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Kitchen Islands: Is Bigger Always Better?


Kitchen Islands: Is Bigger Always Better?

June 29, 2021
Photo: Iriana Shiyan |

Kitchen islands continue to take on more jobs as their popularity grows, from a casual spot to eat and prep food to an all-encompassing work station. There are many considerations when designing a kitchen island, from the shape to the finishes, but size is one of the most important. Design firm Housing Design Matters says a three-seater island was large enough before, but is it today? A bigger island might not always be better, the firm warns. One massive island the team stumbled upon was so large that the homeowners could not reach the center of it, rendering a large chunk of the island useless.

Let’s think about that for a minute. What good is it to have a giant island if you can’t reach the middle of it? That means you can’t use it for setting out food for a buffet. You can’t pass food from one side to the other side without running laps – unless you use a croupier’s stick (like in roulette). About the only thing you could do is place a large decorative “thing” that never needs dusting.

Speaking of dusting, let’s think about how to clean the worthless middle of the island. You could use a Swiffer wet jet – oh – but not the same one you use to mop the floor. You could stand on a stool and move it around the island as you clean. Or you could get up on the island on your hands and knees and clean it that way – which is just demeaning.

But everyone wants a seat at the island, you say. I think the key must be a combination of size and shape. One builder used an extra-long, rectangular island to create multiple seating opportunities.

Another builder created a T-shaped island to create conversational seating around the island.

Having an opening the sides provides additional seating in a manageably-sized island.

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