What is a Kitchen Island?

What is a Kitchen Island?

The kitchen island. An icon of the kitchen and a showstopper in many bespoke homes. But what is a kitchen island and what does it bring to the kitchen?

Key Summary

A kitchen island is a centrally placed, freestanding unit in your kitchen. It will feature a solid benchtop of your choice, but underneath it may have storage, appliances, seating, plumbing, wiring—or all of the above.

what is a kitchen island

A kitchen island will feature a solid benchtop of your choice, but underneath may have storage, appliances, seating, plumbing, wiring—or all of the above.

Kitchen islands tend to be placed at hip height and are made of a wide range of materials. The top of an island is often made of wood, stainless steel, tiles, natural and engineered stone, laminate or polished concrete.

Not every kitchen will have an island, but they are a hallmark of many contemporary homes and cooking spaces today. Since their introduction in the 1940s, people grew to love the design flexibility that island benches afforded their living spaces.

Kitchen Island vs Kitchen Peninsula: What’s the Difference?

A kitchen island is different to a kitchen peninsula, while they both add space, they have different constructions.

Kitchen Island

A kitchen island is free to walk around on all four sides. It gives more flow and access to a kitchen area.

Kitchen Peninsula

A kitchen peninsula will have one side attached to a wall or kitchen cabinets. Peninsulas work better in particularly compact kitchens compared to kitchen islands.

How are Kitchen Islands used in Kitchen Renovations?

Kitchen countertop

An island bench is used for many things, from cooking to eating, homework and work. It acts as a central hub for socialising and organising the home and provides a large, easily cleaned bench space.


The kitchen island is also a subtle room divider, without the need for a wall. They help to create zones in an open plan space.


One of the most valued features that a kitchen island offers is storage space. Whether you use open shelving or closed cupboards, draws or racks, an island gives you space to stash.

What Are the Advantages of Having a Kitchen Island?

There are many advantages to installing a kitchen island, including:

  • Design: The classic shape is a large rectangle, but a kitchen island need not be a monolith. They can be composed of varying volumes, shapes and features to complement your home.
  • Versatility: There are many choices when it comes to kitchen island design, including rectangles, squares or circles. Light fixtures can add depth and an extra layer of sophistication.
  • Functionality: provide a vast space for food prep, with additional storage space below. Others feature integrated sinks, ovens and cooktops, or adjacent seating for informal meals.
  • Open plan living: Today, the kitchen island is a great focal point and gathering hub. It’s for socialising and working, where living space blends into a food preparation area.
  • Size: More petite-sized islands work for small spaces, including apartment living, and a larger size suits a grander kitchen that may even connect to a butler’s pantry.

Discerning homeowners and leading designers understand the aesthetic power that a perfectly balanced island delivers a thoughtful kitchen design.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Kitchen Islands?

There are two main considerations if you are thinking about installing a kitchen island:

  • Installation: you may need an array of professionals to bring a kitchen island to life. A carpenter can do the bulk of the work but depending on your choice of design, a plumber, electrician and stonemason may also need to be involved.
  • Size: it is important to get the proportion of a kitchen island correct, too large is difficult to navigate. There is no one size fits all when it comes to kitchen islands so consult an expert to ensure it will take up just the right amount of space.

Speak to the Kitchen Renovation Experts

Do you need help deciding how to use a kitchen island or breakfast bar in your renovation? We can help! Contact our expert team of kitchen renovation experts at Mint kitchen group.

Find out more about Mint kitchen renovations

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