You don't need a large kitchen to accommodate an island. A small, slender island design can boost your storage and work space and ensure efficient traffic flow in the slimmest amount of square footage.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends leaving at least 36 inches on all sides of an island to accommodate traffic. Keep in mind, you'll need to plan for more space if you want your island to include seating. On average, small kitchen islands are standard counter height (36 inches tall) and are about 48 inches wide.
When kitchen space is at a premium, sometimes the built-in look can be overwhelming -- but kitchen islands don't have to be huge to be hardworking. A small island design with open storage below will give your kitchen a spacious feel, while still providing a work area and space to stow cooking essentials. Try mounting a towel bar on the side of a small island for towels and dishrags or hang hooks to keep utensils on hand. Bonus: A petite island lets you pack a punch with luxurious materials and creative storage solutions for a fraction of the cost.
No matter the size or shape of your kitchen, additional work space is always a bonus. A vintage table can be a good small-space island alternative. When using repurposed furniture, make sure the material is durable enough to double as prep and dining space. Butcher block is a popular small-island material, but you can also replace an original tabletop with a slab of solid-surface countertop.
In lieu of a fixed-in-place kitchen island, try a mobile island. A rolling cart is a good design option for small kitchens because it can be moved anywhere for an instant work space and can be simply tucked away when it's not in use. Look for a small cart with locking rubber wheels so it will stay in place during meal prep.
Make the most of limited kitchen space with a hardworking island design. A small bi-level island is an excellent permanent design option that offers both prep space and seating within the kitchen. A bi-level island also offers a convenient buffet area for casual dining and entertaining.
A restaurant-style prep table provides a simple work space with a lower level for storage. While a prep table is not a permanent kitchen element, it is heavy enough to stay in place.