A kitchen island is the dream of many homeowners, adding stylish storage, prep space and seating to the most popular gathering spot in the home.
Kitchen islands today can be far more elaborate in shape and size than just a three-foot by six-foot rectangle with bar seating, although this is by far the most common size for a kitchen island.
There are L-shaped kitchen islands, which provide multi-zoned workspaces for homes with multiple chefs, as well as uber-spacious U-shaped islands that surround the cook on all three sides and provide an abundance of space for appliances, storage, sinks and more. Want to think really out-of-the-box? Some homeowners have even done circular islands.
The key to a great kitchen island is making sure it fits in the space you have, and in a way that still allows traffic to flow freely through the kitchen and maximizes efficiency for the cook during meal prep. If you turn around from cooking at the stove and then must walk around a large rectangular island to get to the sink on the other side of the room, your kitchen island dream may quickly become a cooking nightmare.
While making sure there is room for additional seating and entertaining is usually a big part of a kitchen remodel plan, don’t forget about the primary purpose of the kitchen – to prepare meals. The kitchen triangle is still the gold standard for an efficient kitchen layout. The three points are the sink, stove and refrigerator, and if you draw an imaginary line between each, it forms an unobstructed triangle. The distance between each of these points in the ideal scenario will range between four feet and nine feet.
An old rule of thumb used to be that your kitchen needed to be at least eight feet by 12 feet to even consider adding an island. But today, because there are so many possible shapes and sizes for a kitchen island, not to mention movable kitchen islands, that’s not always the case.
Some measurements you should abide by include the space needed to swing open your refrigerator door or open your dishwasher. Generally, plan on allowing at least 39 inches between an island and any opposing obstacle, and a 48-inch clearance is preferred. Remember, you probably won’t be the only person in the kitchen, so it’s good to plan for space for another person to be able to move around someone washing dishes or staring inside the refrigerator. If you are planning a kitchen for accessibility, most wheelchairs need a 60-inch circle to turn completely.
It’s important to put some careful thought and planning into your kitchen design. Showrooms where you can see, and touch will inspire you. Today’s computer design tools, along with the help of experienced staff and designers, will help personalize and enhance your kitchen island design to make it just right for you.