Kitchen Remodeling: To Island or Not to Island?

An updated kitchen with a large island that seats 4.

Did you know that kitchen islands originated in farmhouses and rural kitchens centuries ago?

Today, they’ve become a focal point in modern kitchen design. These central pieces are increasingly desirable among homebuyers, especially among those who fall into millennial and generation X categories. And countless realtors say that homes with kitchen islands sell faster and for a higher price than homes without.

Despite all of these facts, just because other people put islands in their kitchens doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Should you island or not island? Let’s go through the pros and cons.

Advantages of Kitchen Islands

Kitchen islands help sell houses, as we already noted above. But what are the other reasons to incorporate one into your kitchen remodel?

Kitchen islands provide:

  • More counter space: Kitchen islands provide valuable additional countertop space, ideal for food prep, cooking, and serving, especially in larger kitchens where counter space may be limited.
  • Storage solutions: Many kitchen islands feature built-in cabinets, drawers, or shelves. That means more storage space for cookware, utensils, and pantry items, helping to keep the kitchen organized and clutter-free. And there’s no such thing as too much storage.
  • Versatile functionality: Kitchen islands serve as versatile workstations that can accommodate a variety of activities, from meal preparation to casual dining to crafting to homework sessions. Simply spread out and enjoy.
  • A central gathering space: When entertaining guests, it’s common to find people gathered around the island in the kitchen. It serves as an ideal place for multiple people to mingle, eat, drink, or do other social activities.

Disadvantages of Kitchen Islands

If you’re on the fence about adding a kitchen island to your remodeling plans, we’re guessing it’s likely because of one of these reasons:

  • Space constraints: You’ve got to work with the space you have. In smaller kitchens, a large kitchen island can overwhelm the space and make it feel cramped and crowded, hindering traffic flow and functionality.
  • Cost considerations: Kitchen islands can be a significant investment, both in terms of materials and labor. The cost varies widely depending on factors such as size, style, and features.
  • Maintenance challenges: Kitchen islands require regular upkeep to keep them looking their best, from cleaning spills and stains to maintaining the finish of the countertop, which can be more challenging than standard countertops and cabinets.
  • Design dilemmas: Incorporating a kitchen island into your remodel requires careful planning. Consider the overall design aesthetic to ensure the island complements the existing style and layout of the kitchen, rather than detracting from it. Also, where you decide to put the island should improve workflow and functionality, and that’s not always possible in some kitchens.

Is a Kitchen Island Right for You?

The decision to include a kitchen island in your remodel depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the layout of your kitchen. If you have ample space and budget, a kitchen island can enhance the functionality and aesthetics of your kitchen. But if space is limited or if the cost outweighs the benefits, you might want to ditch having an island and explore other options.

So, what are those potential alternative solutions? Instead of a kitchen island, you could have a:


A peninsula is similar to an island but is connected to the main countertop or wall, creating an L-shaped layout. It offers additional counter space and storage while maintaining an open feel in smaller kitchens.

Mobile Kitchen Cart

A mobile kitchen cart provides flexibility and versatility, allowing you to move it around as needed for extra prep space or serving areas. It’s ideal for smaller kitchens or renters who want the benefits of an island without the permanence.

Wall-Mounted Shelving

Wall-mounted shelving or racks can provide additional storage and display space for cookware, utensils, and pantry items. It’s a space-saving solution that keeps countertops clear and allows for easy access to essentials.

Open Shelving

Open shelving creates an airy and modern look in the kitchen while providing storage for dishes, glasses, and decorative items. It’s a stylish alternative to traditional upper cabinets and can make a small kitchen feel more spacious.

Kitchen Table

A kitchen table with built-in storage or drop-down leaves can serve as a multifunctional alternative to a kitchen island. It provides a space for dining, meal prep, and socializing, while also offering storage solutions underneath.

Our best advice: Have a talk with your professional kitchen designer to go over your options and make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and budget. You’ll know the next right step from there.

Kitchen Remodels & Refacing Solutions

Every home deserves a kitchen that’s beautiful, welcoming, and functional — designed for the way you live. Established by two long-time central Ohio homebuilders and craftsmen, The Creative Kitchen Co. offers customized kitchen remodeling and refacing solutions. Contact us for more information.