Most people assume that kitchen islands only belong in big, open kitchens. But that’s not necessarily true. With the right planning and design, you can put an island in a small kitchen to add function and beauty to the space.

There are so many island styles, shapes and sizes that you’re sure to find one that complements your home kitchen.

How do you get started? Ask yourself this important question:

What is the Island’s Function?

Before you even start planning and designing your island, ask yourself: what is the purpose of this island?

  1. Are you going to use it for cooking prep?
  2. Do you plan to use it for seating?

Figuring out your purpose will help you find a small kitchen island layout that works for your space. For example, if you want an island for cooking preparation, you can put a hob or a sink at the centre of the island to free up countertop space in other areas.

Depending on the size of your space, you may be able to add an island that offers both cooking function and seating space for socialization/eating.

Figuring out the purpose of your kitchen island is the first and most important step in this process.

Kitchen Island Ideas for Small Kitchens

Now that you know the purpose of your island, you can start thinking about layouts and ideas. Finding the right kitchen island for a small kitchen can be tricky but not impossible.

Here are some small kitchen island ideas to help you start brainstorming:

Maximize Your Space

If you have a very small kitchen or an unforgiving layout, a kitchen island can help you maximize your space. Placing ovens and microwaves inside tall cabinets allows you to maximize vertical space. The island itself can serve as the only work top space, with a hob and a space for seating.

Consider a Square Island

Islands are typically rectangular in shape, but they don’t have to be. A square island can help free up floor space while still allowing you to use your island for your desired purposes.

When choosing a square island, it’s typically best to feature a central appliance. This removes the sink or hob from the other worktop spaces in your kitchen and can help make the space more functional.

If you have the room, you can also incorporate space for eating, but that isn’t absolutely necessary. Usually the overhang required to sit at the island is 30cm/12 inches.

Recommendations for Choosing an Island in a Small Kitchen

Now that you have some ideas for small kitchen designs with islands, you’ll need to consider some of the more technical details. Figuring out how to incorporate the island in a practical and functional way is the goal.

Here are a few recommendations:

Make Sure You Have the Appropriate Space

A kitchen island should really be no less than 1 meter by 1 meter. If you’re going for an elongated island rather than a square one, aim for at least 61 centimetres width to make sure that you have enough worktop space.

Along with the size of the island itself, you also need to consider the space between your base cabinets and the island. As a general rule of thumb, you want about a meter of space between the island and other surfaces.