Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. See SoFi.com/eligibility for details. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., Licensed by the Departament of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License. *https://www.sofi.com/legal#welcome-bonus

If you wish to install a kitchen island, it should be well-planned so as to lend maximum functionality and comfort to your cooking space. Not only should the island enable proper workflow and traffic, but it should also offer proper work space for dining, food prep, and storage. An unplanned, improperly sized, and a disproportionate island can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Therefore, if you’re considering an island, check out the below kitchen island size guidelines and ensure that you have enough space to go for this category of kitchen layouts.

However, before proceeding, let’s make it clear that large kitchens are not the only candidates for kitchen islands. With creativity and the right research, you can fit an island even in a small kitchen. You can get customized sets with lesser depth and personalized height — equipped with cabinets to suit the design of your room.

Now, let us check what are the major kitchen island size guidelines that one should follow when deciding to buy a set for his/her home.

Measure your clearance zone

The basic factor that any homeowner must take into consideration before purchasing a kitchen island is to measure the dimensions of the room.

For example, if you own a rectangular kitchen layout, measuring 16½ feet x 19¾ feet (width x length), then the cabinets, most likely, will be placed against one of the walls. The maximum protruding length of the cabinets from the back of the wall to the front shall be around 25 inches. Now, when you install the island, the space between the two working areas is termed as the clearance zone.

The perfect width of this clearance zone should be approximately 3 feet. Only then, you will be able to move safely and freely within the kitchen.

Think about safety

The right amount of clearance also determines your levels of safety. You need to check if you can open all the doors, drawers and ovens easily without any obstruction. If there’s not enough space and the doors are open, you may trip, fall, and hurt yourself.

Note: The minimum allowable distance between two fully extended drawers is 3 feet.

How to Choose the Right Kitchen Island Lighting? Let’s find out!

Island size for a small kitchen

When you own limited kitchen space, you cannot get a huge island. It will look odd and shall be quite unsafe, cramped, and uncomfortable. You can get islands in various sizes and shapes. However, the minimum recommended dimensions of a fixed kitchen island is around 40 x 40 inches. You may think that an island donning this size is small. But, in fact, it’s quite practical and offers the options of integrated appliances as well as enough counter space.

An island designed with this size demands a minimum clearance zone of 31½ inches of space. Do note that this layout is perfect only to allow one working person at a time. Two or more individuals working in the kitchen would not be advisable.

Read more: Smart Small Kitchen Island Ideas For Your House

Consider functionality

When you have a small kitchen, always plan the island so that it includes multiple functionalities. For example, try to incorporate seating, drawer storage, proper workspace, an induction cooktop, or maybe wine storage as well. Clever accessories such as overhead pendant lights with an extractor can save a lot of space.

Ensure that your island is proportional

On average, kitchen islands measure about 3 by 6½ feet long and 3 feet deep. According to recommendations, you should opt for a clearance zone of around 40 inches. However, this size is just a standard. For larger rooms, you can go for larger islands. Again, a huge island inside a small kitchen would make it look aesthetically unpleasant. Therefore, hire a professional designer who will guide you through the perfect size.

Yes, proportions are important. If the dimensions of the island don’t match those of your kitchen, you will end up with an impractical kitchen design that lends inefficient workflow and traffic. Again, too much space for the clearance zone (more than 4 feet) means that the gap seems too wide and empty.

Kitchen island size for a galley layout

Many homeowners also opt for a galley kitchen layout because of their comfort levels and ease of use. When this design is well-executed, you can install the island in such a manner so that you have quick, effortless access to all work surfaces, cupboards, and appliances.

Now, if the clearance measures more than 4 feet, you might have to travel quite a lot between the island’s work spaces and other areas. This, in turn, shall make your tasks tedious and difficult.

Consider the size of the countertop

Stove Top Kitchen IslandImage by Solomon Rodgers from Pixabay (CC0)

Apart from considering the size of an island and whether it will fit inside your kitchen space, consider the countertop size as well. Certain countertop materials specify maximum size limits. Hence, you need to ensure that the countertop also fits on the island and within your room before you decide to order one for your home.

Consider other alternatives

If you have decided to get a kitchen island but your small kitchen just won’t allow it, then it’s time to think about alternatives. Look around the room and think of means to change the layout and open up more space. Maybe, you need to take down a wall or add another compartment.

Since the above steps are expensive and not feasible at all times, consider other options. What about butcher blocks, moving islands, and trolleys? These alternatives are not only striking and inexpensive than a fixed island but also offer functionality. Some features include extra storage, workspaces, and mobility.


When it comes to kitchen island size guidelines, there are so many different layouts, shapes, and dimensions to choose from. You may go for an island with a raised breakfast bar or a kitchen peninsula instead of a full island. The latter offers almost all the same benefits as a kitchen island. But is a more practical and functional option, especially for a small kitchen.

So did you think that our collection of kitchen island size guidelines are useful? If yes, do let us know which tips you are going to apply in your next kitchen remodel project!

Read more: Buying Kitchen Trash Compactor? Know How

Kitchen Island Size Guidelines: All You Need To Know was last modified: January 23rd, 2020 by Anisha Dutta

Need a Contractor?

Get contractors to call you back

Pick a pro for me