how to plan a kitchen island: this marble kitchen island was planned in at design stage

How to plan a kitchen island

All the tips and tricks you need to create a feature that is the star of your new scheme

By Paula Woods | 12 October 2021

An island can be a huge asset for preparing food, eating meals or even working from home. But to get the most from it you need to know how to plan a kitchen island. Start by deciding exactly how you will use it, then consider its dimensions, position in the room and the practical features you need.

Retrofitting an island

Retrofitting is possible if the island is simply for storage or seating. But for a multifunctional design that includes a sink or electrical appliances, plan it from scratch at the outset of a scheme. If that’s not possible, fit the island before any flooring goes down to allow for the installation of pipework and power supply. 

Large island with sink at the centre of a modern kitchen

Q Line kitchen in Tempesta Ceramica and Diamante Ceramica, Mereway

The work surface

A marble or stone work surface may require joining if your kitchen island is longer than 3m. Therefore, using two different surfaces for an interesting contrast can look stylish while also disguising the joins. Composite work surfaces, on the other hand, provide a seam-free finish no matter what the size of the island.

contrasting work surfaces on your kitchen island are ideal for zoning

Island with Belgian Black limestone and maple work surfaces, Mowlem & Co

Adaptable layout

A mobile unit with lockable castors is a versatile island option for a small or open-plan space. Move it closer to the oven or sink for food prep, or to make room for an extended dining table. It’s ideal for a busy family kitchen.  

a moveable kitchen island on castors is ideal for a flexible kitchen space

Moveable island with a Carrara marble work surface, Blakes London

Kitchen island lighting   

Use pendants to draw attention to an island or peninsula. They double up as task and mood lighting when fitted with a dimmer. Also, consider adding LED strips beneath an overhanging work surface in order to create a lovely ambient glow in your kitchen. 

Cone pendants in pewter and copper above a kitchen island lend an industrial chic vibe

Brooklyn cone pendants in pewter and copper, from Industville