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Kitchen Island Size Guidelines

Here we share kitchen island size guidelines including how to determine dimensions and select the right size island for your design layout.
Kitchen with white cabinets, black island and quartz countertopsKitchen islands are a hugely sought after feature in the home. It has become an integral part of the kitchen where one can work or prepare food, store appliances or utensils and do special tasks like baking.

Additionally, the kitchen island has also become a “social hub” at home, where family and friends can gather, chat and enjoy meals together. While in terms of design, it is often used as the focal point of a kitchen interior.

If you plan on making this multi-functional built-in a part of your home, it is important to know and follow the necessary measurements, recommended dimensions and standard sizes in designing it. Ensuring that your kitchen island follows these requirements do not only help in achieving a pleasing aesthetic, but also a well planned layout which helps provide a smooth and effective work flow in the space.

Below we give you complete instructions for kitchen island size guidelines to help you plan and design the best one for your home.

How To Choose The Best Kitchen Island Size

Kitchen with two islands, dark cabinets and marble countertopsWhile there is a list of recommendations for the standard measurements and dimensions of kitchen islands, there are many possibilities when it comes to its shape, size and layout.
There are several factors which you need to consider in choosing which kitchen island size is the best fit for your home:

Kitchen Size

The number 1 factor that you have to keep in mind when choosing the best kitchen island size for your home is square footage — in fact, these two are directly proportional with each other. An island’s size is primarily determined by the distances around it — so obviously, larger rooms can allow for bigger kitchen islands. Not all layouts can accommodate large kitchen islands with seating. In some cases, a compact prep island is all you can put in a small kitchen.

Relative to your kitchen’s size is scale. Whether your kitchen is small or large, you have to consider scale. A large kitchen island, for obvious reasons, will look more balanced if placed in a large space. Even if you follow the standard dimensions, if you put a tiny island in a very spacious kitchen, it can look off and dwarfed. By contrast, a large island can crowd a compact kitchen.

Kitchen Layout or Shape

Kitchen with waterfall quartz island with seatingThe size of your island is also dependent on the layout of your kitchen. The layout of your kitchen — whether U shaped, L shaped, galley or one-wall, will help you determine whether adding an island to your space will be effective or obstructing.

An island is more likely suitable for kitchens that are U shaped and L shaped. However, they will also work in one-wall layouts, provided that the surrounding space is large enough. Galley kitchens, or those that consist of two rows of cabinets facing each other creating an inner passage between them, may not be able to accommodate an island.

It is also significant to consider the layout and the existing conditions of your kitchen to ensure that all the needed clearances will work.

Island Function 

U-shaped kitchen with narrow island and wine storageIf you have the luxury of space in your home, another basis which you can use for the size of your kitchen island is its intended function. How do you plan to use your island?

Do you plan on using it as a prep station? A prep island can be as simple as an extra, blank countertop space where you can chop vegetables and prepare other ingredients for cooking. Do you need an integrated sink in the island for washing your hands and produce? If you are into baking, you can use it for kneading dough too. You can also add a butcher’s block if you like.

Do you plan on including seating? A bar island can be used for enjoying simple meals, snacks or even a cup of coffee. If you do not have a dedicated home office at home, a kitchen island with seating can also be utilized as a workspace or study area.

The kitchen island offers a lot of forms and functions. If you plan on using it as an ultimate multi-functional unit for all the functions enumerated above, you might need to choose a more expansive kitchen island size for your home.

Kitchen with blue island, seating for four, countertops and cabinetsKitchen Island Size Guidelines Design Tip : If your kitchen is less than 13 feet wide, we do not recommend adding an island to the space. There must at least be 10 feet , 3 meters or 120 inches of open space to accommodate an island without making the space feel too cramped.

Standard Size for Kitchen Islands

White island with two bar stools, bar lights and window with blinds● How wide should a kitchen island be? The standard width of a kitchen island is 2 feet or 24 inches or 60 centimeters. Some islands are also 3 feet wide, but if you need more space for dining or food preparation, you can go for something a bit larger. If you are planning on adding a cook top and a sink on the island, you will need a kitchen island width of approximately 7 feet or 84 inches or 213 centimeters.

● How deep should a kitchen island be? The standard depth of a kitchen island is 2 feet or 24 inches or 60 centimeters.

● What is the standard height of a kitchen island? The standard height of a kitchen island is 91 centimeters or 36 inches. This is the recommended height if the kitchen island will be used primarily for food preparation and cooking. If you intend to use your kitchen island for dining, raise the height to 106.68 centimeters or 42 inches.

