Posted on: 28.08.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

The kitchen is one of the rooms in your home where you work the most. Good homemade food is best prepared in a functional and comfortable kitchen.

Some kitchen islands have toe kicks to avoid straining your back, neck, and shoulders unnecessarily. Toe kicks give you space for your toes so you can get closer to your kitchen counter and not have to lean too far forward while working.

This article defines what a toe kick is and what function it serves in kitchen islands. You will get some details about toe kicks that can help you decide if it is the most suitable addition to your kitchen.

What Is a Toe Kick and What Is Its Function?

A toe kick is a term used to refer to the small space at the base of your kitchen island or kitchen cabinets. This recess gives you space for your toes so you can position your feet closer to your workstation.

The design of the toe kick is based on kitchen ergonomics – the science of design standards developed to make spaces comfortable and safe for living and working. A toe kick prevents you from leaning too far forward when working on your countertop or kitchen island.

This way, you avoid stubbing your toes on the bottom of your cabinets and other kitchen fixtures. You also avoid unnecessary fatigue of your back, shoulders, neck, arms, and an unfavorable angle that leads to fatigue. These can later also cause chronic pain and postural problems.

When your feet are firm and closer to your workstation, you also have better balance while working.

Pros and Cons of Kitchen Island Toe Kicks

You may be considering installing a toe kick in your kitchen. Here are some pros and cons listed to help you make the decision:


  • Toe kicks help with good posture and prevent unnecessary strain on the back while working.
  • It provides additional space for the toes and helps prevent stubbing.
  • Suitable for kitchens with a more modern design. Toe kicks give your cabinets and kitchen island a “floating” look.
  • The space under your cabinets or at the bottom of your kitchen island can be utilized as additional storage.


  • Not suitable for other traditional kitchen designs.
  • The small space can accumulate dust and other debris and can be cumbersome to clean.

Ideas for Your Kitchen Island Toe Kick

If you want to use this toe kick space not just as room for your toes, here are some ideas you can use:

  • Use the space for a drawer for trash, cutlery, pans, cleaning supplies, pet bowls, etc.
  • Install a retractable step stool or create enough space for a step stool.
  • Install some accent lighting.
  • Instead of a traditional box-shaped toe kick, you can opt for an arch shape or curve. This is a unique and decorative option for those who want a different look for their toe kicks.

What Is the Standard Size of a Toe Kick?

The standard size of a toe kick is 3 ½ – 4 inches (9-10 cm) high and 3 inches (7.5 cm) deep. However, you can increase the height of the toe kick up to 23 cm if the cabinet has movable legs or you plan on using the space for placing drawers.

Avoid making your toe kick too high, as this can take up unnecessary space. Ultimately, the height and depth of your toe kick depend on what you need it for. If it’s solely for kitchen ergonomics, the standard 4″ x 3″ (10 cm x 7.5 cm) is sufficient.

How to Install a Toe Kick

Before installing a toe kick for your kitchen island, here are some tools you will need:

  • Hand saw
  • Circular saw
  • Sander
  • Nail gun/nailer
  1. Choose your toe kick material. The most common material choice for toe kicks is laminated wood or painted ½-¾ inch thick plywood.
  2. Cut the longest piece of your toe kick. Measure the length of your kitchen island or cabinet base where you’ll be installing your toe kick. Double-check your measurements before making any cuts to avoid material waste.
  3. Test the fit of your toe kick. Try fitting the piece you’ve cut under the base of your kitchen island or cabinet. If it doesn’t fit, carefully trim a bit more wood or use a sander to trim the edges gently. You can also use the sander to polish and smooth the edges of your toe kick.
  4. Install your toe kick at the base of your kitchen island. Use a nail gun to nail your toe kick in place. To have the nails concealed and not visible, insert them through the base of the toe kick and from the top.
  5. If the plywood for your toe kick is unfinished, apply a coat or two of paint first. This way, you avoid undesirable paint stains on your floor or the base of your cabinets or kitchen island.

    Alternatives to Kitchen Island Toe Kicks

    Some people consider toe kicks to be outdated or prefer a different design for their kitchen island. The common alternative to a toe kick is a baseboard or flush toe.

    You can use a baseboard instead of toe kicks for your kitchen island if you prefer not to have that space underneath your cabinets. Baseboards are decorative molding or decorative skirting that runs around the base of your cabinets or countertops and create a more solid look.

    Baseboards are suitable for more traditional and English kitchens and can be made to make your kitchen island resemble a piece of furniture.


    Toe kicks are the indented space below kitchen cabinets and islands that serve kitchen ergonomics. It provides space for your toes so you can stand closer to your workstation.

    Not all kitchen islands require toe kicks, but they help with posture and prevent unnecessary strain on your back. If a toe kick is not for you, you can alternatively use a baseboard.

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