Designing Kitchen Islands and Peninsulas

Islands and peninsulas increase efficiency and let people prepare, cook, and clean up while looking out into the room, rather than at a wall.


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One of the main attractions of islands and peninsulas is their versatility: Use them for meal preparation, then clean them off to make a snack bar for informal eating. As a room divider, a kitchen island or peninsula becomes a self-service buffet for a party. They are also popular sites for a cooktop and a second sink.

An island works well in U-shape and L-shape kitchens, shortening the distance between work centers and directing traffic outside the work core. Don't install an island in a kitchen where work areas are on opposite walls. Leave at least 42 inches of walk space on all sides of the island.

Unlike a freestanding island, a kitchen peninsula has one short end attached at a right angle to a wall or bank of cabinets. A peninsula is just as versatile as an island, but it doesn't require as much floor space.

Kitchen Design Tips

  • An island or peninsula designed with several workstations is ideal for two or more cooks.
  • Moving the sink to an island or peninsula is not that complicated or expensive if you have a basement with accessible plumbing.
  • In large kitchens, islands are an ideal spot for task-specific countertops, such as butcher block for chopping or marble for rolling out pastry dough.
  • Think twice before installing an electrical outlet on an island or peninsula. It's too easy for children to pull on cords and bring a small appliance, such as a mixer or hot skillet, down on top of them. If you must have such an outlet, locate it away from the traffic flow and supervise the area when using an appliance plugged into it.

Create a Clever DIY Island
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