Top Things to Keep in Mind When Adding a Custom Kitchen Island

Are you planning to add a custom kitchen island to your kitchen renovation project? You’re not alone. It’s one of the most common requests we get from homeowners. Whether you’re trying to maximize storage space or use it as a gathering space, we’ve compiled a list of questions to keep in mind when you’re planning to update your kitchen.

How much space do you need between your counters and your kitchen island?

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, an open kitchen should have at least 42 inches or 3.5 feet of clearance on each side of the island. If that seems like a lot to you, let us explain. The primary purpose of a kitchen island is a workspace, so you want ample space to pivot and move as you’re preparing food or opening your kitchen cabinets and free up space on your kitchen table. You don’t want the island to obstruct the workflow among your refrigerator, sink, oven, and stovetop.

A properly spaced custom kitchen island allows plenty of room to move about in a kitchen.
Tudor kitchen Hershey, PA

How big should a kitchen island be?

The average size of a kitchen island is four feet long by two feet wide. The standard height of a is 36 inches, but if you’re using it for dining, increase the height to 42 inches. Don’t forget to factor in bar stools for dining, as you should account for at least two feet of clearance to keep the space from being too tight. Custom islands can come in a variety of sizes. When thinking about the size, keep in mind the clearance space we referenced above.

Should the cooktop or sink go on the kitchen island?

A custom kitchen island can be a good spot for a cooktop or a built-in sink if you have the space. It’s also great to have the extra room if you spend a lot of time cooking. For a cooktop, we recommend maintaining 12 inches on either side and 9 inches behind for safety. Consider installing a downdraft fan or vent hood for proper ventilation if you fry or grill. For sinks, consider whether it will be the primary food prep sink or a bar sink. A food prep sink should be 16 inches by 16 inches and 8 inches deep. Any built-in appliance can increase the functionality of your custom kitchen island, but it can also reduce interior cabinet space or counter space.

Even a smaller custom kitchen island offers more utility as a workspace

What shape should your kitchen island be?

Kitchen islands can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. One of the best ways to decide on the shape of your custom island is by the size of your entire kitchen and how you use it. Custom options can range from a galley kitchen island, the most straightforward design that requires the least amount of space, to a circular or half-moon kitchen island, requiring significant space but an excellent option for multiple cooks or large family gatherings. Other shapes include an L-shaped kitchen island or a U-shaped island, both requiring more space than a galley kitchen island but offer more room for custom cabinets, counters, seating, and a cooktop or sink. Consider your utility needs carefully when choosing what your perfect island would be.

A custom kitchen island doubling as a breakfast counter.
Country kitchen Hershey PA

Will the new kitchen island design go with the design of my home?

When you’re remodeling, the last thing you want is to install a new kitchen island that clashes with your house’s design or have a massive kitchen island in a small kitchen. When you work with a custom kitchen contractor, they can help design a stylish custom kitchen island that integrates with the overall design of your house. Based on how you use your home and kitchen, a kitchen remodeling expert will ensure the correct details fall into place.

What are the benefits of a kitchen island?

There are some obvious benefits to a kitchen island that we’ve already discussed:

  • More countertop space
  • More kitchen storage
  • An eating area
  • Potentially space for an applicance or sink

Most of all, we want you to imagine a kitchen where you can interact with your friends and family while you’re cooking or help your kids with their homework on the island. Adding your dream kitchen island has the potential to transform your living and entertaining space.

While a custom kitchen island with cabinets might not be suitable for every kitchen, we hope we helped you answer some of your burning questions. If you’re still on the fence or want a professional’s opinion, we’re here to help. Meet with us today to discuss adding a custom kitchen island to your kitchen renovation project.