Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

With coronavirus continuing to be an issue this winter, the only island you might see is in your kitchen, so why not make it great?

A spacious, functional kitchen island is the centerpiece of any space, and it’s something you might be dreaming of. So, if you’re in the process of designing or just playing around with the idea in your head, the following are tips for island design.

Which Appliances Should Go on Your Island?

You probably want to put at least a few of the more functional things in your kitchen in your island. It will save space, and it just makes things easier as you’re designing the rest of the kitchen.

Adding your sink to your island is probably where you should start. It’s not exactly an appliance, but it’s certainly something you use, probably every time you’re in your kitchen. If you’re using your island for a lot of food prep, you want your sink right there. With that in mind, it’s always a good idea to have your sink next to your dishwasher, so you might also include that in your island.

Two optional but nice-to-have items in your island are a wine or beverage cooler and a microwave. Some islands even have pull-out refrigerator drawers. You can add your cooktop to your island, but you might need to think about venting, which is why some people don’t prefer that.

How Much Storage Do You Want?

When you have an idea of the appliances that will go in your island, then you can move on to start thinking about storage. At a minimum, if you’re using the island for food prep, you want to have at least a few pullout drawers and a place to put things like cutting boards.

Counter Height

To determine your counter height, you want to think about who will be sitting there and how they’ll sit. If you’re going to have barstools, you’ll either likely have them be 36 or 42 inches. You can also design an island that’s two-tiered. One level might be higher for barstools, and the other might be lower so you can do prep.

If you have a 36-inch bar, it’s seating that’s somewhere between a typical barstool and a table.

Island Size

When you’re deciding on a size for the island, you have to think about not only what you want it to achieve but also the open area around it. You need at least three feet of floor space on the ends of the island. For your working and seating sides, you need at least 42 inches. If you have enough room, the ideal width for an island is usually three feet.

Proportion is really important when you design an island. You want to make sure that it works well with the rest of your kitchen and maintains a good sense of flow.

Finally, once you have all the basics above taken care of you, you can start deciding on the more fun elements. For example, what countertop material will you use? One of the most beautiful island design options is a waterfall countertop, with stone or another solid surface cascading seamlessly to each side.

You can also start thinking about lighting. Pendant lights are always a good way to make a statement above your island. If you have an open-concept layout, your island design is even more important because it’s likely the focal point of your entire living space.

Focus on function, but then have fun with your design as well.