Kitchen Islands

The most frequently requested element in new kitchen designs!

We get asked a lot about kitchen islands, most people would like one after all it creates a focal point for the kitchen and often has an attraction that draws one into it. However, most people fail to consider the following 7 essentials when it comes to designing a kitchen island.

  1. Do you have enough space for a kitchen island?

This is the first stumbling block for most. For an island to look in proportion and to make it a worthwhile usable space, the general rule is that it needs to be at least 900mm deep. Access around the island depends a lot on where it is situated in terms of flow (is it a major walkway or not) but once again as a general rule allow about 1000mm clear space around all sides. Put some 600mm base units along the adjacent and you are looking at a bare minimum of 3,5m width necessary in the kitchen. Of course if you add another run of base units down the opposite wall this increases to around 4m wide.

Island Dimensions 4m


  1. What do you want to use the island for – what is it’s purpose?

Assuming you have satisfied point #1 above and you have the space for an island the next thing to get clear is how you want to use your island. Is it for preparation of food or more a social space with a breakfast bar style seating so you can chat while cooking. It may seem like an odd question but it is one you should give some thought to before moving on to points 3 and 4! Get this clear in your mind and it helps make other choices easier


  1. Do you have your hob on the kitchen island?

There are 2 schools of thought here. Some are adamant the cooking will be done on the island so that they are facing the open room or perhaps the view out the newly installed bi-fold doors. Others are dead against the idea but here are a couple of considerations which need to be addressed when deciding:

  • The area immediately around the hob will get the unavoidable spills and splashes whilst cooking. How do you overcome this..
  • Saftey – your island will need to be large enough that the hob is clear from any edges where they could pose a danger especially to young kids.


  1. Extraction for the island

If you decide to have your hob on the island the next thing to consider it the extraction. Island extractors hanging down over the hob can block the view that so many are trying to exploit. Getting a decorative chandelier style extractor can improve the look or perhaps you would prefer an extractor integrated into the ceiling space or perhaps a downdraft extractor fitted into the worktop? Each of these solutions have limitations which need addressing


  1. Do you have a food preparation sink on your island?

A small sink to clean vegetables, wash hands and perhaps have a boiling water tap can be a useful addition. Is it easy to plumb in and where will the waste pipe run to? The last thing you want is to have a noisy masserator turning on every time you use the sink.


  1. What shape will your kitchen island be?

This is where the fun begins! Do you want a rectangular island or whether you would like to add some shape to it. Depending on the choice of worktop as a general rule it is possible to get around a 300mm overhang on the supporting cabinets. Curves can be introduced to add interest and help with the flow in the room. This needs to be thought about in conjunction with item #7


  1. What choice of worktop material will you use?

A popular choice is to have a different but complimentary worktop on your island to the worktop in the rest of your kitchen. Some of the options available are wooden, granite, quartz, solid surface, glass or perhaps a combination of these.  If you have a particularly large island in mind then it is useful to bear in mind some of these materials have maximum sizes and do not join well. Granite slabs for instance tend to be 1,4m wide x 3m long. This is normally large enough for most kitchen islands until you want overhangs for seating. Wooden tops can generally be made to suit any shape paying attention to grain direction when trying to introduce curves and shapes.