​How to plan a kitchen with an island

With proper planning, any kitchen with an island will be a pleasure to work in. In this blog, we'll tell you how to make room for a kitchen island in your dream home.
kitchen witn an island

When asked, a lot of Aussie homeowners dream of a kitchen with an island. Who wouldn't want additional storage and space for dining, working, cooking, and preparing food? 

Kitchen islands, when added properly in the kitchen design, are a dream come true. It brings joy to the homeowners. A poorly designed kitchen with an island, on the other hand, is a disaster. It frustrates everybody who uses it. It's hard to work in a poorly designed kitchen, especially when there's insufficient space for an island in the first place. Are you planning to renovate or build a new kitchen? Consider following these tips to find out if you have enough space for a kitchen island. If not, we'll recommend several designs that you can try. We hope these tips can help you create the kitchen of your dreams.

Remember, there's an island for all kitchens

As home designers, we use our brain's creativity and our experience to maximise the space. So, don't assume that a tiny kitchen can't have an island. A great designer will find ways to make the most out of the available space. A great designer will customise the design. When a standard kitchen island doesn't fit, your designer will come up with ways to give you extra storage and countertop space. 

Know your clearance zone

Proper measurement is your designer's key to finding out if you have enough room for a kitchen island. Apart from the room's size, your designer also needs to know how many people will use the kitchen and how will they use the kitchen.

Those pieces of information are vital in determining the clearance zone. It is the space between two work areas (main benchtop edge to the edge of the kitchen island) and the space around the kitchen island. 

The ideal measurement of the clearance zone is 1200mm. It is enough and will allow safe and smooth movement in the kitchen. 

Prioritise you and your family's safety 

Your kitchen is safer when you have enough distance between the two workspaces. 

When planning your kitchen, make sure that you can pass even when all cabinet doors, drawers, ovens, and dishwashers are open. You don't want anyone to trip on an open door while carrying knives or hot food, right?

As designers, we highly suggest that you allow at least 700mm of space between two fully open doors or cabinets.

Kitchen island for small home designs​​

For small kitchens, we highly recommend custom building a kitchen island, so you have complete power on the measurements. 

The minimum size of a kitchen island measures 1000×1000 millimetres. An island like this requires a clearance zone of at least 800mm. It's a small square kitchen island, but it allows one person to use it comfortably on a daily basis. Two people can work around it at the same time, but it can feel a little cramped. 

An average kitchen island measures 1200x2400mm and requires at least 1000mm of clearance.

Keep it proportional

An island's size is always proportional to the size of the kitchen. Huge kitchens should have a massive island. Something too small or too large will look weird and will spoil your kitchen design. 

A great designer will help you determine how much or how large yours should be. 

When the kitchen island is not proportional to its surroundings, the kitchen becomes less ergonomic. It will feel cramped. It will be impractical because it has an inefficient workflow. It will be less comfortable for the person using it. 

As designers, we highly suggest keeping the clearance zone under 1500 millimetres. A super-wide distance between two workspaces is less user-friendly.

Creating a galley kitchen island layout

A lot of professional chefs and home cooks prefer a galley kitchen layout because it's efficient. They can face the island and turn around to face the workspace behind them.

Good thing you can have this with a kitchen island. 

As long as the clearance doesn't go over 1500mm, you don't need to turn and walk to reach the other benchtop. The kitchen won't feel disconnected. It won't feel laborious to use.

The Peninsula

Finally, there is the option of a kitchen peninsula rather than a full island. The word ‘peninsula’ comes from the Latin for ‘almost an island’, and a kitchen peninsula shares most of the same appealing qualities as a kitchen island but is fixed at one end. Peninsulas are a practical and functional choice for small kitchens because, with one end fixed to a wall, they take up less floor space.

A peninsula also doesn’t require the same clearance as an island. For example, an island measuring 1,200mm by 2,400mm, would need a clearance zone of about 1,000 millimetres on all side. But a peninsula in the same space would, of course, require that extra meter only on three sides – giving you back valuable space.

Order benchtops that will fit through your door

It may sound obvious, but a lot of homeowners make a mistake here. Before you order a benchtop material from a supplier, make sure that it will fit through your door and hallways leading to your kitchen. 

When you don't you might end up cutting the benchtop material. This gives you a visible seam, which most homeowners avoid. 

Consider a full-blown renovation

To achieve your dream kitchen, sometimes, you have to renovate the adjacent spaces as well. There are cases when designers need to take down walls to open up the room and create more space and rearrange the interiors.

This, of course, is not feasible in all homes.

Get creative. Break from the norm

In times when having a kitchen island seems impossible, great designers offer alternatives that might work. Kitchen features like moving islands, bar carts, and trolleys can be extremely functional. These three offer extra work surfaces and storage space — and buying these are cheaper than building a kitchen island. 

Building your dream kitchen

Do you dream of having a kitchen with an island? Not sure where to get started? Contact us and maybe we can help you. Liked this article? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Or, ask help from our Sydney-based building designers.



Did you know that there are four types of kitchen islands?

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