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How to design a better kitchen island

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Islands are the focal point of many kitchens, used for food preparation, cooking and entertaining. How can you design the best island for your kitchen?


If a kitchen is the heart of the home, the island counter is certainly the heart of the kitchen. A good kitchen island is a place to cook, eat and entertain.

But how do you make it better? Or, if you’re about to embark on a new build, what are the key things to keep in mind? Find out below.

Consider space

This is for those you who don’t yet have a kitchen island. Give some serious thought to space. The minimum distance between and island and the other cabinets should be 90 cm – any less and you’re going to struggle to have two people working back to back.

If space is looking a little tight, you want to think about an alternative to an island.


What will you use it for?

Functionality should always come before form when it comes to kitchen islands. If you’re going to be using the island for food preparation, include a waste disposal or extra sink. For cooking meals, you’ll need a cooktop and an extractor, either overhead or a retractable bench top system. You may find it useful to also install a dishwasher for easy clean up.

If you want more storage space, consider installing drawers, shelves or even a wine rack within the island. For parts of the island facing a living or dining area, include decorate storage.

Think about lighting and ventilation

Lighting can make or break or a kitchen. When adding an island, be sure to think about light placement – you may find that your current arrangement leaves your island the dark. A common design involves hanging three pendant lights across the island.

The same goes for ventilation. If you’ve got a cooktop on your island, be sure to include some sort of ventilation option to whisk away steam.

Should you bring a designer into the conversation?

Islands are the focal point of many kitchens, used for food preparation, cooking and entertaining. A lot of thought goes into ensuring they’re useful. A designer can help here, working with you to figure out what you want out of an island and making sure it looks good. They’ll also make sure the island feeds into the overall open plan living area if required.

Kitchen renovations can be stressful, so take a look at some of our other articles if you’re still feeling a little lost. If you want to get started with a new kitchen, read the ‘Getting started’ guide.

First published date: 04 September 2017

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