What Is the Correct Size of a Kitchen Island?

Kitchen islands provide extra workspace and sometimes house the cooktop or a sink.

Significance

Kitchen islands provide extra workspace.Kitchen islands provide extra workspace.
Some islands also have room for bar stools and an eating space. The correct size of a kitchen island depends on its surroundings.
A properly-sized island can make the difference between a functional and exasperating kitchen.

A properly-sized island can make the difference between a functional and an exasperating kitchen. The island affects the kitchen's traffic flow and convenience, and must be carefully planned.

Work Aisles

The NKBA recommends that the space between the island and adjacent counters or appliances should be at least 42 inches for one cook and 48 inches for two or more.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends that the space between the island and adjacent counters or appliances should be at least 42 inches for one cook and 48 inches for two or more.

Walkway

Walkways should be at least 36 inches wide.

Walkways that pass by the island but aren't part of the kitchen workspace should be at least 36 inches wide. If the walkway is behind an island seating area, it should be 44 inches wide for easy passage.

Work Centers

Islands shouldn't interfere with a kitchen's work triangle.

Islands should not interfere with a kitchen's work triangle, an imaginary line from the cooktop to the sink to the refrigerator. The NKBA says cooks should not have to walk more than a foot around the island to get from one work area to another.

Expert Insight

The maximum island size should be between 6 feet deep and 10 feet long.

Tim Carter, a builder and nationally syndicated columnist, suggests the maximum island size should be 6 feet deep and 10 feet long.

About the Author

Elizabeth Nickelaid is an editor and writer with more than 20 years' experience in the newspaper industry. She has won state and national awards for headline writing and has collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Wake Forest University.