When A Kitchen Island Doesn't Work

In the remodeling world, kitchen islands are at the top of everyone's must have list. But when an island is not the best option for your space, or you're looking to try another layout in your kitchen, what options do you have? The biggest reason to opt out of a kitchen island is when you are working with a particular small kitchen space. An island can get in the way of your precious square footage, and may not be the most practical storage & countertop route.

Or perhaps your particular needs don't call for a kitchen island, but call for more counter & cabinet space. Consulting with a architect and design team to see what options are best for you is a great option; you'll be surprised at the great non-kitchen island options out there!

Here we break down a few ways to remodel your kitchen on various scales & what strengths we see when you don't incorporate a kitchen island in your new kitchen design. We are of course playing both sides, as we love a functional and beautifully placed kitchen island as well, so see what style works for you and go from there!



A peninsula is essentially a kitchen island that is connected to a wall or cabinetry unit. The installation or reconfiguring of a peninsula can be found most commonly in smaller kitchens where a kitchen island would simply take up too much counter space. Another great opportunity to use a peninsula is when you initially have three walls enclosing your kitchen & you want to do something to open up the space and modify one of the walls. Replacing one of your walls with countertops & extended cabinetry will open up your floor plan significantly & will offer more storage, seating & entertaining opportunities.

Peninsulas offer a plethora of utility; they can be configured to add considerable storage to your home for cookware & dish ware, to baking accessories & odds and ends. Countertops give way for more food preparation, a potential office space & dining.

Food preparation can have a dedicated space on your peninsula with a built in cutting board & easy access to a garbage. Store your flour, sugar & other frequently used baking and cooking items in fun containers where they can be at your fingertips whenever you need them!


Transforming part of a peninsula into a desk or office space is a wonderful way to make the most out of the space--add a computer, drawers & a chair for a workable area for any member of the family within distance of the kitchen. In an extra small space, combine your dining and office space into one, with a laptop or tablet!

A natural job of a peninsula is providing dining space. This can be done with a single chair to multiple seating around the peninsula. It is more traditional to have the seating facing into the kitchen, and will provide a cozy place for kiddos to do their homework, have a casual meal with a friend or sit with a glass of wine with friends in the kitchen. Adequate leg room should be considered when fitting a peninsula for seating & picking out sensible chairs is a must--bar stools can be upgraded for pedestal chairs or raised seating. Whatever route you go, make sure the chairs are the perfect height to create a natural resting point for your body in comparison to the peninsula.

Taking the functionality of your peninsula a step farther is an option and can be done by adding a refrigerator, stove or sink. This will create a flowing work space in your kitchen that will be noticeable for both you and your family.


Galley & One Wall Kitchens

One wall kitchens are a very simple design and can be seen in condos, apartments & smaller home kitchens. In instances like this, a dining room table may be the only additional furniture piece that can be put into the kitchen space & a kitchen island might be too bulky of an add.

Galley kitchens, or walk-through kitchens, are kitchens where all cabinetry and appliances are on two walls with a walkway between them. This style of kitchen was quite common in mass produced homes because they were easy to design and offered maximum space vs. functionality. For top performance, the aisle in a galley kitchen should be 4 to 6 feet wide, with the range on one side & the refrigerator on the other. Traditional kitchen islands don't have a home in spaces like this as it physically doesn't make sense.

When remodeling your home, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of having a kitchen island---consider all your options and make the most sound decision!