Guidelines for the Best Kitchen Island Layouts
When thinking about the type of kitchen island you want to incorporate into your new home kitchen, here are top five questions to keep in mind:
- How large is your kitchen?
- What is the shape of your kitchen?
- How many seats at the island?
- Will you need a secondary / prep sink?
- What functions are most important?
What Size is the Kitchen?
In general, islands work best in large kitchens and peninsulas work better in small kitchens.
Kitchen design tip: you want enough space to navigate around the island - maximizing the functionality of the extra counter top and cabinet space it provides. This kitchen island is approximately 3.5' x 9' with diagonal cut-outs:
When working with a custom home builder, you can likely convert a peninsula kitchen into an island kitchen, or vice versa. This home, a version of The Gershwin by Frank Betz, was originally designed with an island. The peninsula is approximately 8' long.
What Shape is the Kitchen?
- Long, thin kitchens work best with a thin rectangular island.
- Wider or more square kitchens work best with a wide rectangular or angled island.
- The shape of your kitchen will help determine the size and shape of your island.
- This island, from a version of the Carwile, is approximately 10' long:
How many seats will fit at the island?
- Most islands can be expanded to incorporate bar-height OR counter-height seating
- In this example photo, the island was angled towards the great room, slightly off-set from the kitchen.
- The counter height seating creates a smooth, clean look that matches the contemporary lines of this home.
What's a good size for a prep sink?
- When thinking about your prep sink size, keep in mind where the prep sink will go and how you will use it most
- Dual sinks are generally placed on opposite ends of the kitchen
- Prep sinks can be as small as 14'' round, usually when used in a bar area
- Heavy-duty veggie sinks can be over 20'' (when round) and over 30'' (when rectangular)
What else should fit in my island layout?
- When thinking about your ideal island design, will it include tons of storage? More counter space? A place to add a wine refrigerator?
- Many island have two-sided cabinets for easy-access storage
- If you want counter space, re-think adding a prep sink (even a small sink can take up more space than you realize)
- An island may be the ideal place to add a drink fridge
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