No man is an island

The Pros and Cons of a Kitchen Island

The kitchen is the heart of any home. It’s where family and friends gather to cook, eat, and share stories. Many of the remodelling projects I design are based around kitchen extensions and opening up spaces to create open-plan kitchen/dining/living areas. and many homeowners want an island in the design. Kitchen islands can be a stylish and functional addition, but in my experience, they don’t work for every home.

Here I weigh up the pros and cons of kitchen islands to help you make an informed decision.

Island living

The Pros

  1. Additional storage and workspace: one of the main advantages of a kitchen island is the extra counter space for food preparation and cooking. This is especially true if you’re cooking more than one dish or if two chefs are involved.
  2. Enhanced functionality: installing appliances like a stovetop or sink within an island can help your kitchen work more efficiently.
  3. Casual dining: islands are great for casual dining, such as breakfast time or when gathering around the dining table is too much effort.
  4. Entertaining and socialising: islands act as a natural focal point meaning they make excellent spaces for gathering around and chatting with guests while you finish preparing a meal.
  5. Storage: extra space for storing gadgets, cookware and other kitchen essentials.
  6. Increased home value: a well-designed kitchen can boost your home’s value. But the key phrase here is well-designed; make sure adding an island works for your space – don’t just shoehorn one in because you think you want one!

The Cons

  1. Space requirements: kitchen islands require ample space to function well. In smaller kitchens, an island can make the room feel cramped and limit the movement of people and the flow around the overall space.


Really evaluate the size of your kitchen and overall layout to determine if it’s going to work. If the answer’s no it might be the best decision you make for your kitchen. Carl

    1. Visual bulk: an island is a chunky bit of kitchen ‘furniture’ and can dominate the space. If it becomes a dumping ground for clutter the problem is made worse. Ask yourself what its purpose is and how you will use it.
    2. Cost: adding an island can be costly, and not only as it’s a whole additional set of cabinets and a worktop. If you’re installing a sink or hob, then you’re likely to also need new plumbing or electrical systems so be prepared to allocate some budget for this.
    3. Alternatives: consider other options that will provide a compromise or flexibility. A peninsula works as a great alternative and still offers some of the benefits of an island. If it’s somewhere to perch for drinks or snacks, or just a little extra prep space, then a breakfast bar and bar stools take up less space. And if all else fails a small table in a contrasting material to the kitchen can break up the space and provide a feature.


A peninsula

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