Optimal Kitchen Layout for an Island

One of the most popular and desired features to add to a kitchen during a remodel is an island. Even if the original kitchen has an island, many homeowners want to move or upgrade it. There are a few things to consider when deciding exactly where the island should go in the kitchen layout.

Work Aisle Width

The first thing that’s going to determine the placement of your island is the width of the “work aisle,” or the space between the island and other countertops and kitchen work surfaces. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, for a single cook, you need at least 42”. For multiple cooks, it is 48”. That leaves space for the doors of cabinets, dishwashers, etc. and enough clearance to walk through with an open door.

Consider who will be using your kitchen. If it’s a smaller kitchen, and one person generally does the cooking, 42” is fine. If it’s larger though, or if you cook as a family, or have parties often, the larger 48” space is the safer bet. So on your floor plan, block out 42” or 48” from the edge of every countertop, as well as from any wall with no cabinets on it. (Hint: This is easy to lay out and measure in our DIY online kitchen design tool).

Appliance & Cabinet Door Clearance

The other primary concern in placing a kitchen island, and more specifically the appliances and elements, involves making sure no appliance doors collide or interfere with each other. To do this, on a paper floor plan (our design tool’s floorplans are easy to print), draw the open rectangle of the oven and dishwasher door and the opening arc of the fridge door. Keep in mind, most refrigerator doors open beyond 90° to at least 120°, so don’t stop straight out from one edge of the fridge.

If you have at least 42” (or 48”) of clearance between any two counters and/or open walls, and none of your appliance doors collide, congratulations! You have a functional arrangement for your new kitchen island!

Design Help

But wait, “functional” and “optimal” aren’t the same thing, you might be thinking, and that’s true. Truly optimal layout is different for every single kitchen, and the theory and best practices behind kitchen design may require the help of a professional. That’s why we have professional kitchen design consultants available to our customers to assist with kitchen design questions and concerns. Schedule a free consultation (a $500 value!) or call 1 (610) 337-5934. We look forward to hearing from you!

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