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How Much Room is Needed for a Kitchen Island?

When I first saw the kitchen island, I knew it was perfect for me. It had plenty of storage space, and the granite countertop was just my style. I couldn’t wait to get it home and start cooking up a storm. But as soon as I got it home, I realized that there was one big problem. The island was too big for my small kitchen! There was no way to move it around or even fit it through the door.


Marble kitchen island


There’s no question that a kitchen island can add function and storage to your cooking space. But how much room do you need for one? And what are the best dimensions for your needs? Keep reading for tips on calculating the right size for your needs.

What is a Kitchen Island?

A kitchen island is a free-standing, typically rectangular preparation surface that is installed in the middle of a kitchen. It may include cabinets, drawers, and appliances, and is often used as a workstation for cooking or as a place to gather with family and friends.


Kitchen islands can be purchased ready-made from many home improvement stores, or they can be custom-built by a contractor. When deciding whether to install a kitchen island, it is important to consider the size of the kitchen, the needs of the family, and the available budget. With careful planning, a kitchen island can add both function and style to any cook’s space.

Common Kitchen Island Mistakes

A kitchen island can be a great addition to any home. Not only does it provide extra workspace, but it can also serve as a gathering place for family and friends. However, designing a kitchen island is not as simple as just throwing a piece of furniture in the middle of the room. An efficient kitchen island layout will help make sure that everything flows smoothly, whether you’re cooking a simple meal or entertaining a large group. However, there are a few common mistakes that people make when planning their kitchen island.


  • First, they forget to take into account the size of their kitchen. A kitchen island should be proportionate to the size of your kitchen, otherwise it will look out of place.
  • Second, many people forget to consider the functionality of their kitchen island. If you are going to use your kitchen island for food preparation, make sure that there is adequate counter space and that the sink is easily accessible. Choose an island with the right type of storage. If you plan on using it for food prep, look for an island with plenty of counter space and shelving or cabinets for storing pots, pans, and other cooking supplies. If you want to use it as a dining area, look for an island with comfortable seating and shelves or cabinets for storing dishes.
  • Another mistake is forgetting to allow for adequate circulation. When planning the layout of the kitchen, be sure to leave sufficient space around the island for people to move easily from one side of the room to the other.
  • Finally, make sure to properly illuminate your kitchen island. Under-cabinet lighting can help to create a warm, inviting atmosphere, while pendant lights can provide task lighting for food prep or dining.


By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your kitchen island will be both functional and stylish.

How Much Room is Needed for a Kitchen Island?

So, how much room is needed for a kitchen island? As a general rule, you will need at least 42 to 48 inches of clear space around the perimeter of the island. This will ensure that there is enough room for people to move around freely and that appliances and cabinets can be easily accessed.


Additionally, you will need to leave at least 18 inches of clearance between the island and any other existing cabinetry or countertops. If your kitchen is on the smaller side, you may need to adjust these measurements accordingly. your kitchen is less than 13 feet wide, we don’t recommend adding an island at all. Doing so would likely make your kitchen feel cramped and cluttered. Instead, we suggest focusing on other ways to maximize your space.


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Tips for Planning a Kitchen Island

Kitchen islands are a great way to add extra prep space, storage, and seating to your kitchen. But before you start shopping for an island, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

When it comes to kitchen islands, one size doesn’t fit all. That’s why it’s important to avoid buying ready made islands and instead measure your space. Not only will this ensure that the island fits perfectly in your kitchen, but it will also allow you to customize the island to your specific needs.


For example, if you have a large family, you might want to include an extra sink or more counter space. On the other hand, if you entertain frequently, you might want to add a built-in wine cooler or additional storage space. By taking the time to measure your space and consider your needs, you can create a kitchen island that is both functional and stylish.

Determine Your Clearance Zone

When planning a kitchen island, it is important to take into account the clearance zone. This is the area around the island where people will be moving about, and it needs to be free of obstacles. The size of the clearance zone will depend on how the island will be used.


Nelson Cabinetry White Shaker Kitchen Collection with Island, Wood Hood, and Wall Microwave Cabinet
Nelson Cabinetry White Shaker Kitchen Collection with Island, Wood Hood, and Wall Microwave Cabinet


For example, if you are planning to use the island for food preparation, you will need more space than if you are simply using it as a dining table. In general, a good rule of thumb is to allow for at least 36 inches of space on all sides of the island. This will give you plenty of room to move about without feeling cramped. By taking the time to determine your clearance zone, you can ensure that your kitchen island is both functional and comfortable.

Consider Safety

A kitchen island can be a great addition to any kitchen, providing extra counter space, storage, and a place to eat or socialize. However, it’s important to consider safety when planning a kitchen island, especially if you have kids. Make sure the island is big enough so that kids can’t climb on it and reach dangerous items like knives or hot stovetops.


Also, try to keep the island clear of sharp edges and fragile items. And if you’re planning on adding any electrical outlets to the island, be sure to consult with an electrician to ensure that they are installed correctly and are not a potential safety hazard. With a little bit of planning, you can create a kitchen island that is both stylish and safe.

