Kitchen islands are becoming standard in most modern homes. They are not only aesthetically appealing, but they are also conveniently functional. You can design them for a specific purpose, such as a seating area, extra storage space, countertop for food prep, or add a sink, cooktop, or dishwasher.
Unfortunately, DIYing your kitchen island’s design is no easy feat. But before jumping on the bandwagon, you have to understand that kitchen island size matters. The dimensions of your kitchen island can impact the overall look and comfort of using your kitchen.
The standard width of a kitchen island with a sink is 7 feet. Although there is an average size of kitchen islands, they come in different sizes. Unfortunately, islands are not ideal for kitchens less than 13 feet wide.
In addition, you will have to consider your kitchen space, the purpose of the kitchen island, and the room’s footprint.
Thankfully, you can apply a few tips and rules for sizing your kitchen island to suit your needs and style. Our guide below has all the measurements to make the ideal kitchen island for your kitchen.
How wide is a standard kitchen island?
Choosing your kitchen island width is essential. The width of your kitchen island will depend on the dimensions of your kitchen.
However, a kitchen island should be at least 36 inches (3 feet) wide with a surrounding zone of about 40 inches.
You can increase the width to 48 inches to accommodate cabinet space and appliances. Kitchen islands may seem ideal for a very large kitchen, but they are not very practical.
You need to reach the middle of the island, at least.
As for smaller kitchens, they may have islands that are 18 inches, making them deep enough for cabinet storage and wide enough for prep space.
Another consideration is the maximum size of their countertop material comes in. Therefore if you have a very large kitchen, the determining factors for the kitchen island will be whatever works aesthetically and ergonomically in the kitchen space.
How to size a kitchen island with a sink?
The main advantage of a kitchen island with a faucet and sink is you don’t have to face the wall when prepping, cooking, or washing dishes. However, this setup requires a large island with plenty of spacing.
A kitchen island size with a sink should be about 4 feet with 40 inches of clearance space around it. In addition, it would be best to have a landing area of about 15 inches on both sides of the sink to set food or cookware.
On the other hand, a kitchen island bigger than 6-7 feet is too wide for a kitchen sink or dining area.
Additionally, the standard height for a kitchen island is 36 inches, while the average sink is eight inches deep. So the bottom of the sink should be 28 inches off the ground.
But depending on the island’s purpose, you can lift it to 42 inches if you want a dining or seating area. If you have an overhang, ensure the barstools have at least two feet of clearance for access and comfort.
If you expand or reduce your kitchen island’s dimensions beyond the minimum and maximum measurements, ensure your kitchen meets the building codes and functional design rules based on the standards set by the National Kitchen and Bath Association.
Ideal minimum space around a kitchen island
Clearance and distance between stools are built-ins are essential in planning your island’s designs and dimensions. This space around the kitchen island ensures efficient workflow and reduces the chances of accidents due to inadequate space.
The minimum space between your kitchen island and the other countertop should be 40 inches. This space is enough for two people to move around easily and also allows you to open the cabinets more comfortably.
In some circumstances, you can reduce the clearance space to about 35 inches if your island is about 1 meter by 1 meter.
Ironically, there can be too much space around the kitchen island. For instance, a clearance wider than 47 inches would feel uneasy since you will have to take extra steps between the kitchen island and the countertop, thus lessening workflow efficiency.
Sizing a kitchen island for four stools and a kitchen sink
Most people love to use their kitchen island as a social hub for their home, where people can enjoy a meal. The number of chairs you want around your kitchen island will help determine the kitchen island size. Also, the size of your bar stool will impact the number of seats you can allocate around the kitchen island.
Typically, a person would occupy about 24 inches of space. This space is enough elbow room to sit comfortably without touching the person next to you. So an island for four people and a kitchen sink would require a length of around 96 inches (24 inches × 4).
If you do not have enough space along the island’s length, you can have an L-shaped overhand to seat people on two sides of the island. You can seat four people without the need for a 96-inch island.
If you already have a kitchen island and want to know how many seats will fit in it, measure the length of your island and then divide by 24 inches. For instance, a kitchen island that is 94 inches can fit four stools (94 inches / 24 inches).
How to avoid common kitchen island mistakes
It’s easy to make mistakes when designing your kitchen island, ruining the functionality and appearance of your kitchen. Here are some problems to avoid when designing your island.
Ignoring the kitchen island size guidelines
Although, the kitchen island size is dependent on the kitchen size, ignoring the standard island size guidelines. The guidelines help you account for all island dimensions, including height, length, width, and overhang.
Even if your kitchen is spacious, a very island may take up too much space for foot traffic and make the kitchen feel cramped.
The island is too small.
Also, an island that is too small may not be functional enough. It’s important to know that not all kitchens can fit an island.
Any kitchen less than 13 feet wide should not have an island. Also, an island with a sink should have ample space on both sides.
No space for foot traffic
Ideally, an island should have at least 40 inches of space around the sides for easy movement.
A small walkway will obstruct workflow, while a very big walkway will make work between the island and countertops inefficient.
Forget to measure the appliances.
After determining the size of your kitchen island, most people fail to measure the appliances they want to fit into the island.
Take note of the dimensions of all appliances you want to include in your kitchen island, such as a sink, dishwasher, oven, and drawers.
Wrong size for seating and storage
The best part about the kitchen island is you can add a few stools and make it a dining area. One mistake to avoid is cramming the kitchen island space with seats.
Instead, ensure each person has about 24 inches of space to themselves.
Wrong countertop surface material
The material of your island’s surface will impact the functionality of your island, especially if you install a sink or cooktop.
You must choose a heat-resistant material like sealed stone, stainless steel, quartz, or tile. Avoid materials such as marble as it is porous and is high-maintenance as it stains easily.
The kitchen island makes for great food prep and dining area. So you have to consider proper lighting when installing your kitchen island.
The island should be well lit enough to see when chopping food or handling hot items. You can also use accent lighting for aesthetics.
No electric points
People make a common mistake, especially when making islands with no professional help, is forgetting to install electrics.
A kitchen island with a sink is convenient for washing dishes and prep work which may require electric tools. So consider building a power outlet into your kitchen island to make it functional.
Kitchen islands are functional and also improve your kitchen’s aesthetics. But the kitchen island size is proportional to the size of your kitchen.
Note that an island with a kitchen sink or appliance needs to be wider than a standard-sized island. Additionally, you need to consider clearance space around the kitchen island.
Use the guidelines above to ensure you get the perfect-sized kitchen island that is stylish yet practical.