Space requirements for a kitchen island

How much space is needed for a kitchen island?

Island kitchen designs are extremely popular and certainly the most sought after kitchen layout.  A well-designed kitchen island can be highly effective in creating a smooth workflow and functional kitchen space.  With careful planning a kitchen island should provide added ‘break out’ workspace, extra storage facilities and even an informal gathering site.  Apart from such practicalities, kitchen islands are also incredibly stylish!  But at LWK Kitchens one of our most frequently asked questions from clients is,

‘Will an island fit my kitchen space?’

A standard size kitchen island is 1000mm x 2000mm.  Smaller kitchen islands can also work, but there are some key considerations that must be taken into account to ensure an effective fit, together with practical use.

Kitchen island planning essentials

Firstly, your kitchen island should work in harmony with your natural preparation and work processes.  As the well-known philosophy goes… Form follows function!  And when planning your kitchen island you need to consider the functionality of this area. Eg. Will there be integrated appliances, a breakfast bar area with chairs, and/or different work levels? If so, how do they relate to the sequence of actions around the kitchen without creating void areas?   The area surrounding the kitchen island must also be safe and accessible. It should allow ease of movement around the kitchen and between units. This area is known as your clearance zone; the clearance zone takes into consideration how much space you have to work with and how you use your kitchen.

Whilst kitchen units vary in size, they must be in proportion with the kitchen island clearance zone and walkway.

Kitchen island clearance jpg

The recommended walkway and clearance zones for a kitchen island fit jpg


For a functional island kitchen walkway and workflow area we recommend the following:-

  •  A minimum kitchen island size of: 1000mm x 1000mm
    Please note for a kitchen island of this size, a sink or hob would not be recommended due to safety requirements and a lack of practicality. Gas safety regulations state a minimum of 300mm is required from the end of the hob to the end of the worktop on both sides. Induction hob needs 150mm on either side, so this simply doesn’t leave space for a 600mm hob.
  • Recommended distance around the kitchen island: 1000mm
    This is the average size recommended for ease of manoeuvre around a kitchen island.  It allows drawers and appliances such as dishwashers and ovens to open clear of obstruction.  Finally, these dimensions should provide ample space for two or more people to safely and comfortably work in the kitchen at the same time.
  • Minimum distance around the kitchen island: 800mm
    This is the minimum amount of space required to retain comfortable and fluid access to kitchen units, and for a maximum of two people to pass one another in the walkway.   However these minimal dimensions can produce a tight fit for the opening of oven doors and drawers.  As such you should be sure to leave room for the ‘busy’ movements around the kitchen.
  • Maximum distance around the kitchen island: 1350mm
    Whilst sufficient space is essential and offers flexibility within the kitchen space, clearance of more than 1350mm is unnecessary and will break up the ease of work flow.

The above considerations are key for achieving an efficient and functional island kitchen design.  Take note of the recommended measurements and if space permits you can achieve a stunning, purpose designed area that will meet all of your needs and bring you immense enjoyment in using your kitchen.


For further assistance in planning a kitchen island please contact LWK Kitchens. 





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  1. says

    Great post!! Our island bench is pretty much the center of the house and we don’t know how we properly functioned without one before we renovated our kitchen. One thing Im pleased we did was buck the trend of putting the sink on the island bench. We had it installed on the wall side and altough it gave us less room around the stove there is nothing worse than sitting around the island bench with friends and the washing up as well.

    • says

      Thanks for the message. And you’re so right about the sink! …If a kitchen island is intended as a social area or working space then you definitely want to avoid putting a sink here. Great to hear your design is such a success and you enjoy it so much! Jen

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