Will an Island Fit in Your Kitchen?

Everyone wants a kitchen island, but can you put one in the kitchen you have now?  It’s very likely that you can, even if you don’t have a lot of room, as long as you measure carefully and think and shop creatively.  Islands, farm tables, and kitchen carts are available in all shapes, sizes and styles.  They create more countertop space to work on and provide coveted extra storage.  What kitchen doesn’t need that?

Plan Carefully

You don’t want to get your heart set on a particular island and then find it won’t fit your kitchen.  Measure first, carefully plan, and then go shopping.  To start making a plan on a sheet of paper, draw a rectangle to represent your kitchen.  Sketch the locations of the sink, dishwasher, stove and refrigerator.   Draw in the base cabinets.  Measure the length and width of the room and the dimensions of your cabinets and appliances with a tape measure.  Note these measurements on your sketch.  Double check all of your measurements – it is critical that they are accurate.

Rolling Kitchen IslandTransfer your sketch to graph paper.  Use one square on the graph paper to represent six inches.  Once you are done, shade in the area on the graph paper to indicate a 42” path in front of each set of base cabinets.  Now look at the graph paper.  How much area is left unshaded in the center of your kitchen floor plan?  This will tell you the dimension of a kitchen island that will truly fit in your kitchen.

Is the area smaller than two feet by four feet?  If so, unfortunately you will not be able to fit a whole kitchen island in your kitchen, but look around the perimeter of your kitchen.  Is there enough open space for you to put in a tall cabinet to use as a pantry or for other storage?  Or perhaps you can make use of a smaller kitchen cart.  Get one with wheels that lock into place so that the cart doesn’t roll while you are using the countertop.

Things to Consider Before Shopping

Before you shop, you need to determine what type of storage you need.  If you have young children around or do not want to put your items on display, plan to get closed storage – shelving behind doors.  If you want to easily reach or see your items, you may want to choose open shelving.  Do you need racks for paper towels, spices or bottles of wine?  How about a knife holder or a cookbook shelf?  Maybe a drawer or two will be useful.  If you have room for a bigger kitchen island, perhaps you also have room for a breakfast bar.

You can make a cardboard cutout of the footprint of the island you wish to install.  Tape it into place on your kitchen floor and live with it for a day or two.  Make sure to see how you feel about walking around it, and see if you can open existing cabinet and appliance doors without hitting your “island.”

Check out Local Kitchen Showrooms

Pre-Made Kitchen-IslandFinally, it is time to shop!  Double-check your dimensions before you do and have a prepared wish-list of features as well as a notation of any preferred finishes/styles and a reminder of your budget.  Check local kitchen showrooms, specialty shops and home improvement stores for carts, farm-style tables or islands.  Pre-made kitchen islands are a wonderful time-saver and can be ordered with customized features to match your style. View some of the styles we offer at Distintctive Cabinetry’s Houzz Page.

If you’re handy and you have room for a larger kitchen island, consider creating it from stock cabinetry and a countertop.  If you use cabinets that were intended to hang on the wall, finish the unfinished side with either beaded board or veneer.  You’ll want to install cleats to secure the cabinets, and nail in trim around the base of your new island.  Finally, think about installing a pendant light or two.  This will give your kitchen some panache and provide useful task lighting at your brand new work station.

Distinctive Cabinetry has been helping San Francisco East Bay clients with kitchen remodeling for 30+ years. Our kitchen designers have the knowledge and experience to work within your budget and space, giving you exactly what you want.


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