No Kitchen Island? No Problem!

Kitchens are the heart of the home, as the place where we prepare food, eat, socialize, do homework, talk to friends, and so much more!  Open plan kitchen designs with more space for free movement between food preparation and entertainment areas are more popular than ever, and kitchen islands often play a key role in this configuration.  They offer a means of separating different work and social zones, offer extra kitchen cabinet storage and counter space, and serve as a style statement in the middle of the room. 

What if your kitchen design doesn’t offer space for an island, or if you prefer a layout with no island?  While islands are often the go to item for a kitchen remodeling project, they are not the only answer. 

What are the key reasons why you may not want to include a kitchen island?

Not enough space!  This is likely the biggest reason why you would leave out the kitchen island.  If your available open space is not about 10 feet wide and 12 feet long, then you probably do not have enough space for an island.  While islands come in all shapes and sizes, put one in that is too small and it will look like you are trying to force a square peg into a round hole.  You are installing an island just because design trends tell you that you must, NOT because it is the right thing to do for your kitchen design.

Installing an island will create a bottleneck.  An experienced kitchen renovation professional will advise on you the right size and shape of island for your room.  What if you look at all the options, and no matter where you put the island you feel it will block key activity in the kitchen?  The main work area between the sink, refrigerator, and stove must be clear, and if your island will block it then including one will create more problems than it will solve.  You may be better off leaving out the island and relying on perimeter counter and kitchen cabinet space, or perhaps including a mobile butcher block that can be wheeled out for extra work space when required.

It's just not your style!  So, everyone else is getting an island installed in their kitchen, but maybe it is not for you.  While an island is a very convenient way to add extra storage and work space, there are plenty of other options for pulling together a cohesive kitchen design that meets these requirements. 

Here are a few ideas for an island-free kitchen design.

1.       A peninsula offers many of the benefits of an island without taking up as much space.  Maybe your kitchen is not wide enough for an island?  Or, perhaps you simply want to keep your options open by leaving enough floor space to hold a dance party in your kitchen.  You never know!  A peninsula offers additional storage and counter space, and also provides a dividing point between the kitchen area and the dining or entertainment space, but does not obstruct floor space in the center of the kitchen.  The design to the right shows a peninsula, while the one below includes a round peninsula intended for casual dining.

2.       A peninsula plus extra wall cabinets takes it one step further.  The kitchen design pictured below uses a peninsula as a natural dividing point, but includes additional wall cabinets to house the double oven and a beverage area. The design further below extends wall cabinets well past the peninsula for even more useful space.  You will not be short of storage in these kitchens!

3.       Clever use of available storage and work space is always important, but especially in a more compact design without an island.  The two designs shown below utilize every corner, surface, shelf, and drawer to make sure there is ample space for storage and work.  A small dining table in each kitchen offers an additional surface to work on when required.

Kitchen islands are an excellent feature, when it makes sense for your home and your kitchen design.  If an island does not fit your space or your style, there are plenty of other ways to meet storage and work space requirements.  Check out our kitchen remodeling gallery for more design inspiration, or contact us today to get started on your project!