Having a small kitchen can present some challenges when it comes to seating and dining areas. However, with some creative thinking and smart design, there are plenty of options to create an inviting space for meals, even in a compact kitchen.

Make Use of Nooks and Corners

Look for any unused nooks or corners in the kitchen that can accommodate a small table and chairs. Bay windows, alcoves, and awkward empty spaces can often be transformed into cozy dining spots with some clever furniture arrangements. Bench seating can be useful for tucking into tight areas.

Opt for Counter Height

Rather than a traditional dining table and chairs, consider counter height seating next to a kitchen island or peninsula. Counter stools don’t take up much room but still provide a place to sit for quick meals. This type of casual seating can also double as extra seating for entertaining.

Use Folding/Stowaway Furniture

Pieces that can be folded up or stashed out of sight when not in use are ideal for small kitchens. A folding table and stackable stools can be folded flat and slid behind cabinets or under countertops. Or, look for chairs that hang on hooks to get them up off the floor.

Multipurpose Island or Peninsulas

Including an island or peninsula with seating creates a dining space while still allowing the surface to be used for food prep and serving. Try stools with backs to create a comfortable eating area.

Take Advantage of Wall Space

Benches or banquettes lined up against walls provide seating without taking up much floor space. This can transform empty wall space into dining real estate. Shelving installed above the seating can add storage as well.

Extend to Adjacent Areas

Consider seating just outside the kitchen if there’s no room inside. Place a small table and chairs in an adjacent breakfast nook, dining room, or living room. This connects the spaces for a more open floor plan.

Built-In Booth Seating

For a customized look, have banquette seating built right into the architecture of the kitchen. Tucked into a recessed area or framed with storage cubbies, this type of seating makes use of every inch.

Pub Tables and Stools

The smallest dining setup is a pub table with two stools. These high top tables take up minimal room but still provide a spot to sit down. Choose stools with backs for more comfort.

Mix and Match Seating Styles

Don’t feel like all the chairs have to match. Eclectic upholstered chairs around a small pedestal table or antique wood table can be charming. Mix standard height and counter height seats too.

Optimize Table Size and Shape

To maximize every square inch, choose a table size and shape that precisely fits the space. Round pedestal tables provide seating with minimal leg room. Banquettes can custom fit along walls.


A cramped kitchen need not eliminate the possibility of providing some type of seating area for a quick bite. With some creative space planning and furniture choices, even the smallest kitchen can carve out room for a perfectly sized, functional spot to enjoy a casual meal or morning coffee. The key is taking advantage of every last corner and identifying furniture, like stools, benches, and folding chairs that can tuck away or stow out of sight when not in use. With an inventive layout and multipurpose pieces, a small kitchen can feel downright cozy.

Small Kitchen Seating Ideas