How to Determine Island Dimensions

Kitchen with waterfall island and cabinets with glass doors● How much space do you need between an island and a counter? Clearances and distances between furniture pieces and built-ins are important in planning interiors because they help ensure an efficient work flow in the space. If you do not leave enough room on all sides, you won’t be able to move around easily in the space.

You need to have a distance of at least one meter or 40 inches between the main kitchen work counter / cabinets and the kitchen island. This ensures that you can walk around the island easily and at the same time allows for at least two persons to use the space comfortably at the same time (one person can still walk behind another person standing in the front of the island). A one meter clearance also ensures that all cabinets can be opened easily without any limitation and obstruction.

When looking at kitchen island size guidelines for tight spaces, the lowest amount of clearance that you can go for is 90 centimeters or 35 inches. You can push this to 80 centimeters or 31 inches, only if you plan on installing a minimum sized island (1 meter x 1 meter). On the other hand, there is also such a thing as too much distance between an island and the main kitchen counter. For example,having a clear distance of 1.5 meters or 60 inches can feel a bit off in the space and will also lessen the efficiency of the work flow since you have to take a few more steps to travel from one workstation to another.

● How much clearance do you need around a kitchen island? In reference to the required distance between an island and the main kitchen counter, the same standard applies to the amount of clearance that you need around it (the island). Clearances help with traffic patterns, work flows, work triangles and accessibility. There must be at least one meter or 40 inches clear space around the kitchen island to ensure a comfortable work and traffic flow in the space.

If you do not keep the surrounding space of your island proportionate to the island’s dimensions, you risk creating an inefficient workflow in the space. Whether the clearance zone is too big or too small, it will be hard to move around it. Clearances that are wider than 120 centimeters, 1.2 meters or 47 inches is too much and not user friendly.

Kitchen with small island with pink plush seating and two tone cabinets● How much space do you need per person for seating at a kitchen island? For comfortable seating on a kitchen island, you need to take into consideration the amount of space you allot for each person who’s going to use it. A good general rule to follow is to have at least an adequate space of 60 centimeters or 24 inches per person to allow for enough elbow room. This also ensures that the users can sit comfortably and use the island without bumping into each other.

If your kitchen has a limited area, the least amount of space that you can allot is 50 centimeters or 19.685 inches per person. This is also adequate if the seating will be used primarily by kids. Anything less than 50 centimeters will be uncomfortable to use.

● How much overhang should a kitchen island have for seating? The overhang is the part of a kitchen countertop which extends to cover the under cabinets and drawers This prevents any spills, crumbs or other stuff from falling off the countertop and damaging the cabinets below. For kitchen islands, the overhang is the part of the countertop which extends to the side where the seating is located. An overhang is ideal if you want a breakfast bar on your island, where you can enjoy some snacks and simple meals.

Having enough space for the island’s overhang is important because it ensures that there is enough leg room for the sitting person and also makes sure that there is sufficient space where you can tuck your bar stools under.

The standard overhang for kitchen island countertops is 30 centimeters or 12 inches. You can go for a lower amount of overhang, depending on the type of bar stools used. The minimum amount of overhang for some types of seating is 20 centimeters or 7.87 inches. If you have more space, you can adjust this to 45 centimeters or 18 inches so you don’t have to pull the stools far into the aisle for more knee room. However, having a bigger overhang means you will be needing extra supports for the kitchen island such as legs or L shaped brackets.

In addition to these standards, custom kitchen islands may have different overhang measurements depending on their thicknesses. The thicker the countertop is, the larger the unsupported overhang can be. Countertops that are 12mm thick can only have a maximum 20 centimeters or 7.87 inches unsupported overhang, while 20mm thick designs can have an overhang of a maximum 25 centimeters or 10 inches. Thicker countertops which are 30mm in size, can go for the standard 30 centimeters or 12 inches unsupported overhang.

Average Size

Kitchen with three chrome stools, accordion door with view of the patioHere are kitchen island size guidelines for the average kitchen island sizes which you can use when designing your home:

● Average Kitchen Island Size -The average size of a kitchen island is 1 meter x 2 meters (100 cm x 200 cm or 40 inches x 80 inches). This would typically have a surrounding clearance zone of 1 meter. This kitchen island size is enough space for prep work like cutting, slicing, cleaning fresh produce and kneading dough for baking. An average sized kitchen island can also accommodate a small 18 inch sink.

