What Is the correct size of a kitchen island?

Updated April 17, 2017

Kitchen islands provide extra workspace and sometimes house the cooker hob or a sink. Some islands also have room for bar stools and an eating space. The correct size of a kitchen island depends on its surroundings.


A properly-sized island can make the difference between a functional and an exasperating kitchen. The island affects the kitchen's traffic flow and convenience, and must be carefully planned.

Work aisles

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends that the space between the island and adjacent counters or appliances should be at least 105 cm (42 inches) for one cook and 120 cm (48 inches) for two or more.


Walkways that pass by the island but aren't part of the kitchen workspace should be at least 90 cm (36 inches) wide. If the walkway is behind an island seating area, it should be 110 cm (44 inches) wide for easy passage.

Work Centers

Islands should not interfere with a kitchen's work triangle, an imaginary line from the hob to the sink to the refrigerator. The NKBA says cooks should not have to walk more than a 30 cm (1 foot) around the island to get from one work area to another.

Expert insight

Tim Carter, a builder and nationally syndicated columnist, suggests the maximum island size should be 1.8 m (6 feet) deep and 3 m (10 feet) long.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Nickelaid is an editor and writer with more than 20 years' experience in the newspaper industry. She has won state and national awards for headline writing and has collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Wake Forest University.