Maria K)

28. Perfect for Parties

The close proximity of the dining table to the breakfast bar means that a large group can dine companionably in the space, while an integrated stove opens up the available work space in the kitchen.

(Image credit: Hayley Kessner)

29. A Sunny Spot

Here’s another example of island seating that’s nice and close to the table, perfect for large gatherings. (The island can serve as a kids’ table, as kids generally love stools.)

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

30. Cozy and Casual

The nearby dining room table provides ample seating, but the island—which holds the kitchen’s second sink—allows for cozy, casual dining.

(Image credit: Arthur Garcia-Clemente)

31. White and Light

This airy kitchen features the ultra-rare breakfast bar which not only provides seating for 10, but is unusually, at chair, rather than stool, height.

(Image credit: Claire Bock)

32. Swing Time

This San Francisco home’s incredible island features swinging seating from Dot & Bo—though there are two CB2 stools tucked under the end for diners who get airsick.

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

33. Neon Bright

And then let’s finish with this: incorporated LED lighting. Make your breakfast bar a nightclub! Pity the poor diner who gets stuck on the end with neither leg room nor exciting lighting.