What You Need to Know About the Kitchen Island

August 16, 2017

One of the most desirable pieces of kitchen real estate is the kitchen island. It serves as a welcome surface between other parts of the kitchen in to make the kitchen triangle work better.  It makes preparation, cooking, and serving to be more efficient. It’s estimated that 9 out of 10 clients discuss the possibility of adding a kitchen island to their cabinet design plans when offered the prospect of remodeling or designing their own home.

Tommy Silva of PBS’ This Old House said on a recent episode of the program that it’s rare not to see a home with a kitchen island. “I can’t remember the last time I saw a house without at least one kitchen island in it,” Silva said.

The ideal size is approximately three feet by five feet for a standard sized kitchen island. Of course, you don’t have to have a huge kitchen to have an island. There are a number of styles and types that can work well in all but the tiniest kitchen configurations. Below are a few ideas on the types and functions of kitchen islands, fitting any family’s need or budget.

Consider Clearance – Regardless of the style that you choose for your kitchen cabinets, there are a few rules of thumb to follow.  One of the most important of these is how much clearance is available to allow for anyone in the kitchen to safely move around the kitchen island and other points within the kitchen space. Most design experts believe that the ideal distance is approximately 36” but is better if placed with a 42” clearance all the way around. This measurement allows for a safe pathway if there is more than one person between the kitchen counter and the island.


Designing for Functionality – A kitchen island offers both extra kitchen storage and additional prep space for cooks, especially when placed at the same height as other countertops. Some kitchen islands also offer additional sinks, microwaves, refrigerators or ice makers and seating for informal dining





Storage and Prep – The most basic kitchen island will offer extra drawers and shelving space in a number of ways. When adding sinks or cooktops to a kitchen island, make certain that the island is large enough to accommodate this. You want to be sure to have enough work space in addition to the stove or sink to avoid overcrowding. You can store extra appliances in cabinets or shelves underneath when not in use.  A kitchen island is also a natural gathering place in the kitchen, so having the extra counter space for safety is an important consideration, especially in homes where children are present. Add pendant or recessed light fixtures over the island to shine on preparation and cooking areas.

Use the Storage Overhead – The addition of a hanging pot rack over a kitchen island can further reinforce the idea that the island is an integral and important part of the entire kitchen space. If you are fortunate enough to have a beamed ceiling in your kitchen, this can be used instead.

Eat-in Dining Space – Just adding a few stools around a kitchen island can turn the work surface into an eating space. For those homeowners who have a larger kitchen, kitchen islands can be almost as large as you like.  Consider an island to which a table and booth-style seating are added to turn the kitchen space into a favorite restaurant in its own right. Dishes of food can be placed on the island space so that they don’t take up room on the table, and if anyone wants seconds, they are within easy reach. 

Movable Islands – Whether it matches the other cabinets in the kitchen, is a beloved antique, or constructed of salvaged materials, a kitchen island can be made portable just by adding wheels. Some kitchen islands have a surge strip added to them offering additional outlets for appliances and increase flexibility in terms of preparation. Having a portable island is a great way to increase efficiency while cooking and can be easily moved out of the way when space is at a premium.

An island can be a great addition to your dream kitchen. Before finalizing your kitchen remodel or planning a new kitchen space, consider the features you want as well as your needs.  Our professional design team can help you plan out everything that you need, so you can install the perfect kitchen island.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *