Kitchen islands are a popular feature. A well-planned island layout can allow a smooth workflow and provide a comfortable space for preparing and cooking food. Islands also provide space for dining, entertaining, working and storage.
If you have a small kitchen, don’t assume that an island won’t be possible, or that you can’t include the options you want. There are many possibilities for making an island work, even where space is limited. Kitchen designers can find a cabinet maker that offers cabinets with a reduced depth to work in tight spaces.
Follow these tips to help you decide whether you have enough space to make an island work for you. And if you don’t, discover what else you can try. When planning a kitchen, designers must consider factors such as how many people live in the house and how they use the space. But most important is the size of the room.
Base cabinets along the wall will protrude into the room 25 inches. For comfort, and safety you need to have a minimum of 3 feet and a maximum of 4 feet from the base wall cabinets and the island. This allows for traffic flow, efficiency of use and the ability to open dishwashers, ovens, etc. Also consider the ease to pass between the stove, sink and refrigerator. An island should not impede the traffic efficiency to be able to move freely between the triangle.
The size of the island is largely dependent on the space available in the kitchen. Navigating around an island can be a chore if it’s too big. If you are set on a kitchen island but your space is just too small, there are various options. The most dramatic is to rearrange your layout and open up the room to create more space. This might mean altering some of the internal structure, such as taking a wall down to open the space, stealing a bit of real estate from another room, or building an addition. Often, trade-offs have to be made in order to accommodate an island, like giving up wall cabinets and forfeiting some storage. Decisions have to be made to determine if the island is worth the exchange.
Structural changes are not always feasible for every kitchen. So smaller-scale options might include the use of butcher blocks, moving islands and trolleys — all great options when there’s no space for an island. Eye-catching in their own right, these small islands can be extremely functional, offering extra storage space and work surface. They are also much less costly than a fixed kitchen island.
A kitchen peninsula is another good option rather than a full island. The word peninsula comes from the Latin for “almost an island,” and a kitchen peninsula shares most of the same appealing qualities as a kitchen island, but is fixed at one end. Peninsulas are a practical and functional choice for small kitchens because, with one end fixed to a wall, they take up less floor space. Because one end is attached to the wall, they require 3 feet less space on that end and offer additional storage in the corner where attached.