How to Determine the Right Kitchen Island Size

kitchen island size
kitchen island size

A kitchen island is a fundamental part of most kitchen designs, and something many homeowners are eager to incorporate when remodeling the space. However, it's also an element that can present a lot of questions, especially around determining the proper size. If you're currently contemplating a kitchen island in your renovation, here are a few important factors to consider that will help you determine the right size.

Space Restrictions.

The size and layout of your kitchen will play a big role in determining how large your island will be.

Floor space. First and foremost, a kitchen island needs to be sized properly for the space it's in. That means determining proper clearance between the island and surrounding cabinets, appliances and furniture in order to make the island both safe and functional. In general, leaving about three feet of floor space surrounding a kitchen island will allow enough room for people to move around it and cabinet and appliance doors to open and close.

The work triangle. Besides leaving enough floor space between the island and surrounding surfaces, you'll also want to consider your work triangle (the positioning of your kitchen's three most important areas--the sink, range, and refrigerator to--one another) and whether or not the island will be a hinderance to easily accessing these points. If your island will be sitting in the middle of your work triangle, you might want to consider installing your prep sink or stovetop there so it becomes a part of your work zone.


Before deciding on kitchen island size, it's also important to have a clear idea of how you plan to use it. The most common purposes kitchen islands serve are for added storage, seating, and prep space.

Storage and appliances. If your kitchen is short on cabinetry or storage space, as island can be a great solution for added organization. To really reap the benefits, however, you'll want to make sure your island is long and deep enough for the kind of storage you need. Both standard kitchen appliances like dishwashers and ranges, and lower cabinetry drawers are 24" deep, so you'll want an island that offers at least that much depth for the most functionality. If your floorpan allows it, making the island up to a foot larger can create valuable storage space for oversized pots, pans and small appliances, as many cabinet manufacturers are now making cabinet drawers up to 36" deep. As far as length goes, the sizing is slightly more flexible and can be determined by considering the floor space and use of the island.

Seating. Do you plan to use your kitchen island as a breakfast bar or seating area, too? If so, you'll want to consider how many people you hope to seat there and the proper amount of room each person will need at the table. Kitchen designers generally recommend 24-26 inches of space for each diner around table or at a bar area, so if you're planning on seating your family of four, your island will ideally be upwards of eight feet long.

Counter space. Small kitchens often present the limited counter space for prep work, a problem an island can instantly solve. The good news is that if counter space is all you're after, even a small island can make a big difference so long as you don't plan to include a prep sink or stove top, too. Just be sure it works, function and safety-wise, with the allotted floor space in your kitchen design.

Renovating your kitchen? Get detailed answers to all of your kitchens with a consultation from Divine Design Build. Get in touch with us to set up your appointment, or stop by our showrooms in Wellesley or Boston.