How Wide Should A Kitchen Island Be?

How Wide Should A Kitchen Island Be

In this post, I will be discussing about how wide should a kitchen island be so read on..

Kitchens are an expensive investment. They’re also the heart of any home. A kitchen is where you cook, eat, socialize and entertain guests. It often doubles as a workspace or study area for those who live in small homes with limited square footage.

That means it needs to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing if you want to use it every day without feeling like you’re living in a cramped box.

So how wide should your island be?

The answer depends on what kind of space you have available and what function the island will serve: not just serving as a place for food prep but also storage and seating areas too.

If your kitchen isn’t large enough to accommodate all three functions then keep in mind that you can choose a smaller island with just one purpose.

The size of the kitchen often determines the value given to an island. The larger and more open the space, the more likely people are to spend time there and make it their home away from home: adding amenities like a dining table or bar for entertaining.

If your kitchen is on the small side but wide enough for an island then try not to create islands within islands; instead keep everything central and add plenty of countertop (or add shelves). Make sure all appliances such as ovens, stovetops and microwaves are centrally located.

Stay streamlined by working with cabinets that have doors rather than drawers; they take up far less room opened fully, allowing you to use the full surface area.

Plenty of storage is the key to creating an island if your kitchen isn’t very wide or long at all; this can be done by adding large drawers underneath the countertop, for example. If you do have space for multiple appliances then angle them away from the center where there will be more traffic between cabinets and appliance openings rather than directly in front of each other when opened.

Consider how much daylight enters into your home when deciding whether or not to add windows or skylights, both of which can provide extra light that reflects back onto the island so it doesn’t appear too dark in appearance – even in kitchens with darker walls and flooring surfaces. Windows also serve as ventilation during hot summer months and prevent the room from feeling cramped.

Moving on to materials, one of the most common island materials in kitchens is stainless steel. It’s both durable and affordable with a long lifespan making it an ideal choice for busy households. For homes where color plays an important role, choosing an island countertop that contrasts with your cabinetry can liven up any kitchen space while adding contrast.

And don’t forget about lighting! The right recessed or pendant lights can act as task or accent lighting depending on fixture placement. Lateral lights are usually placed below cabinets over counters to provide indirect light when needed whereas downlights are used for general illumination when cooking or entertaining friends and family above the island area.

The last things to consider are cleaning and maintenance. Stainless steel is one of the easiest materials to clean because it’s non-porous and doesn’t need to be resealed, which means not having to seal the surface every few years. Plus it resists water stains and discoloration so you can use stainless steel appliances without worrying about color transfer between them and your countertops.

It also doesn’t require much attention in terms of applying finish; simply lubricate the surface with a silicone spray once in a while when needed – this helps prevent fingerprints from forming during cleanup.

Therefore when considering size take into account everything that might reside on your island: including food prep, storage, seating and dining areas (if any). Drawers and cabinets should provide easy access to items you need most during meal preparation, not necessarily every single item.

Depending on your lifestyle and how much time is spent in the kitchen you can also consider adding a sink or under-cabinet beverage fridge for entertaining purposes.

Keep these appliances within arm’s reach of seating areas if possible while still remaining aesthetically pleasing; avoid obstructing views of open cabinetry with handles that stick out too far which will make the space feel very crowded.

Finally, choose lighting that works according to use: accent lighting for mood/accentuation above island counters, downlights for general illumination when cooking or area lighting at night time when you are likely to use your island more often (food prep, entertaining etc.).

How Wide Should A Kitchen Island Be

How Wide Should A Kitchen Island Be?

Standard worktops are around 24 inches deep although this width can vary depending on manufacturer and style of worktop, so always check before making a final decision unless you have decided to have an overhang with your island which adds extra width at both ends.

A normal run of cabinets between wall and island would be around 42 inches deep (again this can vary) and worktops should be at least as wide as the cabinets.

Anywhere between 36-42″ (including overhang width) is a common island size – just remember that if you go smaller than 36″, then you’ll probably need an appliance garage .

