Kitchen islands are a sought-after addition to a kitchen, which can create more usable countertop space and storage space and give your kitchen a sense of grandeur.
If you have a large kitchen, then a kitchen island is also great for filling the vacant space in the middle of the room so that it feels more homely and welcoming, as opposed to a stark and empty hall. Here we look at standard kitchen island dimensions and sizing information.
The most common kitchen island size is 80 inches by 40 inches, but you can custom design your kitchen island to fit with your space. When thinking about how big you want your island to be, there are a few things to consider to make sure the island will work from a practical and aesthetic perspective.
If you need a quick forward answer, here it is.
An average kitchen island is 80 inches by 40 inches. It should have a 3′ – 4′ distance of walkway between the island and the runs of cabinets. And in order to accommodate a kitchen island, the kitchen should be at least 150 square feet (e.g. 15′ by 10′)
Find below a drawing that describes in detail the standard kitchen island sizes
The distance between the kitchen island and the run of kitchen cabinets around the edge of the space should be between 3 and 4 feet. This will ensure that all of the drawers and cabinets have enough space to open fully, as well as any appliances with doors such as dishwashers or refrigerators.
With a gap of this size around the island, it will also mean that you won’t have to shuffle through narrow walkways or feel like the island is obstructing your movement through the kitchen. If someone is working at the island countertop, there will still be enough space for another person to fit through the walkway behind them.
If you are struggling to fit an island into your kitchen when allowing between 36 and 48 inches of distance, then you could go as low as 35 inches between the island and the surrounding kitchen, but beware, this could feel like a tight squeeze.
Instead, you may need to reduce the size of the island or admit that your space isn’t well suited to having an island. You might instead opt for a peninsular or butcher’s block which will take up less space and not inhibit movement within the kitchen so much.
If you have a very big room for your kitchen, then you might be tempted to have a wider distance than 60 inches between the island and the surrounding kitchen cabinets, but this is not ideal either. Too much space can make your island feel like it isn’t connected to the kitchen, and it will appear like an unrelated, random piece of cabinetry floating in the middle of the room.
This can also have a detrimental practical impact because anyone using the kitchen will have a greater distance to walk between countertops, which can make food preparation and other tasks more tiresome.
Breakfast Bar Overhang Sizes
Most people want a breakfast bar incorporated as part of their island. This is essentially a piece of overhanging countertop with bar stools positioned underneath it so that it operates as a bar. You could use this space to serve casual meals, have a drink, or for the children to do their homework while you’re cooking.
The size of your overhanging countertop is going to affect the overall size of the island, so you’ll need to factor this in when planning your dimensions.
The standard overhang to make a breakfast bar is 10 inches. This creates enough legroom for people to sit comfortably tucked under the countertop, but it is small enough that the countertop won’t require any additional structural support.
If you opt for an overhang of 12 inches or more, then you will need supports beneath the countertop. These will look like table legs and can obstruct the clean and modern lines of an island.
If you are lacking space, you can reduce your overhang to 8 inches, which is not as generous as the 10-inch overhang, but it is still enough space for the needs of most people.
When deciding on the size of your island, you should think about how many people you want to sit at your breakfast bar. Each seat at the breakfast bar should have 24 inches or 2 feet of space. This is the same amount of space you would allow each person seated at a dining table, giving them enough room for their elbows and ensuring they don’t feel cramped.
If you want to seat four people at your breakfast bar, then the countertop is going to need to be 8 feet or 96 inches long. If you only plan to use your breakfast bar for children, then the rule of 24 inches per person can be altered to 20 inches per person, as children don’t tend to take up as much space as adults. This would mean to seat four children along the breakfast bar; the countertop would need to be 80 inches long.
The size of your kitchen island might be affected by the sizes your chosen countertop is available in. Wooden countertops can be cut to any custom size, but they will come in maximum sizes.
If you are opting for a very large island, you should first check the maximum sizes of countertop available; otherwise, your countertop will have joins in it, which can affect the seamless look of the kitchen. Laminate or veneer countertops can also be cut to size, as long as you have matching edging strips available.
In order to accommodate a kitchen island, the total size of your kitchen should be at least 150 square feet. For example, this could be a room that is 10 feet wide and 15 feet long.
The island itself should be proportional to the size of the room, and many designers recommend that to fulfill this requirement, the island should be between 1 tenth and 1 fifteenth or the total size of the kitchen. In a kitchen that is 150 square feet, this would mean the island should be around 15 square feet and therefore could measure 3 feet in width and 5 feet in length.