● Typical Kitchen Island Size Guidelines- Although there is an average size for kitchen islands, they come in different typical sizes. Here are some of its common dimensions:

Prep islands without seating
– 24 inches W x 24 inches D x 36 inches H (60cm D x cm D x 90cm H)
– 36 inches W x 24 inches D x 36 inches H (90cm D x 60cm D x 90cm H)
– 48 inches W x 24 inches D x 36 inches H (120cm D x 60cm D x 90cm H)
– 60 inches W x 24 inches D x 36 inches H (150cm D x 60cm D x 90cm H)
– 72 inches W x 24 inches D x 36 inches H (180cm D x 60cm D x 90cm H)
– 84 inches Wx 24 inches D x 36 inches H (210cm D x 60cm D x 90cm H)

*height may vary up to 42 inches (105 centimeters)

Kitchen Island with bar stool seating (overhang included):
– 48 inches W x 36 inches D x 36 inches H (120cm D x 90cm D x 90cm H)
– 72 inches W x 36 inches D x 36 inches H (180cm D x 90cm D x 90cm H)
– 96 inches W x 36 inches D x 36 inches H (240cm D x 90cm D x 90cm H)
– 120 inches W x 36 inches D x 36 inches H (300cm D x 90cm D x 90cm H)
– 144 inches W x 36 inches D x 36 inches H (360cm D x 90cm D x 90cm H)

*depth can vary anywhere from 8 inches to 18 inches (20 cm to 45 cm)
*height may vary up to 42 inches or 105 centimeters

Minimum Size

Kitchen with wood cabinets, concrete island and white couchAlthough there is an average kitchen island, you can still find a way to squeeze in a compact island in a small kitchen, provided that the proper clearances are observed. The recommended minimum size of a kitchen island is 1 meter x 1 meter or 40 inches x 40 inches. Despite being small, this kitchen island size will still allow for a practical prep space. You also have the option of integrating appliances to the layout. Anything smaller than the minimum may be hard to work on and less functional.

The typical clearance for a minimum sized kitchen island is 80 centimeters or 31 inches — which is just suitable for one user of the space. This is the smallest possible distance for a compact kitchen island, to allow for a safe and unobstructed passage.

Sizes Based on the Number of Seating

Kitchen with long island and herringbone pattern backsplashOne of the most common features of a kitchen island is a space for bar stool seating. A lot of homeowners envision their kitchen islands as the social hub of their home, where they can enjoy simple meals together as a family and entertain friends.

The number of seating that you intend to include on your kitchen island also plays a significant role in determining its (kitchen island) size. A kitchen island isn’t “one size fits all”. It is important to know the different recommended kitchen island sizes to ensure that each of the users can move freely without bumping into each other while dining.

How do you compute for the kitchen island size based on the number of seating? We have mentioned earlier in this article that there must be at least 60 centimeters or 24 inches allotted for each person in a kitchen island to allow for enough elbow room. However, by using kitchen islands with bench seating one may be able to accommodate more diners.

Keeping this measurement in mind, let’s now do the math:

Kitchen with recessed lighting, wood plank flooring and white countertops● If you are designing and installing a new kitchen island : To get the right kitchen island width, simply multiply 60 centimeters by the number of persons you want to seat on the kitchen island.
For example, if you want to seat three people you should be looking at having an island width of around 180 centimeters (60 cm x 3 persons = 180 cm).

● If you already have an existing kitchen island and want to know how many seats can you fit in it : First, measure your existing kitchen island and take note of its width and then divide the kitchen island width by 60 centimeters.

For example, if you have a kitchen island with a width of 2.4 meters, this means you can put 4 chairs in it. ( 240 cm / 60 cm= 4 persons).

Standard Sizes Based on Seating

Square island, black framed window and stools with wood seatingThe recommended overall depth for kitchen islands with seating is 90 centimeters or 36 inches. Simply put, this is the resulting measurement you get when the standard depth ( 60 cm or 24 inches) and the standard overhang (30 cm or 12 inches) are combined.

Here is a list of the standard kitchen island size guidelines based on seating:

Size for 2 Stools

Kitchen with glass mosaic backsplash and black cabinets with chrome pullsThe standard size for an island with two stools is 120 centimeters (48 inches) width x 90 centimeters depth (36 inches)

Size for 3 Stools

Kitchen with exposed beam ceiling, dinner chairs and white counterThe standard size for an island with three stools is 180 centimeters (72 inches) width x 90 centimeters depth (36 inches)

Size for 4 Stools

Kitchen with yellow ceiling light, windows and wood flooringThe standard size for an island with four stools is 240 centimeters (96 inches) width x 90 centimeters depth (36 inches)

Size for 6 Stools

Kitchen with marble backsplash, two doorways and six chairsThe standard size for an island with six stools is 360 centimeters (144inches) width x 90 centimeters depth (36 inches)

For more related designs visit our page about the types of kitchen islands.