Kitchen Island Layout Ideas – What To Consider When Integrating Your Dream Island



When it comes to kitchen island layout ideas, planning a plan is essential. Even if you’re dealing with a small space where you assume an island was a distant dream, planning your layout and thinking creatively might prove you wrong. Our attachment to kitchen islands goes beyond a practical and additional element to our cooking space. These spaces can become so much more – whether it’s reading the Sunday papers while the coffee seeps in or pouring a glass of wine after a long day, an essential kitchen island creates an instant heart of the home.

Kitchens have become the hub of the home over the past year or so and as our lives and habits have changed, the demands on how we need our kitchens have changed. Coveted kitchen island ideas can elevate an ordinary kitchen nook into something multifunctional, social, and essential. From extra storage to overhead lighting, take a look at our inspiring kitchen island layout ideas.

Kitchen island layout ideas

1. Incorporate a cooking system

A bright kitchen with a dramatic black island in the middle of the room

(Image credit: Bare Kitchens)

If you like to cook while entertaining, the islands that incorporate a hob ensure that space becomes central in the cooking process, just like the chef! This vibrant open-plan kitchen space from Naked Kitchens faces an adjacent lounge below. The unusual open plan setup demanded something extraordinary from a normal stationary island – elevating cooking space and beyond.

“We created a stunning open island in solid walnut and marble as a focal point,” says Jayne Everett, design director of Naked Kitchens. “Designed as a stand-alone piece of furniture, with the kitchen island function, all the power supplies for the hob are cleverly hidden. Walnut trestle legs support a very thick Marquina marble top. A work of art to admire.

2. Consider how the space will work around the island.

A bright green kitchen with an island in the middle of the room and bay windows overlooking the garden

(Image credit: Tom Howley)

There are emotions and nostalgia attached to this dream kitchen island. Slowly read the Sunday papers while the coffee is bubbling, flaunt schoolwork while eating a heartwarming dinner or pouring a glass of wine with friends and it’s easy to want to move forward with making that dream come true, but it is important to think about the space around it to be used and what reality will look like.

“Kitchens need to be as functional as they are beautiful, and sacrificing floor space to accommodate an island will just make it look awkward and uncomfortable,” says Tom Howley, design director for Tom Howley Kitchens. “The importance of passage space should be a key consideration. When designing your layout, always leave one meter of passage space on one or two sides of your countertop, island or peninsula counter. This is a functionally and aesthetically efficient dimension to keep in mind.

3. Incorporate a compact breakfast bar

A bright kitchen with critical doors opening onto a courtyard, a yellow island in the middle of the room

(Image credit: British Standard)

If you have a compact kitchen, slim breakfast bars are the perfect way to incorporate small kitchen island ideas into your space. We love this charming sunny yellow design from Plain English that incorporates tongue-and-groove yellow cabinets, eclectic accessories, and rustic bar stools – and the slim breakfast bar feels a natural part of all the elements rather than stand out as a statement island.

“Islands are typically used in conjunction with a series of L-shaped or single floor cabinets,” says Adrian Bergman, design manager at British Standard by Plain English. “In both cases, the island acts as a barrier between the chef and the guests while providing storage space and an extremely useful work surface. Islands can accommodate sinks or hobs, but for this to be practical, the island must be of sufficient size for the task and issues such as extraction must be taken into account. An alternative to a suitable full height island is a legwork table; it still has storage, but the space below and between the legs makes it lighter and less dominant in a smaller space. ‘

4. Generous and practical

A pale green kitchen with a tongue-and-groove wood island in the middle of the room

(Image credit: Loche Anna)

If you spend a lot of time socializing in the kitchen, one way to make sure there are elements that lend themselves to this goal is to set up a large kitchen island that people can gather around to cook, eat. and discuss.

“A breakfast island or bar can serve as both a storage area and a dining area. Says Sinead Trainor, Category Manager Kitchen at LochAnna Kitchens. While at first glance an iconic design element has been created for the home, the cupboards that fit under the island are also a useful place to store pots, pans or food. Larger breakfast islands or bars also mean that a hob or sink can also be installed, again using every inch of surface space. The current trend is to finish the ends of the countertop down to the floor like an envelope with seats on one side. ‘

5. Go for a mobile island in a small space

A vintage-inspired kitchen with pale green cabinets and a mobile island in the middle of the room

(Image credit: Devol)

This deliciously small kitchen and scullery is a bit nostalgic and features a freestanding island that lends a laid-back feel to the room. The kitchen furniture is painted and laid out in a modest way with not too many cupboards and a small butcher’s block table in the middle which allows for flexibility of arrangement in the small space.

“Group your tall cabinets together at the end of a run for a simple look,” says Helen Parker, Creative Director at deVOL. If your kitchen is large, you can add an island or prep table. This will create an office-style workspace parallel to the main runway, as well as a place for people to sit and participate in the action. A table works just as well or even a small butcher’s block. ‘

6. Plan the layout with Storage in Mind

A bright kitchen with an island in the middle of the room

(Image credit: Anna Stathkis)

Kitchen Islands are a perennial favorite, but even more in demand are the Islands that work hard to incorporate all the added elements of multifunctional living. This island is a beautiful piece of furniture and houses storage oars underneath as well as open shelves for displaying books and glassware – also deploying as a display case.

“At the planning stage, try to make your island as big as possible in your kitchen,” says Sam Hart, designer at Roundhouse Kitchens. “If he’s too medium in height, you won’t get the benefits he brings. It will become a focal point and you will need enough space around for people to sit and socialize. If you integrate a sink and a hob, the cook can be the center of things rather than hidden from the action. ‘

“Make sure it has enough built-in storage, good extraction and a sturdy work surface for food preparation. If you have a large open space, an island is ideal for zoning it out and creating a natural barrier between kitchen / living / dining areas. Another big advantage in an open plan space is that an island can be designed to look more like a piece of furniture.

7. Think about the ceiling when planning

A dark blue kitchen with display cases and lighting hanging from the ceiling

Photograph by Anna Stathkis

(Image credit: Bare Kitchens)

Ideally, a kitchen island would intelligently sit in the middle of a space uncluttered by the areas around it – but often times the architectural design of the existing space requires a little workaround and how to incorporate features. Kitchen island lighting ideas require some consideration.

“In our Heathwood Gardens project, you will see in the image that there is a wonderful large skylight on the right side of the island,” says Jayne Everett, design director of Naked Kitchens. “This meant that the right side of the room was glowing with natural light, so it didn’t really need extra lighting. Also, because of that large skylight, it meant the best place for the lights was on the left due to the shape of the ceiling. The left side would have been rather dark without the lighting so it was the best and best place to sit.

Mid-Century Inspired Kitchen with Peach Kitchen Island and Curved Stairwell

(Image credit: Pluck)

Making the most of the space you have and maximizing your layout is essential at the best of times and especially when you have a small kitchen. This pretty Mid-Century style basement kitchen from Pluck Kitchens maximizes island configuration by incorporating a ledge that protrudes from the main island and becomes storage space for sliding seats off your kitchen island. It also creates a perfect perch for checking emails and sipping morning coffee.

Where to place an island in a kitchen?

Kitchen islands must be positioned according to their use. The meal and cooking islands should be placed in the middle of the cooking zone. Islands that need electricity should be placed near outlets. While an island designed for cleaning should be located near the dishwasher and garbage cans.

Kitchen with tongue and groove cabinets in various colors

(Image credit: Loche Anna)

How far should the kitchen island be from the cabinets?

A space of 42 inches is recommended between islands and cabinets or appliances. If you’re sharing kitchen chores with a family member or roommate, you might want to leave 48 inches instead.



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