Kitchen Islands: Sizing, Seating, Lighting and All the Extras!

graphic showing different sizes of kitchen island

Kitchen islands are a unique element that has changed the way we use our kitchens. Today, we’re using them as an extra meal prep station, eating area, additional storage, as a serving area and as the homework/ workspace spot. With all the open floor plans, our kitchens have also become a gathering spot while entertaining. The kitchen island is now the hub of the home. It also can enhance the overall aesthetic for our kitchen when it’s laid out properly.

A kitchen island has so many functions that it can be used for, but due to space constraints we typically hone in on two or three uses that are most important for our needs. Will you primarily use it for: Storage? Prepping? Cooking? A casual dining space? Below are some ideas that may help you build the perfect island that suits your lifestyle

Depth, Dimension & Sizing

If you’re anything like me a large island is very appealing, but for all practical purposes your island shouldn’t be more than 10% of your kitchen’s total square footage.

The standard depth for a kitchen island is typically 24-36 inches, but if your island will include appliances or a sink, a depth of 36-42 inches may be more appropriate.

When determining the height of your island, it’s best to match your kitchen countertops (36” is standard) for a better flow. In an effort to accommodate access to your appliances and movement throughout your kitchen, you will need proper clearance (minimum of 42 inches) between your island, walls and surrounding countertops.

Overhang

If you’re planning to include seating in your island, a proper overhang to accommodate for legroom should be between 12- 18 inches from the edge of the countertop to the outer edge of the seating area.

Seating

For ample spacing and movement of each seat, a minimum of 24 inches width per seat is needed. Your stool or chair should be a depth of 18-24 inches and 28-32 inches from the seat cushion to the floor (for countertop height).

Lighting

Your fixtures should be centered above with approximately 30-36 inches between the bottom of the light fixture and the countertop. Plan for at least 12 inches between the fixture and the end of the island and 26- 30 inches between each fixture. Keep in mind the primary role of the island fixtures is to provide task lighting above your workspace.

Additional Island Features to Consider

There are many features that can be integrated into your island including appliances. Before you purchase your appliances, you should consult with your interior designer to ensure your layout maximizes functionality and aesthetics. Below are some popular options that can be included in your kitchen island.

  • Appliance Garage
  • Cabinets
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge or Beverage Cooler
  • Ice Maker • Microwave
  • Sink
  • Stove & Hood Vent
  • Trash & Recycle Bins

Sometimes the best island ideas can end up being a mistake if they aren’t planned out properly. Some of the most common mistakes are:

  • Obstructing the Workflow
  • Forgetting About Plumbing
  • Lack of proper electricity outlets in Island
  • Inadequate Space for Appliances
  • Inappropriate Island Size for Kitchen
  • Poor Lighting
  • Too Many Seats Crammed into the Space

Your island should blend seamlessly into your kitchen and shouldn’t overwhelm the space. Hiring a professional interior designer will help ensure you get years of use and enjoyment out of your kitchen island.

Your island should blend seamlessly into your kitchen and shouldn’t overwhelm the space. Hiring a professional interior designer will help ensure you get years of use and enjoyment out of your kitchen island.

Ready for a new island? Got questions? Contact Coastal Design by Kim to schedule your appointment today at (850) 904- 6622.