• Designing The Perfect Kitchen Island Made Simple

    Designing The Perfect Kitchen Island Made Simple

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    December 18, 2016

    A kitchen island modernizes the kitchen.

    It provides additional counter space and it can also contain a cooktop and storage.

    In some homes, islands act as a room divider.  This increases visual appeal and adds functionality.

    The island in many kitchens, becomes the focal point.  When planning an island, you must consider how it will be used and how it will be approached.

    Typically, an Island acts as a…

    1. Food prep area
    2. Dining area
    3. Additional cooking area
    4. Cleanup area


    Each function comes with its own design considerations.

    If it’s to function as a prep area, you should include a small sink and a butcher-block countertop.

    You may also want to position the island near your cooktop, refrigerator, and garbage disposal.  You can even add outlets to it to add appliances.  If the island has a cooktop, you’ll need at least 18 inches of space on either side of the cooktop for safety.  You should also add an overhead vent hood and countertops that are heat-resistant such as metal, stone, or tile.

    If the island is used for a cleanup area, add pull-out bins for garbage and compost.  Also add extra storage for dishes and cleaning supplies.

    If the island is also used for dining, you must make sure that the height of the counter will accommodate stools/chairs comfortably.  It also may be good to choose a countertop with rounded edges for the safety of your guests.


    Because islands are accessible from all sides, they tend to take up a lot of room.

    A typical island is roughly 4 feet long, 2 feet wide, and high enough to allow for comfort when you are working at the countertop or sitting under the counter overhang.


    Placement depends on how it’s used.  Place it in such a way that all your cabinet doors and storage bins can be easily opened and pulled out.  If you intend to have a dishwasher in your island, be sure that the door of the dishwasher will be easy to open as well with nothing blocking it.


    Storage options vary.  Remember — if the island houses a sink, oven, or dishwasher, your storage area much smaller.  If it will be used mainly for dining or clean-up, you can use all the cabinet space.  You can maximize your storage by adding shallow drawers, lazy Susans, and platforms that attach to doors and swing out for ease of access.  There are a variety items that can enlarge the functionality of the space.


    Your island need to be well lit.  If your ceilings are of average height, recessed lighting is a good option.  If your kitchen has high ceilings, you may want to consider pendant lighting.  Pendant lights should be placed directly over the island.


    Seating depends on the counter height. Some people find it useful to have a dual-height island so that one side can be used for seating and the other side can be used for working comfortably at standing level.

    Here is the general idea of seating options…

    1. 28”-30” counter (regular chairs)
    2. 36” counter (low stool)
    3. 42”-48” counter (bar stool)


    If your kitchen island includes a cooktop, you must have the proper ventilation.

    This can be an expensive and troublesome but still is necessary.  A downdraft fan behind the cooktop is often the top choice because it eliminates the visual problem of having an overhead vent hood.  The downside to this is that downdraft fans may not handle the worst cooking smells — so you may need to install a second exhaust fan in the ceiling.

    Another option is to use an overhead hood that goes through the ceiling.  This option has a tremendous visual impact on your kitchen.  Some people love the bold visual statement.  The hood must be completely finished on all sides, so costs can add up.

    Additionally, because an overhead hood is so prominent in your overall design,  it can negatively affect the final look of your kitchen if not done exceptionally well.

    Hopefully these tips help you better understand how to pick the perfect kitchen island. And if you’re ready to purchase a kitchen island or need more information, stop by. We carry the top brands.

    Feel free to stop into Builder Supply Outlet or the Edge Showroom with any home improvement questions you may have or call us anytime at 1-708-343-3900.