Designing a Kitchen Island

Posted by: Charlie L on


The brilliance of a kitchen island is that it can vastly expand the design and convenience of the space.  

An island equals extra counterspace, storage and can double as a homework area in the evening.

For large kitchens the island may house the cooktop or wine refrigerator and an overhang for seating. In smaller kitchens it may be solely as an additional workstation making up for badly needed work space.Whatever size the kitchen may be, it is important to be realistic and propose an island that will fit properly. The options are endless and therefore careful planning should go into designing it.

Base Cabinets Provide Extra Kitchen Storage Space

If you will be having seating around it for entertaining, think of having a large cabinet to store serving pieces, a wine rack and cabinet for glasses. For those that will be having their cooktop on it, a large cutlery drawer and pot drawers are always useful for quick and easy access to pots, pans and cooking utensils.

For those that need the extra storage, large base cabinets with roll-out trays are extremely valuable. Trash pull-outs, spice cabinets are also a plus if space allows.

Aside from its functionality, an island is also the best place to personify the kitchen which will add tremendously to its aesthetics.  Kitchen cabinets in unique shapes or a 2 tiered island will enhance the individuality of your kitchen. With different wood types, contrasting countertop and various counter heights, the island is sure to be the focal point of the room.

Be careful. Before adding an island be sure that you have adequate space. Insufficient space will result in a poor kitchen layout that may be uninviting and claustrophobic. See below for some useful tips to keep in mind when planning an island, courtesy of InStock Kitchens.

7 Important Kitchen Island Tips

  1. There should be a minimum of 36” width for the main pass through.
  2. It is recommended to have 42” space between the island and cabinets for one cook and 48” for two cooks.
  3. If there will be a raised bar top, support will be needed, i.e. corbels, support wall.
  4. Molding, such as scribe molding, quarter round molding or a furniture base molding, is recommended to finish off the bottom of the island’s back panel to prevent it from ruining.
  5. Outside molding is needed to finish off the back corners of the island; where the side of the cabinet and back panel meet.
  6. If outlets will be installed on the island, be sure that all necessary electrical work is done prior to installing the island.
  7. If the counter behind a cooktop on an island is at the same height as the cooktop, it is recommended to allow for 9” behind it to protect the back side of the cooking surface and for safety.