Kitchen Design

Kitchens without islands – 7 alternatives to the conventional island

There was a time when kitchen islands, these usually giant and really costly items of furnishings, have been the ultimate piece of your kitchen design puzzle. In case you owned a big room and had loads of area to play with then an island was deemed nearly sacred to the area.

However kitchen design is an ever-evolving craft and naturally, nearly all of us merely would not have an enormous space to put a big island inside, nor the price range, so what are the options?

Kitchen islands by their very nature, want a considerable amount of flooring area, which may have a knock-on impact on the move of a busy kitchen making a bottleneck for family and friends and visually demanding all the eye. So, what else may you contemplate as an alternative of defaulting to a small kitchen island and what in case your kitchen merely isn’t sufficiently big? We now have sought out seven stunning and helpful variations to designing a kitchen that doesn’t characteristic an island.


Awkward or small kitchen layouts aren’t at all times capable of accommodate giant or cumbersome kitchen islands, however when you may assume choices could be restricted for small kitchen ideas, these smaller areas usually transform way more ergonomically environment friendly.

Not all kitchens want a conventional island, however even for those who nonetheless desire a area for prep and eating, you may discover you could flip even essentially the most unassuming desk or butcher’s block into a classy island with out the bulkiness of price related to one.

In case you revisit a few of your favourite kitchen ideas, it’s more likely to embrace a plethora of beautiful kitchens, with out islands. Right here, designers share a few of the most-loved seems to encourage your subsequent kitchen remodel.

1. Go For A Galley Or U-Formed Structure

kitchens without islands with green cabinets and stone countertop

(Picture credit score: Studio M.E)

Think about the ‘golden triangle’ of your kitchen as the muse. The golden triangle, or ‘working triangle’, establishes the important thing positioning of the fridge, the range, and the sink as the basic foundation on your kitchen design.

LA-based inside designer, Meghan Eisenberg of Studio M.E(opens in new tab) believes {that a} galley kitchen is a superb various for a smaller kitchen the place an island merely is not going to match, she explains:

‘Whereas giant islands are en vogue, don’t underestimate the fantastic thing about a small galley or U-shaped kitchen. If designed with the golden triangle in thoughts, narrow kitchens are the popular selection of cooks who recognize the convenience of move between fridge, range, and sink. Aesthetically talking, the important thing to designing smaller kitchens is to maintain the design easy and simple for the attention to know.”

2. Decide For A Freestanding Desk

Period kitchen with tiled floor, yellow painted cabinets and rustic dining table and chairs

(Picture credit score: British Normal by Plain English)

It’s key to contemplate essentially the most appropriate format choices on your kitchen relying on the dimensions and form. Motion across the kitchen and models ought to be straightforward, so attempting to squeeze in an island if the area doesn’t lend itself to this format will finally impression the performance of the area.

If you must use your kitchen as a eating room, think about using a eating or work desk instead of an island. A desk could be utilized as each social area, and extra workspace, particularly if it has drawer storage as nicely.

Merlin Wright, design director at Plain English(opens in new tab), explains: ‘Islands could be cabinetry constructed proper all the way down to the ground to comprise storage and home equipment however this may create a considerably cumbersome and over-fitted look so an alternate could possibly be to make use of as an alternative a desk or a worktable. A eating desk is seating peak whereas a worktable is full-height. The benefit of the worktable is that it has the visible lightness of a desk whereas the additional peak permits area for beneficiant drawers and perhaps a slatted shelf for storing pans and platters beneath. Worktables may also be constructed with overhangs or empty bays for stools.’

3. Think about A Peninsula Possibility

Kitchen peninsula with green tiled backsplash

(Picture credit score: Bare Kitchens)

‘A kitchen peninsula‘, explains Elizabeth Sherwin, artistic director at Naked Kitchens(opens in new tab), ‘is a implausible various because it gives lots of the identical advantages as a standalone island. Totally different from a freestanding island, kitchen peninsulas provide three sides of workspace, with one finish hooked up to a wall or counter, usually forming an L-shape which makes them a fantastic choice for narrower floorplans.’

A peninsula design will present further work surfaces, in addition to room for kitchen storage and seating, and can act as a room divider between the kitchen and dwelling areas.

4. Prioritize A Good Structure

Neutral kitchen with black cabinets

(Picture credit score: British Normal )

Deciding what’s the finest format on your kitchen will make sure you benefit from the area that you’ve. If area is proscribed, contemplate various shapes for the kitchen fairly than merely including an island.

Right here an L-shaped kitchen ensures all the pieces is simple to entry and retains the move of the kitchen open and pure. A small desk, that may be propped towards the wall however can even accommodate chairs, is a superb various to an island in a small kitchen and the L-shape ensures that the utmost quantity of storage and workspace has been utilized.

5. Set Up A Banquette

Small dining room with banquette seating and row of three rattan pendants

(Picture credit score: Barlow & Barlow)

Banquette seating gives a wide range of options in a modern kitchen or kitchen-diner and offers a enjoyable factor to the design.

Inbuilt seating, which may add a classy factor of colour and sample in a kitchen setting, will save area and is a key various to an island in a smaller kitchen.

The eating space doubles up as kitchen preparation area and a built-in bench can present a considerable amount of further storage beneath the seats.

6. Select A Breakfast Bar Over An Island

Breakfast bar storage ideas

(Picture credit score: H. Miller Bros.)

Breakfast bars provide comparable benefits to an island as they supply further storage and worksurface they usually function a symbolic separation between the kitchen and eating space whereas nonetheless permitting sociable interplay between cook dinner and company.

Liz Beal, design affiliate at Goddard Littlefair(opens in new tab), says: ‘Islands can even disrupt the move of a kitchen, which serves a sensible objective in your house. In case you are pushing previous individuals in a congested space, or it is tough to wash or sit, the usability of the area turns into compromised. A glossy breakfast bar for small kitchens will present an area to socialize in addition to eat and in-built options, similar to a window banquette can even add a fantastic personalised dimension to your kitchen to make it distinctive.’

7. Substitute A Conventional Island With Salvaged Piece

Red country kitchen with farmhouse table

(Picture credit score: Plain English)

When planning a kitchen, it’s at all times very tempting to go for a kitchen island if you’re lucky sufficient to have the area for one. However far too usually, islands can really feel like a monolithic obstruction in the midst of the room.

Nonetheless, you’ll be able to take a unique method to typical island concepts: a farmhouse desk. ‘This may be all it takes to stop kitchens feeling too fitted, whereas additionally proving extraordinarily helpful,’ says Merlin Wright, design director, Plain English(opens in new tab).

‘The addition of any freestanding piece is a chance so as to add texture and selection as a counterpoint to the kitchen’s fitted cabinets, be they classic, vintage, or very crisp and fashionable; all add curiosity and persona.’

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