Stay in Proportion

It’s important to stay in proportion when planning your island. If you have a small kitchen, a massive island will likely overwhelm the space. Conversely, a too-tiny island will get lost in a large kitchen.


You’ll also want to consider the needs of your family when planning your island. If you have young kids, be sure to leave plenty of room for them to sit and help with meal prep. And if you entertain often, you’ll want an island that provides ample room for appetizers and drinks. By taking the time to plan ahead, you can create an island that’s both beautiful and functional.

Consider a Kitchen Peninsula Instead

While a kitchen island can be a great addition to any kitchen, it’s not always the most practical choice. For smaller kitchens, a peninsula can provide all the same benefits as an island while taking up much less space. A peninsula also offers more flexibility when it comes to layout and design.


It can be placed against a wall or in the middle of the room, and it can be used to create additional storage or work areas. If you’re looking for a versatile and practical solution for your kitchen, consider a peninsula instead of an island. You might be surprised at how much difference it makes.

Visualize Your Kitchen Island Before Spending a Dime

Before you spend a dime on your kitchen island, it’s important to visualize what you want the final product to look like. That’s why Nelson Cabinetry offers a free 3D kitchen design service. With this service, you can see what your island will look like before any money changes hands.


Nelson Cabinetry Free 3D Kitchen Design
Nelson Cabinetry Free 3D Kitchen Design


This means that you can make sure that the island is the right size, shape, and style for your kitchen. And if you decide that you want to make changes, they can be made quickly and easily. So whether you’re planning a major remodeling project or just wants to update your kitchen island, Nelson Cabinetry’s 3D design service is a great place to start.

How to Build a Custom Kitchen Island Using RTA Cabinets


One of the best ways to create additional storage and counter space in your kitchen is to build a custom kitchen island. If you’re worried about not having the right skills or tools for the job, don’t be – by using RTA (ready-to-assemble) cabinets, anyone can create a beautiful and functional kitchen island. Here’s how:


  • Start by measuring the space where you want your island to go. Then, use those measurements to select the appropriate size cabinets from an RTA retailer.
  • Once you have your cabinets, it’s time to assemble them according to the instructions. This is usually a relatively simple process, but if you need help, there are plenty of online tutorials or you can ask someone at the store where you purchased your cabinets.
  • Once your cabinets are assembled, it’s time to install them in your kitchen. This step will require some basic carpentry skills, but again, there are plenty of online resources to help if you get stuck.
  • Once your cabinets are installed, it’s time to add any additional features or finishes that you desire – such as countertops, shelving, lighting, or trim work. These can all be added according to your personal preferences and what will work best in your kitchen space.


With just a few simple steps, you can easily create a beautiful and functional custom kitchen island using RTA cabinets!


Is it cheaper to buy or build a kitchen island?

One of the biggest expenses when building an island is the cost of cabinets. However, by opting for RTA (ready-to-assemble) cabinets, you can significantly reduce this cost. Many homeowners overestimate the cost of building a kitchen island and opt instead to purchase a pre-fabricated one. However, if you take the time to price out the materials and compare them to the cost of a ready-made island, you may be surprised to find that building your own is actually the cheaper option.

Are kitchen islands attached to the floor?

It depends. Some kitchen islands are freestanding, while others are built into the cabinetry. And still others are attached to the wall or ceiling. The type of kitchen island you choose will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you have a small kitchen, a freestanding island may be the best option. If you have a large kitchen, you may want to consider an island that is attached for added stability.

How far should a kitchen island be from the refrigerator?

Experts say that a kitchen island should be about 15 inches away from the refrigerator. This way, you can easily reach for what you need without having to worry about getting in the way. As any chef will tell you, a well-designed kitchen is all about efficiency. And one of the most important aspects of kitchen design is making sure that your workstations are properly spaced out.

Do kitchen islands increase home value?

A kitchen island can be a great addition to any home, and it can also increase the value of your home. Kitchen islands provide extra counter space and storage, which are both highly prized features in any kitchen. In addition, a kitchen island can create an inviting gathering place for family and friends.

What is the best size for an island kitchen?

At minimum, an island should be 4 feet long and a little more than 2 feet deep. This will give you enough space to prep meals and store food, as well as leave room for diners to sit comfortably. However, if you have the space, a larger island can be a real asset. It can provide additional storage, workspace, and room for guests to gathered.

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering adding an island to your kitchen, make sure you have enough room for it. Our guide has shown that you need at least 42 to 48 inches (106.68 cm to 121.92 cm) of open space around your island. Feel free to customize depending on your needs. With a little planning and some careful measurements, you can add this popular kitchen feature and make meal preparation easier than ever.

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Nelson Cabinetry

Nelson Cabinetry is an online distributor of high quality kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. We pride ourselves in delivering a high quality product via an easy to use, convenient website. Placing your cabinet order has never been easier and you can do so from the comfort of your home, office or job site.


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