Kitchen Countertop Design: Choosing the Right Layout
Today’s modern kitchens are bright, spacious and airy. Many homeowners create additional counter space by having a kitchen island or peninsula built. Both options are extremely functional, stylish, help make the most of your space, and help create a sense of flow in open-plan layouts.
If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen and can’t choose between a kitchen island and a peninsula, keep reading; we’ll answer your questions and help you decide.
What is a kitchen island?
A kitchen island is a freestanding workspace that can match your existing kitchen design or contrast with it. Many people use their kitchen island for extra seating with bar stools; in this case, the island often serves as an informal dining option. Kitchen islands sometimes include interior storage options for pots, pans and cooking appliances. However, they’re usually made with a large slab of natural stone.
Kitchen islands traditionally came in the form of wooden farm tables. They became popular in farmhouses, giving the cook the extra space required for food preparation while also providing an informal family dining area.
Today, kitchen islands are used for similar purposes, but they have also been used as a statement design piece more recently. Kitchen islands can be built with the same materials as the countertops and cabinets or a completely different material for a modern, eclectic kitchen.
What is a kitchen peninsula?
A kitchen peninsula juts out from the counter or wall and doesn’t stand alone as an island does. It creates a centerpiece without taking up space. Kitchen peninsulas are accessible from three sides (as opposed to an island, which you can access from all four sides) and can serve as an extension of the kitchen’s layout. Peninsulas are popular in large open kitchens as they can help separate spaces and in smaller kitchens that don’t have enough room for a stand-alone island.
Is a kitchen island better than a peninsula?
Kitchen islands are among the most popular elements in today’s modern kitchens. Peninsulas became popular in the early 1970s, during a time when family dining was becoming less formal. Today, some new homeowners are beginning to favor an open layout over more surface and storage space options. However, if your kitchen isn’t very big, you may want to consider a more modern-style kitchen peninsula instead of the traditional U-shaped one.
From a design perspective, kitchen islands offer homeowners much more choice. Peninsulas are usually designed to match existing cabinet space and create a sense of cohesion. If the other countertops are made of a natural stone like marble, blending the materials will be difficult, and the homeowners will likely need to replace all the countertops. This limitation of design choices is not an issue with kitchen islands as they can work well as mismatched statement pieces or as part of one cohesive look.
Which kitchen layout is the most functional?
When weighing up the pros and cons of islands versus peninsulas, it can help remember what’s called the “work triangle.” This triangle refers to the sink, stove, and refrigerator and is preserved by an effectively designed kitchen.
The sum of the distance between these three elements should be no more than 26 feet, and no “leg” of the work triangle should be under four feet or over nine feet. Ideally, this triangle shouldn’t be blocked by something bulky like a dishwasher or refrigerator. This concept sounds complicated, but you can use these measurements to ensure that your kitchen island won’t disrupt the flow among the work triangle’s points. A properly designed kitchen offers enough room and a clear path for people to move among these three design elements.
A kitchen island creates a circular flow of “traffic,” allowing family and guests to be involved in the kitchen activity without getting in the cook’s way. A kitchen island may be a more attractive option for those with an open house where friends and family often gather.
Does a kitchen island add value?
From a resale perspective, well-designed and well-installed kitchen islands often add value to a home. If a designer follows the work triangle measurements and there’s plenty of space for movement, prospective buyers will likely be attracted to the island due to its functionality and current popularity. Kitchen islands allow for more flexibility than kitchens without islands; they provide additional food prep surfaces and space for additional outlets and appliances.
The age range of people actively working to buy a home lies between 25 and 34 years old, and according to the 2017 US Houzz Study , millennial homeowners are more likely to install kitchen islands. You may get a better price for your home if you choose to install an island, particularly if you use high-quality material like quartz, limestone or granite.
While kitchen islands are an attractive option for new buyers, it’s worth noting that new appliances are another way to add value to your home. While the upfront cost may seem like a lot, new stainless appliances are far cheaper to install than a new island or peninsula. New appliances can also attract a wider range of buyers, rather than a niche selection of people with more specific tastes.
Is a kitchen island worth it?
The value of kitchen islands and peninsulas depends on the room’s size and what it is used for. If you host regular get-togethers and enjoy guests flowing in and out of your kitchen, a kitchen island can be a good option. It’s a great way to informalize the process of cooking, serving and eating, so it’s a popular option for large families or those with young children.
However, a peninsula can work regardless of kitchen size. Even if you don’t have a big, open kitchen and prefer to focus on storage space, you can opt for a shorter peninsula. Or, if you have a large, open plan kitchen, peninsulas can help separate areas so that there’s a distinct difference between the cooking area and the rest of the home.
In short, a kitchen island is worth it for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen and want to encourage other household members to do so. A kitchen with an island is inherently more social than a kitchen without an island and is often favored by those who prefer the communal aspects of cooking and eating.
Kitchen Island vs Peninsula: Which choice is right for my home?
Each kitchen and family will have their own requirements, just as kitchen islands and peninsulas have pros and cons. To make the decision easier, here are a few questions to answer:
- Is your kitchen wide and long enough to fit an island (at least 2x4ft in size) and have plenty of room to move around it? If not, a peninsula may be the better option.
- Do you want to sit and eat at your addition or use it primarily as a worktop? Both can work, but peninsulas at the edge of the kitchen work well as a breakfast bar.
- Are there any other rooms off of your kitchen? If so, an island may work best because it won’t disrupt traffic flow as much as a peninsula.
- Are you remodeling or renovating your kitchen? If you’re keeping your current layout, adding a new island may be easier than trying to add a peninsula to your current kitchen.
- Do you need additional storage space and somewhere to eat? An island will likely offer the best of both worlds.
- Do you want to keep the feel of a large open kitchen? While peninsulas offer versatility in terms of space, islands can make better use of the space. Peninsulas tend to create “dead space” in the corners of the room, while an island moves the focus into the middle of the room.
- Are you working on a budget? The average installation cost for a kitchen island is around $101 per square foot, while a kitchen peninsula costs about $90 per square foot.
There’s plenty to consider when figuring out how to refresh your kitchen, from countertop materials and window sizes to lighting and color schemes. But you don’t have to do it all alone! At Skipp, we can help you build your ideal kitchen at a portion of the cost.
Whether you’ve been dreaming of a big, modern kitchen with an island or a cozy, beach house-style kitchen with a peninsula, we’re here to help. We want to save you the hassle of having lengthy consultations, meetings, measurements while saving you money on your dream kitchen.