Posted on: 22.09.2022 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

A kitchen island is a great addition to any kitchen, providing style, efficiency, and added convenience. However, a lot of planning is required to determine the right size for the space you are working with. We delve into everything you need to know about the size and implementation of your kitchen island.

How big should a kitchen island be? A standard kitchen island is about 4 feet long and 3 feet deep. This makes it sturdy and useful, but cozy for a smaller kitchen. To function properly, the island should be 30 inches away from your workspace.

To determine the size of a kitchen island, consider the size of the kitchen and its primary purpose, as well as the overall layout of the kitchen. While planning and dreaming of your perfect kitchen, it can be somewhat challenging to determine the ideal size of your island. The key is to find the perfect fit that meets your needs without overpowering your entire kitchen.

Planning Your Kitchen Island

Kitchens and the appliances within them have evolved immensely over the years. The kitchen has been modernized inside and out, from the electronics and appliances to the built-in structures and overall layout.

Kitchen islands are highly functional and aesthetically form a beautiful centerpiece for your kitchen. The accessibility factor alone is an attractive reason to have an island in your kitchen.

A workspace with four accessible sides is a great advantage, whether you’re baking alone, cooking with a group, or preparing for a neighborhood potluck.

When you begin your plans for a kitchen island, you will want to consider the main reason or reasons why you want to have it there.

Things a Kitchen Island Can Be Used For

Consider each function and how you can plan to use it. All of this brainstorming and imagination will help ensure that you choose the island in the right size and style.

Food preparation:

If your countertop is taken up by dishes or food waiting to be prepared, having the extra space on the island is great. You may also consider installing outlets so that you can use small appliances on the island while the countertop is being used for other purposes.

You may also consider buying an island with a built-in cutting board in addition to the large cutting board you had your eye on but didn’t have room for. Kitchen islands are a great way to have extra space for all your food preparation needs.

So when you’re discussing sizes, think about how much space you have now on your countertops and how much more helpful it would be for your daily tasks.


Kitchen islands are sometimes portrayed as small structures that offer a little more counter space but not much else. These islands can function as standalone full-fledged kitchens. You can opt for a built-in oven, sink, a mini-fridge underneath, or any other appliance that fits within the island’s space.

If you plan to use the island for additional cooking tasks, you must consider the size of the oven you want to install. Height is another consideration, as you will also want to have a built-in ventilation above the stove.

Cleanup after meals:

Sometimes, it’s nice to keep everything separate after a large meal. Kitchen islands are a great place to store all the dirty dishes before rinsing and putting them in the dishwasher when your countertops are cluttered with leftovers waiting to cool down.

The four sides of accessibility also make the island ideal for cleaning, as it is convenient for your trash, disposal, and sink. If you plan for this to primarily be an additional space to aid in tasks like these

Eating and entertaining:

Depending on the height chosen, this can also provide an additional dining area. And the accessibility of a kitchen island is perfect for a “help-yourself” potluck or large gathering. These layouts require plenty of space around them for guests to freely move around and serve themselves. Ideally, you’ll want the countertop to overhang the island, so people can sit comfortably.

For people who enjoy entertaining guests, kitchen islands can be a major advantage and add a lot of value to your kitchen.

Kitchen Islands in Various Sizes

Once you have determined the main functions of your kitchen island, you can better plan the size. Floor plan and square footage are key to these plans.

If your kitchen is not at least 12-13 feet wide, a built-in kitchen island may not be an option. It will be challenging to fit a suitable structure into this space and still leave enough room to move around in. In this case, a portable island may be the perfect answer. We will discuss portable islands a little later.

An average size of a kitchen island is about 3 x 6 feet. This can, of course, be larger or smaller depending on the space you are working with. But this size usually provides the structural size you need from your island without hindering the kitchen and its flow.

Leaving Space Between the Island and Countertops

You’ll want to have at least 30 inches between your kitchen island and your countertops or kitchen walls. Ideally, this should be closer to 40 inches, but 30 can be the minimum workable space. Always check with building codes in your area and kitchen safety guidelines if you are making such major renovations or additions.

Keep in mind that you not only want enough space to walk around the island. You want to be able to function.

If more than one cook typically works in the kitchen, you’ll want to ensure that you can easily pass by each other without getting too close to hot appliances that may be on either side of you.

Yes, kitchen islands are often considered for their aesthetic appeal, but remember that this is a functional piece of your kitchen. And the size and space you leave on the edges will make your life in the kitchen easier or more difficult.

A big design mistake that can be made when designing and installing kitchen islands is not leaving enough space to open. Consider refrigerator doors, dishwashers, and other appliances with doors that need space to open.

The last thing you want is to have your beautiful new island installed only to realize that you can only open your dishwasher halfway.

One of the best answers to how big a kitchen island can be is always about how much space you leave around it. Your kitchen island can technically be as large as you want if you can provide at least 30 inches of free space on all sides and can open all doors and appliances.

Height of the Kitchen Island

Standard kitchen islands are typically about 36 inches tall. If you plan to use the island for dining purposes, consider raising it to 42 to 45 inches. And it can go even higher if you want it to also serve as a sort of breakfast bar, with taller stools to accompany it.