Also see how to plan for dishwasher drawers and disposal in your island design, or perhaps consider expanding into larger kitchen layouts with greater flexibility which allows more room for added appliances and storage.

What is the average width of a kitchen island?

Ergonomics and functionality should be the primary considerations when designing your kitchen island with counter height being one of the most important factors.  If you’d like to have a typical 36″ high bar stool height island then your overall counter height will need to be around 39 ½” tall which is typical for most homeowners with standard 8 foot ceilings.

If you are opting for taller stools or want more legroom in this area then consider adding 3 ¾” inches to the total countertop height required in order to cover any additional overhead space needed when stools are open against an upper cabinet back splash/wall. Your island wood surface would therefore need to be 42 ½” high (39 ½” + 3 ¾”) to accommodate this.

Here’s an example of a kitchen with the island positioned in front of stove for general food prep/cooking within reach of overhead recessed lighting. The wood counter space is large enough to accommodate two bar stools, but not three because it’s more aesthetically pleasing if there is some open space on the end without stools between the island and adjacent wall cabinetry.

This can be solved by adding different types of seating towards one side or creating window banquette seating; essentially creating two distinct zones with no overlapping furniture at all.

If you are looking to create additional seating with chairs, then opt for lower backless bar height upholstered seating (24″ tall) in order to allow sufficient leg room when seated.

Also, consider adding a breakfast table area on one side of the island if space permits. Keep a variety of lighting options within reach depending on how you use your kitchen island – accent lights for mood/accentuation or downlights for general illumination during food prep and meal time etc.

How do I measure my Kitchen?


Measure from cabinet face fronts to farthest corner of cabinet side where it meets adjacent cabinet back splash/wall.


Draw a simple sketch of your planned layout including windows, doors, plumbing features etc. and measure the combined width of island – worktop – wall cabinets/pantry/appliance garage. If your measurements are more than 36″ wide then you might need to consider a kitchen layout design with more flexibility for appliances and storage.


To get a standard 37″ high counter top total height add 3 ¾” inches to overhead space needed when stools are open against upper cabinet back splash/wall. For example if you have overhead 9 foot ceilings then your new countertop height would be 42 ½” including that additional 3 ¾”.

How do I choose Kitchen Island STYLE?

STYLE is determined by how it fits in with style of home architecture & decor, whether it’s matchy-match or more ‘artistic’ and unique. Your island style needs to reflect the rest of the kitchen including cabinetry, color scheme, flooring etc.

Island STYLE can also be chosen for how you use your kitchen – do you have young child/children? Do you entertain frequently? How are your appliances configured in your main working area?

Finally consider adjacent living areas – if separate dining is not used then you might want to think about creating a breakfast nook which is focused around an island design in order to maximize available space in open plan living areas with multiple seating possibilities.

Kitchen Island LAYOUTS

Traditional: have plenty of storage space on either side of kitchen worktops making them a convenient place to store food and cookware.

Continuous: extend from one end of the kitchen disappearing around the designated island giving it a disappearing/floating look transitioning seamlessly into adjacent living areas.

U-Shaped: encloses multiple counters with smaller appliances often for entertaining – consider adding a breakfast table area to one side if space permits or opting for bar height seating instead of chairs. This allows separation between cooking and washing up zones as well as meal time & relaxation zones.

Square/Rectangular: these islands can be two different spaces depending on how they are used – cooking tasks on one side with dining on the other, or an open plan worktop/breakfast table configuration providing greater flexibility when not just cooking but socializing too.

Bartop: if you like the look of a bar but don’t have that extra room then why not consider an island bartop which can be used for food preparation and drinks, with stools tucked away underneath when not in use?

Make sure your island design fits into your kitchen configuration (remember to allow space around it) maximizes functionality including storage and utility features as well as maximizes its looks.

References : The Best Kitchen Island Size

Noah Burns

I am Noah Burns- The Guy behind I love to experiment and test new products to create informative contents for readers like you. I aim to make this site a leading source of information and reviews to help consumers make more informed buying decisions.

Recent Posts