my Old Workshop

Plan a kitchen island (Part I)

A kitchen island is a great way to add storage and counter space to your kitchen without cutting into valuable wall space for appliances, tables and other things. Plus, you can put the counter wherever you want it; you’re not restricted by the wall layout.

Islands can also house appliances you don’t have room for elsewhere, provide a focal point for the kitchen, and allow guests into the space while keeping them out of the cook’s way.

And an island gives you the opportunity to add additional storage space above it. A pot hanger, wine glass rack, or even suspended cupboards can be added where otherwise they’d look decidedly strange without a counter below them.

A caution first. When you’re considering an island, analyze the traffic patterns in the kitchen. If you have a number of entrances into the room, an island may just get in the way.

When determining the size of the island, keep a few things in mind. If it’s to be used as a counter prep area, leave at least a 1″ overhang for sweeping off crumbs. If it’s to be an eating counter, you’re going to need more of an overhang to allow for comfortable seating. You’ll also want to leave about 3′ behind the chairs or stools to allow enough room to pull the chairs back.

How far should your island be from other counters? Forty-two inches is enough, but if you can afford more space, all the better. If you have a stove or a dishwasher opposite the island, leave at least 48″ to let you open the doors and stand in front of the appliance. Plan so that appliance doors don’t open into each other; don’t put an oven opposite a dishwasher, for example.

Next, more island design tips.