Islands serve a medley of functions in your kitchen, and they often become the center of the kitchen universe. They are a natural gathering place for family and friends to grab a light lunch or share a beverage. They’re the place people gather to discuss the day’s events, to do work on their laptop, or spread out the Saturday paper. They’re also a drop zone for unloading bags of groceries. We spend more time in our kitchens than ever, and islands are a bit reason why.

In designing an island, it’s best to keep these things in the back of your mind as you plan your kitchen renovation. A couple of the key ways in which these uses take shape is in the island size and its features.

Size and Spacing

Determining the physical space available for the island is of utmost importance. The kitchen is a busy intersection with a number of bodies buzzing about, and you want the island to be an asset, not an obstacle.

Keeping enough space so people can move freely is paramount. The suggested optimum space between the island and any other cabinets is 42”. If space is at a premium in your kitchen, this can be reduced to 36” (this being the minimum). A greater distance will be desired if there is a passage way between the island seating and other kitchen components.

A favorite island use is for seating for light meal for the family. If this is something you want, there needs to be enough room for seats. A rule of thumb is 24” per adult to give the best elbow room.

Island Features

Will the island contain appliances such as sink and dishwasher? If so, is your preference for the dishwasher on the left or right? How far away from the dishwasher are the cabinets which will store the dishes and glassware?

Or, will the island be where the meal comes together? With a cook top in the island, one needs to discuss ventilation, either over head or pop up exhaust. If the refrigerator is not handy, perhaps additional refrigeration under counter would save some steps.

When using the area as a prep site one should have waste and recycle containers to be in proximity.

Keeping these two aspects of island design in mind will maximize the use and enjoyment you get for years to come.

Need help getting your kitchen plan to come together? Want the peace of mind that comes with knowing a design professional has thought of everything? Why not book a free consultation with one of our kitchen designers?