If you plan to have hanging kitchen lights that drop down in the middle of your kitchen, also consider how they will look with the chosen height of the island. This is purely for aesthetic purposes but can look a little off if the height is disproportionate.

If you plan to add an oven, you should also research how big a range hood or ventilation system will be.

Kitchen Island Height vs. Countertop Height

One thing that is often overlooked is the congruity of the kitchen. It may not seem like a big deal, but if your kitchen island matches the height of your countertops, it can be particularly pleasing to the eye and make the transition of food and supplies from counter to counter easier.

If you intend to use the island for dining, the heights may not match since you will need a higher surface for the island. But if you can keep the island at the same height as the countertops, it gives the kitchen a nice sense of uniformity.

Another time you may be looking for a statement piece. If you want this island to stand out as the centerpiece of the kitchen, it is common to intentionally go higher than the countertops with the island to draw attention there.

Various Styles of Kitchen Islands

There are many different types and styles of kitchen islands to choose from. The type also directly affects the size you ultimately choose. Here are a few popular options to consider when shopping and researching.

Kitchen Island with Built-in Cutting Boards

Kitchen islands that can double as cutting and chopping stations are great for a compact kitchen. If your main purpose for the island is to help with efficiency and you love to chop fresh produce for every meal, this is an ideal style.

These islands are typically half cutting board, half countertop space. The board can be removed for cleaning purposes, but it’s nice to have it securely in place and ready to use.

Kitchen Island with Full Power and Water Supply

If you plan to go all out with your island and install additional appliances in it, you will need a lot of space. These are usually larger and require plenty of space around them.

You should also expect higher electric and water bills if you plan to double up on sinks and/or electrical appliances on the island.

For a kitchen that has plenty of space and for homeowners who enjoy elaborate cooking, this is the way to go. It essentially functions as a second kitchen to your regular appliances. With this option, you also get some additional counterspace, but this is mainly suited for those with serious cooking needs.

If you decide to go this route, you’ll also want to consider where on the island you will have specific appliances. Consider the space around your kitchen and where appliances already exist, and plan accordingly from there. According to Bob Vila, “Your island must be at least 9 feet long to comfortably accommodate both a sink and a range. Seven feet are needed for either a cooktop or a sink area. If you have sufficient space, you can even place a dishwasher next to the sink to maximize cleaning efficiency.” (Source:

Double Kitchen Island

As mentioned before, you may want your kitchen island to function as an additional dining area. The entertaining workaround to figuring out what height is good to function as both a food prep area and a dining area is to install a double-level kitchen island.

You can still have your shorter countertop area for all your cooking, prep, and cleaning needs while also having an elevated second level for dining with a few bar stools available.

These serve not only a dual purpose; they also look stunning. It’s a beautiful centerpiece to your kitchen that provides a variety of uses. These are great for medium-sized kitchens wanting additional functionality but not taking up too much space.

Many also offer additional storage or cabinets underneath, making them great for a kitchen with floor space, but requiring additional functionality and storage space.

Another dimension to consider with this style is how far the countertop hangs over the dining area.

The minimum overhang height needed for this type of seating area is about 8 inches. Somewhere between 8 and 10 inches seems to be standard. You don’t want to go over 12 inches in overhang; otherwise, you’d need some additional support.

Cabinets and Countertops

For smaller kitchens, some great compact islands offer extra cabinet and storage space underneath with a simple, clean countertop. These fit in almost any kitchen, while still adding a tremendous amount of space.

If you don’t have much workspace, yet need additional storage space, these small islands are perfect.

They have a nice open space on top that is perfect for food prep without taking up unnecessary space. These are typically available in a variety of sizes that should fit into most kitchen areas.

Portable Kitchen Islands

Some people love the idea and appearance of a kitchen island, but may not be ready to take the plunge into building a permanent one. This is where portable kitchen islands come into play. They are also typically on the smaller side, as they are meant to be portable.

Smaller kitchens and people who cannot commit to building a permanent kitchen island will love a solid small portable island. This is the happy medium between a simple kitchen cart and a built-in kitchen island.

Many still offer great features such as additional storage space, shelves, cutting board options, and nice countertop options.

Some will have wheels, similar to a cart, so you can enclose it and have easy access to move around the kitchen. Others will stand like a table in the middle of your kitchen, with many of the same looks and features as a kitchen island but with the added benefit of being able to be moved.

Fun tip: Kitchens that use the “working triangle” layout are always the most efficient. This means that your sink, refrigerator, and oven are all triangularly shaped and easily moved between. You want just enough space to be safe and enough room to open doors and move. Consider implementing if you’re installing power and/or water on your kitchen island.

Finding the Best Kitchen Island for Your Kitchen

To find the kitchen island with the best size for your kitchen, you must do more than measure. Consider the things you want to use it for, the look you are aiming for in your kitchen, and most importantly, how much space you have to work with.

A kitchen island is a great way to save space and make your kitchen more functional and efficient, but there must be enough space around it for you to utilize all four sides.

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