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Kitchen Island Design Ideas

Nov 30, 2018 | Kitchen

Kitchen Island Design

One of the most important aspects of a kitchen is the workspace. A kitchen island design is perfect for adding value to any kitchen probably more than any other upgrade. A kitchen island can make the use of this very busy room more efficiently. Several key contributions that a kitchen island can offer the heart of the home is counter space for prepping food, for dining and adding much needed extra storage space.

Large kitchen island with marble top

How to plan your kitchen island design might be your next question.  Each family has a different need and each kitchen has a different layout, so it will depend on these two factors.  If you have the room to include an island in your present space than what is your pain point, what is driving you to add a kitchen island? Here are some questions to consider as you plan your new kitchen island in your newly remodeled kitchen or even as an addition to your present kitchen:


  • How Large? The island should look proportional in the kitchen layout with plenty of room to move around its perimeter.  If you have two cooks in the kitchen or are in need of a universal design you should plan a walkway of 48 inches on all sides. There should be a free-flow area between the key zones (stove, sink, and refrigerator) and the island.
  • For Cooking? If the island is a food prep area a standard 36-inch high counter is fine but if your baking is your passion you may desire a wing off the main island with a 30-inch height which is best for rolling and kneading the dough.
  • Appliances? A cooktop incorporated in an island can offer the chef a clear view of the rest of the room and allow for visiting with guests while preparing the meal.  There will be a need for ventilation so a hood that suspends from the ceiling over the island can be considered, but it will somewhat block the view.   You could also opt for a built-in exhaust vent that pops up at the push of a button from within the underlying cabinet.
  • Sink?  A smaller sink for rinsing vegetables and fruits can also be included and preferably in the corner out of the way of the main workspace.  If you choose to place your full-size sink in the island plan to allow about 12 inches on both sides.
  • For Dining? If planning a dining area with the addition of stools set the counter at a higher level the overhang can than be less.  The seat of the stool should be at least 12 inches from the countertop and the space needed so diners can push back their stool should be at least 24 inches.  If the dining island will also be used for cooking you might consider raising the dining portion of the counter higher than the prep and cooking area to create a safety buffer from the heat, steam or flame of the stove.
  • Storage? Most kitchens need extra storage and the island can offer drawers and cabinets to store larger items or make utensils that are used for prepping and cooking food handy. Shelves can also make a great place for stowing baskets and cookbooks and showing off collectibles.

Take a look at this gallery of custom kitchen islands: