Editorial Updates

Kitchen Island Pros and Cons: Should You Go for One?

Whether you’re planning for an L-shaped kitchen or a single wall kitchen layout, a kitchen island can definitely help improve your workflow.

According to the Houzz Kitchen Study, 2018, nearly 39% of the homeowners surveyed had incorporated an island in their kitchen remodeling project.

Kitchen islands come in different shapes and sizes — however, you want to know how a kitchen island fits into your lifestyle, preferences and the available layout. Just because it’s a kitchen design trend doesn’t mean that you should follow it.

So, how do you decide if a kitchen island is right for you?

Consider the following points before you want to install a kitchens island?

Kitchen Island Layout Guidelines

The prerequisite of adding an island to your kitchen is “enough room” which can be subjective. Even small kitchens can accommodate an island as long as they follow the kitchen layout best practices. However, to take the ambiguity out of the equation, remember the following guidelines laid down by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA).

#1 – Clearance for Walkway: You should have at least 42” of clearance on each side of your kitchen island for a walkway.

#2 – Minimum Clearance: The minimum distance for the clearance zone is 3 feet or 36”, which should be used as a walkway rather than a “work aisle”.

The minimum distance for the clearance zone is 3 feet or 36”, which should be used as a walkway rather than a “work aisle”.

#3 – Ideal Kitchen Dimension: Considering the clearance zone, walkway and work aisle, ideally, a kitchen should be at least 12.5’ x 13’ wall to wall, in order to accommodate cabinets on each wall, a walkway on each side and a kitchen island with standard depth.

Recommended Reading: Kitchen Island for Small Kitchen: How Much Room Do You Need?

Pros of Kitchen Island: From creating extra counter space to adding more storage, a kitchen island brings a lot of benefits “to the table”.

#1 – Extra Counter Space: An island essentially plays two major roles in your kitchen — add extra counter space and amplify the visual aesthetics. From being a convenient landing space for hot dishes to spot for baking, a kitchen island plays various roles. Moreover, when you have a single wall kitchen, an island provides a great spot to prep your meal.

#2 – Additional Storage: Apart from extra counter space, an island also provides quick storage space under the counter. Tuck away your frequently used items when they are not in use and you get a clutter-free kitchen right there.

#3 – Added Seating: A kitchen island can also double up as a breakfast bar when you add a few stools. However, in case you do use it as a breakfast bar, NKBA recommends that walkway should be at least 44” rather than the standard 42” or 36” as explained earlier.

A kitchen island can also double up as a breakfast bar when you add a few stools.

#4 – Great Addition to Open Kitchen: Kitchen island is a useful addition to an open kitchen where it serves as an accent piece as well as a divide between the kitchen and the living room.

Cons of Kitchen Island: Even as kitchen islands add a great deal of value to your kitchen space, they can put the proverbial spanner in your workflow. Here’s what you need to be careful about while considering adding a kitchen island.

#1 – Workflow Disruption: Not all kitchens are built equal. In other words, some kitchen designs are more suited to a kitchen island than others. The conventional kitchen layout best practices recommend that the “work triangle” is well thought out and duly incorporated into your kitchen for a better workflow.

kitchen-layout_triangle

When the kitchen island is shoehorned into a relatively smaller kitchen, it will end up disrupting the work triangle and workflow.

Recommended Reading: 8 Embarrassing Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes That Hurt Your Home’s Value

#2 – Appliance Placement: Some homeowners follow an integrated approach to avoid breaking the work triangle commandment. They go with appliances such as the sink or cooktop integrated into the island. While this may seem like a space-saving solution at first, you can experience problems in the long run.

Some homeowners follow an integrated approach to avoid breaking the work triangle commandment.

For example,  the integrated sink leads to unused or wasted counter space because of the odd location in your kitchen. Likewise, the integrated cooktop makes it hard to vent as well as jeopardize the safety of children when they’re around the hot island surface. Make sure you weigh in kitchen island cooktop pros and cons well enough. Also, explore the pros and cons of a range or butcher block on the kitchen island.

#3 – Budget Breaker: This should be pretty obvious to those having a shoestring budget for kitchen remodeling. The costs of adding an island, countertop and cabinets can definitely inflate the renovation budget even when the benefits are guaranteed upfront. There are, however, cheaper alternatives to a regular island that won’t break your bank.

So, Should You Add a Kitchen Cabinet?

As you may have realized by now, kitchen islands are not suitable for each and every kitchen layout. If there isn’t enough space in your kitchen, an island can spoil the broth, so to speak. Worse, when an island in a small kitchen may look rather out of place, ruining its visual aesthetics.

Be sure to consult a professional kitchen remodeling agency before adding a kitchen island. In some cases, a kitchen peninsula can do a better job than an island.

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