How to Design a Kitchen Island

Posted by KraftMaid on 3rd Sep 2021


Literally and figuratively, a kitchen island becomes the central element in any kitchen that features one. Start with these tips and ideas on how to design a kitchen island that you’ll love.


KraftMaid Two-Tone Kitchen Cabinets and Island

1. MAKE SURE YOU’VE GOT ROOM FOR A KITCHEN ISLAND

People often wonder how much space you need for a kitchen island in your home. For a kitchen island to be functional, you need to have comfortable traffic flow and enough room to access lower cabinets. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recommends a minimum of 42" of aisle space between kitchen island and perimeter cabinet countertops, and 36" of walkway between an island and any wall. (If your kitchen won’t accommodate that, consider a peninsula design instead.)


KraftMaid New Traditional Kitchen Designs With Islands

2. CONSIDER PROPORTIONS

Dreaming of a large island dining table? Got enough room for an island with seating for four? Is a narrow island OK? Proportion is key to creating a usable design. Designers agree that the minimum size for a built-in kitchen island is 24" across and 48" long. More often than not, bigger is better – especially if you want to include a sink, cooktop or seating at your island. If you’re squeezed on space, you might be limited with how many ways you can use your island.


KraftMaid Mid-Century Modern Kitchen Island with Seating

3. THINK OUTSIDE OF THE RECTANGLE

There’s no rule that says a kitchen island has to be rectangular. If a different shape works better for you, design a rounded, L-shaped or even T-shaped kitchen island with a dining table extending out from the center of the public side.


KraftMaid Living Spaces Kitchen Island

4. DETERMINE WHY YOU WANT ONE

Dreaming of more meal prep space? Love the idea of having a spot to socialize and entertain? Want a convenient place to serve the kids a quick breakfast before school? How you plan to use your kitchen island should drive the design. Like these ideas:

For chefs:

For entertainers:

  • A counter overhang for seating – 12" for bar-height counters, 15" for standard
  • Under-counter beverage refrigerator
  • Integrated wine storage to keep your favorite bottles close at hand
  • Plenty of electrical outlets for blenders, warming trays, etc.

For busy families:


KraftMaid Large Kitchen Island with Seating for Three

5. GET CREATIVE

Once you’ve got the basic size, shape and position of your kitchen island down, think about how you want it to look. Use furniture legs to give it a freestanding look. Pick a  contrasting finish and hang eye-catching pendant lighting to make it the focal point of your room. Feature a different countertop material than you’re using on your perimeter cabinets. Ask your designer about other creative kitchen island ideas. With an island, you’re free to have fun or make it a matching extension of the rest of your kitchen.