A kitchen island is a freestanding countertop in the middle of your kitchen. It provides extra workspace and storage. You can use it for food preparation, cooking, and even dining. Here is a quick guide to kitchen islands.

Why Install a Kitchen Island?

Installing a kitchen island provides additional workspace, allowing you to have more room for food preparation, chopping, and mixing ingredients. It creates a central hub in your kitchen where you can easily access everything you need. 

Moreover, a kitchen island offers extra storage with its cabinets and drawers, giving you a designated place to keep your cookware, utensils, and other kitchen essentials. It helps to declutter your countertops and keep your kitchen organized. 

Having a kitchen island can also enhance your socializing and entertaining experience. The island serves as a gathering spot for family and friends, allowing you to interact with them while you cook or serve meals. Some islands even have seating areas, creating a casual dining space or a cozy breakfast nook.

How Do You Size Kitchen Islands? 

When sizing your kitchen island, consider the available space in your kitchen. Measure the dimensions of the area where the island will be placed. Take into account any clearance needed for walking paths and appliance doors. Aim for a minimum of 36 inches of clearance around the island.

The size of your island should also be proportional to the size of your kitchen. For smaller kitchens, a compact island that is around 36–48 inches wide and 24–36 inches deep may work well. In larger kitchens, you can consider a larger island with dimensions ranging around 48–72 inches wide and 36–48 inches deep.

Think about the functions you want your island to serve. If you plan to include a sink or cooktop, you’ll need additional space. Allow for at least 12 inches of countertop on each side of the sink or cooktop.

Consider the height of the island as well. Most islands have a standard height of 36 inches, but you can adjust it to fit your needs. For seating areas, plan for a countertop height of around 42 inches and provide at least 24 inches of width per person.

What Should You Put on a Kitchen Island?

When setting up your kitchen island, keep these essentials in mind:

  • Start with a centerpiece: Place a decorative item like a vase of fresh flowers or a stylish fruit bowl to add a pop of color and create visual interest. 
  • Cooking essentials: Keep frequently used cooking utensils and tools within easy reach, such as spatulas, ladles, and tongs. 
  • Prep area: Dedicate a section of the island for food preparation. Add a cutting board or a butcher block surface for chopping fruits, vegetables, and meats.
  • Storage options: Utilize the space beneath the island by installing drawers or shelves to store pots, pans, baking sheets, and other kitchen essentials.
  • Additional seating: If you have enough space, incorporate bar stools or chairs around the island. It provides a casual dining area or a spot for guests to gather while you cook.
  • Appliances: If you have a particularly large island, you may install a sink, cooktop, or dishwasher as part of the island.

Remember, the kitchen island should be both functional and aesthetically pleasing, enhancing the overall appeal and efficiency of your kitchen space.

What Types of Lighting Work Well With Kitchen Islands? 

Various lighting options can enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your kitchen island. Pendant lights are a popular choice. They hang down from the ceiling and provide focused illumination. You can find pendant lights in various styles and designs. 

If you install cabinets above your island, under-cabinet lighting is another great option and it can highlight the workspace on your island.

Do you plan to install a kitchen island in your home? Nielsen’s Remodeling & Construction can help you with your upcoming kitchen remodel. We give our clients comfort, style, and functionality. Contact us today to learn more.