Kitchen islands have been one of the main transformations of modern kitchen design. A great work space, they also provide a casual dining space and a great way to socialise while getting food prepared. As well as a lovely aesthetic, kitchen islands allow one to face the room, other people or a great view rather than facing the wall while doing prep work.

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An island can be very small (600 x 1200mm) to as big as you want. Some people get a bit nervous of the island being too big, but as long as it designed well and balanced within the overall space, you don’t have to worry. However, you must have enough circulation space around the island. This is particularly important on the side which faces other kitchen units. Some designers quote 800mm as the minimum distance between the island and other kitchen units. We think 900mm is the minimum with 1100-1300mm being ideal and 1500mm being the maximum (otherwise you’ll have to take a boat to your island, well at least a few steps). The clearance at the end of islands can go down as far as 800mm unless there is a fridge, oven or other appliances opposite.

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The height of an island can be different to the standard kitchen counter (900mm) especially if the users are average or above in height. You could increase the height as far as 1000mm (you get an extra drawer in too if you lower your plinth). As well as being a more comfortable working height it fits high stools for casual dining better and can cut off unwanted views of the kitchen while dining.

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The typical widths of islands go from 800-1200mm. If you have stools at the island you need an overhang of minimum 200mm but preferably 300mm which means 900mm is the optimal width. On larger islands we sometimes split storage and breakfast bar space. In this case, 1200mm width permits tow full cabinets back to back (and a sneaky place for wine too).

Consider a kitchen peninsula

Not everyone is a fan of kitchen islands and there is the option of what is called a kitchen peninsula. In the world of kitchen design a peninsula is fixed at one end either to a wall or kitchen units running in a different direction. Apart from the different aesthetic, a peninsula doesn’t need the same clearance around it, so it can save on space.