New Trend? Benches at the Kitchen Island

We've been spotting these more often in home design magazines—banquettes instead of individual bar stools saddled up next to the kitchen island. Pros: Cozy, cool-looking, can probably seat more people. Cons: Kind of bulky. And maybe you don't want to be bumping thighs with the person next to you.

It takes a fairly big kitchen to pull off this look. And to be honest, we're thinking the most useful ones would be custom-made, so they'd fit perfectly with the size of the island.

Plus, wouldn't they be heavy to pull out in order to slide in? Much more work than simply alighting on a stool to watch a friend prep dinner.

See the kitchen above: Alabama Lake House, in House Beautiful.

Here's one counter-height bench we love, though. It looks manageable, size-wise. And the tufting!

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Julie Bar Bench, from Four Hands (We found this in House Beautiful as well; the magazine lists the price as $775 but there's no e-commerce. We assume you have to find a retailer.)

Have you seen benches at islands in anyone's kitchen? What do you think of this look?

Related: Look! Kitchen Island Made from Shopping Carts

(Images: Christopher Baker; Four Hands)