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Kitchen Island Ideas For Small Kitchens

kitchen island ideas Kitchen Island Ideas For Small Kitchens

Your kitchen is the space where meals are made and conversations are had. Even the smallest kitchens can yield culinary masterpieces. However, when it comes to utilizing space–especially smaller spaces–this area often requires some creative thinking to make sure that everything has a place. Don’t think that just because you have a tiny kitchen that adding an island is out of reach. There are several creative and ingenious ideas that you can use to turn your tiny kitchen into an efficient, multi-functional area.

Benefits of Having an Island (Even in a Small Kitchen)

Take a look around your kitchen. Does it feel like it’s filled to the brim and the mere thought of adding an island seems impossible? If so, then we’ve got news for you. It’s not impossible. There are plenty of ways that you can add another working space to the kitchen without it becoming an eyesore–or even worse, something that hinders rather than helps. Need more convincing? Here are some of the most common benefits:

Extra Space to Organize: When it comes to storing various kitchen items in smaller rooms, it helps to not have everything jammed in one place. Having an island allows you to spread everything between multiple places instead of one. From spices to cooking utensils, everything can have a home inside of the island.

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An Area to Convene or Work: While an island is great for putting the finishing touches on a special meal, they can also be a prime place for to entertain or converse with family and friends.

Improve the Kitchen’s Overall Functionality: Smaller kitchens mean that you have to think about things a little differently. The addition of an island will only improve the overall workflow in the kitchen because there is now a central location to work. Even better, the hassle of creating culinary delights becomes greatly reduced when you aren’t spending time digging through the spices.

How Much Space Do You Really Need?

small kitchen island

Keep in mind that you must know the measurements of the kitchen. This includes the width of countertops. Once you have this information, you will be able to determine how much clearance is needed between the island, appliances, and countertops. It’s recommended to have a minimum of 36 to 42 inches of space around the island. You’ll also need to factor in any appliances with doors. After you have the correct measurements, it will become easier to figure out how wide the island needs to be. If you go too large with the width, then you’ll run into a tight squeeze between yourself and the island. Plus, you could also have an issue with refrigerator and dishwasher doors scraping against the side of the island.

Which Types of Islands Can You Choose From?

Once you have the size requirements figured out, it’s time to decide on which type of island to put into your kitchen. Do you like more of the industrial look with lots of steel? Perhaps a more classical wood finish is more your speed? Whatever your taste is, you have plenty of options to choose from when picking the right island. We have a few suggestions for you to noodle on, which unfortunately have nothing to do with the beach and everything to do with jazzing up a smaller kitchen.

Rolling Cart – This is one of the easiest ways to add mobile storage space to your kitchen. You can either purchase one from a store or give new life to an existing piece of furniture by adding wheels. Thus, creating a brand new island.

rolling cart island

Vintage Cabinetry – Flea markets and yard sales are great places to go when searching for hidden gems. If you enjoy refurbishing older pieces, this might be an option because it gives you the ability to customize it. Quick tip: Look for cabinets and shelves that already have plenty of space for storage.

High Bar Table – Bar tables are not just for pubs. These tables are generally more narrow and serve as the perfect working area to prepare meals. If the space in the kitchen allows for it, stools can be stored on one side, making it pull double duty as a dining room table.

high bar table

Butcher Block Island – This type of island works well as your own personal–and incredibly thick — cutting block. Normally, a butcher block island starts off with a thickness of 4 inches and move up from there. For more functionality, consider adding a towel bar or steel hooks to hang kitchen linens.

Stationary Island with Cabinets – Maybe you prefer to have a solid island that looks more like furniture. There are plenty of beautifully crafted designs available at home improvement stores, which combine storage with style. However, this is usually a more expensive option and may not be the best move for small kitchens. This is especially true if you are one of the many people renting an apartment or condo.

Stationary Island with Cabinets

Combining Appliances with Islands – While it’s normal for some islands to have a stovetop, did you know that you can also add a microwave? For smaller spaces, this is the perfect way to combine storage, utility, and practicality into one, tiny area.

Islands with Drop Seating – If you are willing to give up a little space at the top of the island, part of it can be used as a side table. This is a good option for those who want to have more seating in the kitchen. It’s recommended not to go any lower than 30 inches though since chairs and stools are normally this height.

kitchen island with drop seating


Look around that kitchen of yours again. Do you now see all of the potential in the room? Even the smallest changes in the smallest of spaces can make a big impact. Adding an island into the kitchen will give you more storage along with more room to work. A modern, sleek island will give your kitchen a sleek and refined look. On the flip side, a classical island with a marble top will bring a more warm ambiance. The most important thing to consider when putting an island in your kitchen is to properly measure. As they say, it’s better to “measure twice and cut once”.