Kitchen Islands – Is Bigger Always Better?

Holiday entertainment season has just past, and there’s nothing more handy than a kitchen island for extra to prep and serve all of those special dishes. If you don’t have one, I bet at some time over the holiday you wish you did.They are often the darlings of TV kitchen makeovers and a much requested item on homeowners remodeling list. I recently read an article from the LA Times that suggested that Kitchen islands are getting bigger and better. That may be fine… but I wonder?

Detail of the kitchen island HGTV Dream Home Lake Tahoe

 What makes an ideal kitchen island? Here are some of my thoughts

A few years ago, my daughters and I took a trip to Lake Tahoe to visit the HGTV Dream Home. It was beyond incredible, let me tell you (go here, and here to see my posts. The kitchen included this incredible island. It checked all the right boxes for me. It was massive, big enough to prepare food and entertain at the same time. It seats 5 comfortably with plenty of room for guests to eat while the cook puts on the finishing touches to the meal or prepares the next course.

This is a huge island, but its’ mass is in the length not width – another plus in my book. I’ve seen some islands that I would have to crawl on top of it to clean the center. Below

I also like the workflow of this kitchen. With the cooktop centered in the island, it’s only steps away from the sink, the fridge and the ovens. Convenient, don’t you think? Compare it to the kitchen below – another HGTV Dream Home. Here, the island interrupts the flow of the work triangle. It’s smack dab in the middle of the fridge/oven wall and the stove/sink. The cook would spend a lot of time walking around that island to prepare a meal. Would that bother you?

I’ve personally cooked in the kitchen below, and although the island is in the center of the work triangle, its’ dimensions are small enough not to impede the flow. I also like the fact that the separate butcher block cart can be moved to extend the island top or make a convenient extra work surface along the side counters.

Here’s another idea. The extension can be pulled out or tucked away, depending upon your needs. I like that flexibility.

Remember the Tahoe Dream Home island? It had lots of usable space surrounding the cooktop. I would much prefer that to the island below. How about you?

Is bigger really better? I’m suggesting that size is important, but there are so many more factors to consider.  What do you think? Do you have an island or planning one? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you’re considering a new home or kitchen remodel, the photo gallery in the LA Times article has tons of inspiration and information.

Until next time…


Images: 3,4& 6, 



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2 thoughts on “Kitchen Islands – Is Bigger Always Better?

  1. I agree with you about the island that is so deep you could hardly reach it for cleaning. If I had that, the center would always be dusty! And, of course, a good designer would consider an efficient work triangle. I do love that yellow kitchen with the extendable work space. It puts the fun in functional 🙂

    • Julie,the efficient work triangle is always first and foremost in my mind when I design a kitchen. I see many kitchens that don’t seem to adhere to the principles and I wonder how the homeowners like the plan. Maybe they like getting all those extra steps in, huh?

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