How to Get the Most Out of Your New Kitchen Island

How to Get the Most Out of Your New Kitchen Island

A new kitchen remodel should cover all the bases and deliver that perfect design that blends form and function. If you’re considering adding a new island to your kitchen, read on to see how to get the most function out of your beautiful kitchen centerpiece.

Believe it or not, islands can work in both small and large kitchens. The key is keeping the island proportional to the size of the space. An appropriately sized island will assure that there is adequate room for maneuverability and doesn’t break up the flow of the room.

How big should your island be?

A kitchen island, on average, is about 3 by 6 ½ feet with approximately 40 inches of clearance space surrounding it. Therefore, it makes sense that an island’s size is generally determined by the size of the kitchen. However, something too big for the room can ruin the overall aesthetic of the design. Furthermore, a larger island doesn’t always mean more functionality. Planned appropriately from the get go, an island can be a wonderful asset that improves the efficiency and functionality of your kitchen.

For example, a galley island layout—a layout typically favored by professional chefs—allows you to stand at the island and turn without extra steps to reach the workspace behind. In a well-executed design, this creates an efficient triangle between work surfaces, cupboards and appliances during cooking. A comfortable maneuvering space doesn’t exceed 4 feet of clearance. Scaling your island too large and creating too much clearance space can ruin the flow between all these spaces and make working in the space feel labor intensive.


Additional Space

Islands are a great place to add extra cabinetry and drawers. Cabinets for storing frequently used kitchen gadgets within reach and drawers for stacking pots can give your island that custom built feel. If you plan on adding storage when sizing and placing the island, you need to keep in mind the clearance cabinet doors and drawers need to open. If placed too close to the cabinets against the wall, you’ll run into flow problems when trying to walk around and open doors on both sides.

Another point to keep in mind is whether you will be adding seating to your island. Adding seating has its own set of choices. If you plan on adding seating, determine how many chairs can fit comfortably at the island without disturbing the surrounding walking space. Many designers opt for at least four chairs, but you will need at least 24” of width for each person’s comfort when seated. Seating turns the kitchen into a great place to gather whether you’re enjoying a casual breakfast or hosting guests at a party.


Your island and appliances

An island gives you more space to work with when deciding where your appliances will live. You can build in a range top and mount your stove separately in the kitchen. A prep sink is also a popular option to add function to the island and make it an efficient meal prep station. If you’re a wine lover, the island is a fantastic place to build-in that custom wine fridge.

The kitchen island is an opportunity for you to create a custom piece that works in your space. Focusing on storage, seating, and sizing options that deliver the most function in the space for your needs is key. It’s also a great opportunity to include those custom touches—whether that’s a built-in appliance or creative seating—that makes your kitchen design unique to you. Treating your island like a center piece that elevates the overall design is a beautiful way to make your kitchen efficient, yet show stopping. Enlisting the help of a great kitchen designer is a great way to ensure you get the best blend of form and function when it comes to your kitchen island.


If you’re ready to speak with an Airoom Design Professional about any questions you might have about your kitchen island, or want to learn more about overall kitchen remodeling, reach out to us through our email address,

  Airoom Architects, Builders and Remodelers
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