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Why You Should Add a Kitchen Island to Your Design

If you are planning a kitchen remodel, consider opting for a kitchen island in your design. Kitchen islands can provide invaluable workspace and kitchen storage, and adding a kitchen island to your kitchen design can also help you elevate your kitchen’s style. 

A kitchen island provides a central point for your kitchen, a place where people can gather and enjoy a meal and fellowship. You might be thinking that you will need a larger kitchen to accommodate a new island, but that is not always the case. There are a lot of creative ways to introduce a kitchen island into smaller kitchens that we will look at below. 

In this article, we are going to share with you some of the reasons why you should consider adding a kitchen island to your design.

average cost of a kitchen island

According to the home improvement site ThisOldHouse, the average cost of a kitchen island can range from as little as $200 to as much as $5,000 or more. You may be shocked by how wide this range is, but when you consider all the costs that are required for a large, built-in island that may have appliances, it starts to make sense. 

 And so, the amount of space you have available and your desired size for your new kitchen island will largely determine your budget. 

small kitchen islands 

In smaller kitchens, an island may sound great, but where will it go? Fortunately, there are a lot of options. A rolling bar cart can be a lifesaver in a small space, as it can be used for both storage space and countertop space, but it can be easily moved when the work is finished. Finding a smaller dining table could also be a great substitute if you do not have a lot of space.

A kitchen with a kitchen island

Another tip for those with smaller kitchens is to look for ways to incorporate vertical storage. Since space is at a premium, things like wall cabinets, hanging baskets, and shelving can be invaluable for making sure your kitchen is both comfortable and functional. 

large kitchen islands

Having a larger kitchen opens up a lot of opportunities for your design. There are a wide variety of options available today, and so you will need to determine your budget and plan for the island. While a kitchen island cart is still possible in larger spaces, most will opt for a more traditional kitchen island. 

To get started on your design, think about how you want to use your new island. A larger table with a butcher block can make a great work surface if that is what your kitchen needs. Or, if storage and organization are what you need, there are kitchen islands with open shelves and cabinets that can hold all your cooking essentials. 

Alternately, a large built-in island can be used as a breakfast bar or general place for people to gather. If you have the budget, some islands actually combine an eating space on one side, and a cooking area on the other, which may include kitchen appliances. 

benefits of a kitchen island

A kitchen with bright white cabinets and a kitchen island.

As alluded to above, there are a lot of benefits to adding an island to your kitchen design. The biggest benefit in kitchens of all sizes is the added storage space. In addition to storage, a new island can also help anchor your kitchen style, and most importantly, provide a place for people to gather. 

In fact, The Huffpost reports that making and sharing meals with others is beneficial to both our mental health and happiness. According to Julie Thomson, this is because cooking with and for others is an altruistic act, which actually helps us feel more connected to the people around us. Plus, it is always great to put the screens away, slow down, and create something tasty. 

kitchen style

In addition to the benefits of fellowship, a kitchen island can also be a great way to amplify your kitchen’s style. In larger kitchens, your design choices can get lost in all the space. And so, you can use your new island as a type of display to highlight the features of your kitchen design. Whether it is continuing the trim onto the island, or displaying the cookbooks that influence your culinary style, a kitchen island is a great place to inject your unique style. 

kitchen storage

Kitchen storage is something that you can never have enough of, and when we really are hurting for space, it can take away from the functionality of the space. And so, whether you have a large or small kitchen, a new island can provide invaluable storage solutions. 

In small spaces, many of the rolling carts mentioned above have hooks and bars, so that you can hang things like pans and skillets on the sides. In some cases, a small table can be modified to have a shelf below the tabletop. This would create a great space to store things like cutting boards so that they would be easily accessible during your prep work.

A large kitchen with a kitchen island

In larger kitchens, there are several ways an island can help with storage. Many new islands are configured so that smaller appliances like microwaves are able to fit right in. This can help open up more countertop space, which if it is kept clean and clear, will make the room feel a bit more open. 

considerations for adding a kitchen island

When it comes to adding a kitchen island into your design, there are two things you need to consider: functionality and accessibility. While these are two concerns are no doubt related, it can be helpful to think about them separately to fully understand how they influence your kitchen design. 

required clearances and accessibility

The goal of adding your kitchen island is to improve the functionality of your kitchen. And so, you will need to ensure that you have enough clearance space to make your island usable and accessible. 

You should aim for a universal design that takes into account the needs of people who may have disabilities. For example, It is recommended that you keep the “aisles” around 48” wide so that people who use wheelchairs can easily access the space. You will also need to ensure that if your island is nearby the oven, that the oven has plenty of room to open, which should be around 40”.

Be sure to double-check all your measurements before you install the island so that you do not end up with an overcrowded, unusable space. 

work triangle

Once you have made sure you have the space for an accessible and functional island, you will need to add it to your kitchen design. The work triangle is a concept that was developed in the early part of the 20th century. The goal of this design method is to reduce the number of steps the chef needs to take in order to complete the meal. 

Take a moment to think about how you typically use your kitchen. It may be helpful to sketch out a few ideas of how you could configure your island. Ideally, you would want the three points of the triangle to line up with the appliances used at each station. 

And so, your prep station will likely be near your food storage, so that you can easily gather ingredients. Where your new kitchen island goes will depend on the type of island you choose and its place in the work triangle. 

final thoughts

A large kitchen with traditional cabinets and a kitchen island.

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to add a kitchen island to your kitchen design. From added storage to a place to gather, a new island can help you elevate the comfort and usability of the space. If you are wanting to add a kitchen island to your kitchen, then the first step is to start measuring. If you are looking for kitchen island ideas, check out Architectural Digest’s great article on the topic

If you are ready to get started, you can give us a call at 1-855-6609, an email at, or fill out our design request form. Our seasoned designers are ready to work hard for you!


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