How To Choose The Perfect Kitchen Island

ProSource | 9/22/2015 | Expert Advice

According to a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey, 80 percent of home buyers consider a kitchen island desirable or essential. Not only do they provide extra storage and work space, they can boost your kitchen’s style and efficiency. Before you choose an island for your kitchen, there are four essential considerations that will help to ensure you select the one that suits your lifestyle and space.


The shape of your kitchen island should conform to the size of your kitchen and improve, rather than impede, traffic flow. Rectangular kitchen islands are the most common, and work for every kitchen design from coastal to modern.

For small kitchens, where maneuverability is an issue, an oval-shaped island is a good choice.

In open floor plans, a triangle or wedge-shaped island can help to separate the kitchen from the great room. Only the very largest of kitchens can accommodate a horseshoe-shaped island. This shape is also ideal for rooms that offer a panoramic view.


The height of your island should be 30, 36 or 42 inches, and can combine different heights to suit your needs. For instance, you may want one side of the island to be shorter for baking and the other side taller to fit bar height stools.

Your local ProSource Showroom offers expert kitchen design services, and our dedicated designers can help you determine how much space you’ll need between the island and your cabinets and appliances. It may help to mark the space you’re considering with painter’s tape to get a feel for the size and space an island will take up in your kitchen.


Knowing how you’ll use your kitchen island will help you decide the height and style to choose. If you’ll be using it for a combination of activities, even better! Just let your designer know what you spend the most time doing in your kitchen and focus on which design you like best.

Food Prep: A true food prep island should be 36 inches high. You’ll want to include a prep sink and cutting board for convenience. Knife storage is an added bonus.

Baking: If you’ll be using your island to bake, you can go lower – 30 inches is the ideal height for rolling out dough. Be sure to include space underneath to store your mixer!

Eating: 42 inches is the ideal height to accommodate bar stools. This height is also great for open floor plans, as it helps to separate the kitchen from adjoining rooms.

Extra storage: If the main purpose of your kitchen island is storage, choose a 36-inch counter height. A combination of heights can also work here, especially if you’d like to incorporate a wine rack and/or bookcases. Don’t forget to look up! Overhead storage is great for hanging pots and pans.

Entertainment: Is the kitchen your family’s hub of activity? An island can provide a great place to gather, and incorporating the right essentials can make it even more entertainment-worthy! A bar sink, mini-refrigerator, wine cooler, ice maker, and even a dishwasher, are all options to consider for this type of kitchen island.


Whether you prefer an architectural centerpiece, a more traditional table style, a built-in or even a mobile cart, there are many kitchen island designs to choose from. 

Architectural islands typically feature two height levels with bar stools on one side, and counter height on the other. These often include pillars and can serve as the focal point of your kitchen design.

Table style islands look just like they sound – a large kitchen table, completely open underneath. These typically feature a marble countertop.

Built-in islands are ideal for homeowners who need additional out-of-sight storage for small appliances, pots and pans, or dinnerware. A towel bar or hooks can be mounted on the side to store towels, dishrags or even frequently used utensils.

Mobile cart islands are inexpensive and ideal for small kitchens. Whether for extra prep space or storage for little-used items, mobile islands are there when you need them, and out of the way when you don't.

Repurposed islands breathe new life into an old dining table or dresser. Well-aged furniture can bring a vintage touch to your new kitchen. Restore and repurpose an old piece of furniture for a custom island that's perfectly tailored to suit your personal design preference.

Upgraded islands are a practical option for homeowners who have an existing kitchen island that might be outdated. If your island has good structure, you can transform it with a new countertop, hardware, or custom panels. New doors and drawer fronts can give new life to existing storage.

Now that you have an idea of the shape, size, function and design possibilities of your new kitchen island, peruse the inspiration images and add those you like to the myProSource Project Center.

Then visit your local ProSource Showroom to view samples of countertops, cabinets and hardware, and let their dedicated staff put you in touch with a trade pro who can create the perfect kitchen island to suit your needs.

Cabinets Cabinet Hardware Countertops Kitchen Design

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