Navigating to your kitchen island getaway!

Navigating to your kitchen island getaway!

Navigating to your kitchen island getaway!

Navigating to your kitchen island getaway!

Chances are, your kitchen island will serve many functions, including food prep, cocktail mixing, meals, and homework. As such, it should be designed for how you and your family really live.

In an open floor plan, so popular these days, islands also play an important role as a transition between food prep and social areas. They allow the host or hostess to work in the kitchen and not miss out as friends and family enjoy a glass of wine. They also serve as a chef’s table of sorts – a fun place to host a casual dinner party!

Size and shape

Size and shape depends on the size and layout of your kitchen, and your personal preferences. An island might be as small as 24 inches wide (the size of a standard cabinet), or as large as the deck of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier (not really, but they can be pretty big!).

Consider also the size of your family, or how many friends you plan to entertain. For seating, allow about two feet per person, and make sure there’s enough legroom. As a rule of thumb, you’ll need at least three or four feet of space around the island to allow people to move about easily, and don’t make the island so big that it interferes with traffic in the “triangle” between the refrigerator, cooktop and sink.

Materials and design

Once you’ve thought about how you’d like to use your island, you’ll need to consider materials, color and design elements, and what appliances you want in the island. In addition, think about if you want it to be flat or two-tiered. Two-tier islands can be useful in separating the countertop from a cooking and food prep area, but most people prefer the simplicity of one flat surface.

The island doesn’t have to match the rest of your kitchen, but it does have to complement it. For example, it might resemble a French farmhouse table, or a chef’s butcher block... and the work surface can be other than what’s on your kitchen counters. Consider how you will use it, then choose from marble, granite, butcherblock, or even stainless steel.


The island is great place to locate appliances and to store pots and pans and large serving platters. Ideas to consider: some people place a cooktop or sink in the island. Be advised, there can be costly plumbing when installing a sink, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it. Other appliances can easily be tucked below the island countertop, freeing up other areas of the kitchen for storage. It’s not unusual to find a wine refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave or garbage compactor in an island. And speaking of appliances, don’t forget to tuck away some electrical outlets in the island. They come in handy for using the blender and charging cellphones.