Create a peninsula
A peninsula design attached to the wall has some advantages over an island. ‘It’s less space-hungry than an island, but has the capacity for storage and multitasking,’ says Richard Moore, design director at Martin Moore. Services can be chased or run through the adjoining wall.
Get the spacing right
When deciding on the size of your island, make sure you allow for at least 1m clearance all around it. This will provide enough space to pull out bar stools, open cabinets and access appliances, leaving you plenty of space to work.
Arbor kitchen including oak island with black granite work surface, Harvey Jones
A split kitchen island
The luxury of ample floorspace allows you to bring all the action into the heart of the room. Consider a split island with food prep at one end, storage at the other and a bridging breakfast bar for sitting at the centre of everything.
Bulthaup b3 furniture with oak bridging bar, Kitchen Architecture
Work the space
If you incorporate a peninsula as part of a U-shaped kitchen layout within an open-plan space, it can act as a room divider. Consider including an overhanging work surface to make a breakfast bar.
U shaped peninsula with porcelain worksurface. Photo Rise Design Studio
Create a cooking zone
Keen chefs may wish to create a cooking zone with their kitchen island. Plan the storage to make sure you have utensil drawers below the hob with the deeper pan drawers beneath, so that you have all the tools of the trade close at hand.
Grey mid and bookmatched walnut island with Silestone work surface, Roundhouse
Useful and beautiful
Use an island as a way to bring a standout design feature to your scheme. Choose materials, colours and finishes that contrast with the rest of the kitchen for dramatic impact.
Bespoke kitchen with central island clad in Paonazzo marble, Blakes London
Incorporate structural supports
If knocking down walls or extending gives rise to unavoidable structural supports, ask a designer or architect to incorporate them as part of the island design. Doing so minimises their impact and avoids unnecessary obstructions.
Cambia kitchen with Dekton Zenith work surfaces and timber bar, Rational and Open Haus Kitchens
Fitted or freestanding?
Whether it’s in a small room or an open-plan layout, a freestanding island or peninsula will make everything feel more spacious. Select storage-only pieces to prevent plumbing or service outlets spoiling the look.
Sebastian Cox timber kitchen in Inky Blue Black and Natural with aged copper and oak work surfaces, Devol
Get the dimensions right
Top tips from Matt Baker, kitchen designer at Harvey Jones
- If you’re planning to use an island for storage or as a breakfast bar, there is no need for it to be huge. But as a general guide it should be no smaller than 1,200mm long and 600mm deep if it’s to be a workable addition to your kitchen.
- Wide islands are sure to make an impact, but they are not always terribly practical, especially if you can’t reach the middle. Try and make it no deeper than 1,400mm.
- If its primary function is storage, avoid adding a sink and socket tower as these take up valuable cabinet space. A flush- fitted induction hob or built-in pan drawers will make the most of every single inch.
- When adding a breakfast bar, allow for an overhang of 250- 400mm to ensure adequate legroom and make space for bar stools to tuck neatly underneath. Anything deeper than 300mm will require support from legs or brackets, although the thicker the work surface, the larger an unsupported overhang can be.
- I recommend allocating 600mm of space per stool for comfort, but in small rooms this can be reduced to 500mm, particularly for seating that will be used by children.
- If your island is for sitting at as well as for cooking, leave at least 350-400mm between the seating area and the hob for safety’s sake.