How Big Should a Kitchen Island Be?

How often have you been in the middle of preparing an extravagant meal just to realize you’re slowly running out of counter space? The more mixing bowls and appliances you take out and refrigerator condiments you introduce, the less space you have to actually put things together. You may be considering adding an island, but how big should a kitchen island be?

At Cabinet Creations, our small and intimate team believes in combining process-driven expertise with a family-like feel. That’s why we only hire helpful and fun contractors who tell you the truth and answer all your questions about kitchen remodeling in Michigan. To answer the most pressing one, we’ll explain below how to determine the appropriate size of a kitchen island for your kitchen space. 

The Right Dimensions

If your island is too small, you’ll have a lot of empty space in your kitchen, contributing to a displeasing aesthetic. Even if your island color and materials match the heart of your home, it will look misplaced in a bigger space. Similarly, if your island is too big, you may be constantly walking around it since the island floor space takes up most of the kitchen, impacting kitchen functionality. 

According to Forbes, never choose a standard kitchen island smaller than two feet by four feet (the recommended minimum) or larger than 10% of your kitchen. Height is usually more straightforward, with a traditional island countertop being around 36 inches tall, while a kitchen island with seating extends to 42 inches to fit chairs beneath them. 

However, 36 to 42 inches are also the magic numbers for the dimensions around the island. That’s the industry-recommended amount of space between the edges of your new countertop and surrounding walls, appliances, or other counters. 

The only exception is if you choose to incorporate seating as well, in which case you should add six inches to this range to maintain easy maneuverability when individuals pull the chairs out. These kitchen island dimensions ensure the following:

  • Individuals pass between objects with ease
  • Doors and drawers open without hitting other surfaces
  • Your island is not too far a walk from other kitchen areas

The Kitchen Triangle

Established in the 1940s, the kitchen triangle is a design that creates efficiency by evenly spacing out the three key kitchen features: the stove, refrigerator, and sink. By ensuring the distance between each is around the same, ranging no more than four to nine feet apart from one another, you’re allowing enough workspace around each station. You’re also ensuring there’s not too far a walk between them. 

When designing a kitchen island, it usually goes in the center of this triangle. But if the length or width extends into the legs of the triangle, this can affect your workflow. So, how big should a kitchen island be to prevent this? 

Once you uncover your triangle, ensure your island doesn’t cut into the legs by more than one foot. However, if your island will house one of these workstations, such as a stovetop range or sink, it may make up one point of your triangle instead. You can move your island further from these other triangle points, giving you enough space around each station without having one cross into another’s zone. 

Maximum Seating

Once you know how big your island should be and how far to distance it from other appliances, think about what you want to use it for. While some homeowners install an island to boost functionality by adding a sink and dish rack to it, others use it simply for aesthetics, adding a simple vase of flowers to perk up the room. However, if you plan to increase seating in your kitchen, consider your options wisely.

Each seated individual should have about 24 inches of counter space. For instance, if you have a smaller countertop of about four feet, you can only implement two chairs to the setup, but if you need more seating, consider a larger island while still keeping in mind your overall kitchen space. If you have a stove or sink on the island, allow 15 to 18 inches on one side of the island, respectively. 

Only the Best for Your Family!

Kitchen islands are a great investment if you install the right kind for your home, and at Cabinet Creations, we specialize in kitchen island ideas for small kitchens. So, when in doubt, contact us in Michigan for honesty and years of experience. Call our five-star team at (248) 618-3332, and we’ll answer questions like, “How big should a kitchen island be?” and more!

Kirk Richardson
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