How To Design a kitchen island

A well designed kitchen island is a wonderful thing, it has become the modern-day hub of the home and can also it makes the kitchen a more practical place to cook, work & relax by defining the ‘cooking’  space from the ‘socialising/doing homework/reading the paper’ space, meaning everyone’s happy!

So first of all, do you have space?

There are no hard and fast rules and islands come in all shapes and sizes. However, if your kitchen is not at least 2.3 x 2.6 metres you will struggle to fit even a small island in.

You will need to allow for your standard ‘back to wall’ worktops, the standard being 60/65cm.

From this point to the edge of the island you need to allow 90cm. This will allow plenty of clearance so cupboard and appliance doors don’t clash.

If you are including any appliances or a sink on the kitchen island it will need to be a minimum of 60/65cm deep, more if you want to include a worktop overhang for seating. The depth of this will depend on your choice of material but generally a 30cm overhang from the back of the island units is perfect for stools.

The island can be set up to serve many functions, which should you choose?

1. Cooking

Most kitchen units and hobs are fixed to the wall which means you have your back to everyone else in the room when you’re cooking. With the hob on the island you can face the room and so interact with guests if you’re entertaining or simply keep an eye on what the kids are up to whilst you get their tea ready!

Points to consider;
– Can you get the required gas/electricity to the island?
– How will you vent the extractor hood?

2. Washing

Traditionally people have put their kitchen sinks in front of the window. Perhaps the nice view takes your mind off the pile of washing up! But with your sink on the island your focal point is the rest of the room, so as with the hob, you can interact with family, or maybe catch up on the latest news with a cleverly positioned TV screen.

Points to consider;
– Can you get hot/cold & waste pipes to the island? It’s worth consult a professional on this one as wastes can be tricky
– If positioning you dishwasher on the island, make sure you leave plenty of clearance for the door. You don’t want to be tripping over it when putting the clean dishes away.

3. Food Prep

Think about what type of work surface most suits you. Marble or granite is perfect for keen bread makers or pastry chefs as its inherent cold keeps dough cool.

If you fancy a permanent chopping board, go for a lovely built-in butcher’s block, or even better, mix it up and have both!

If you’ve got a large island with plenty of prep space you could think about adding a small but very handy ‘prep’ sink. But if your work surface isn’t huge keep it clear and enjoy being able to spread out!

Points to consider;
– Will you need power for blenders/mixers etc? If so think about either a pop-up socket tower or install sockets on the island end panels.

4. Casual Dining & Socialising

Think about which height countertop works best for you, do you want a breakfast bar and stools for perching on or a more classic dining table and chairs?

With a breakfast bar you can raise it up to a ‘cocktail bar’ height to lean you elbows on or keep it the same height as the rest of the worktop for a more streamlined look.

Alternatively if you want to create a more defined eating area you can drop it down a level and have an integrated dining table.

Points to consider;
– Will you use the space for eating meals? If so would you be more comfortable on a stool or on a chair?
– Think about materials, would you prefer to sit at marble, granite, glass or wood?
– You need to leave a minimum of 1 metre from the edge of the worktop to allow for a seated person. Make sure you have space to move around when people are sitting down.

Final thoughts…

We hope this answers some initial questions and gets you thinking about your kitchen plan. If you need any help please feel free to email us a sketch of you kitchen space with the dimensions.

Our designers will put together a plan and quote free of charge and with no obligation.

If you want to get in touch with us, please email us at or call us on 01223 411799