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  • James Treble

Around The Kitchen Island

The kitchen island is a sought after item in all Australian contemporary homes and is an element I love including in almost all of my kitchen designs. I say almost all of them, because not every kitchen must necessarily have an island, due to taste, choice of design and of course the space available. But, if you were keen on adding an island to your new kitchen, the first question I’d ask is, do we have enough space for it?


James Treble kitchen islands for Eden Brae Homes

To look good the island must of course be in proportion with the size of the room, and whilst I have designed kitchen islands as long as 5 metres, because they fit, I have never designed an island that is smaller than 1.5, as it starts to look more like a ‘butcher’s block’. If your floor plan doesn’t lend itself, because of shape or size, then do not force an island in, as a tiny or oddly shaped one may be detrimental to the overall look of the space, rather than being an asset.


James Treble kitchen islands for Eden Brae Homes

So, here are some basic measuring directions:

  • The optimum floor space between the island and the opposite run of cabinetry is 1200mm, a practical distance to work within. A wider space there means adding the distance between the three basic working stations (sink, cooktop and fridge), which is impractical, and a narrower space will be uncomfortable and possibly unsafe.

  • A minimum of 900mm should be allowed at either end of the island to comfortably walk past and comfortably open any drawers or cabinetry nearby.

  • The island also adds useful surface when entertaining, but to be able to sit there comfortably the benchtop overhang should be 300mm at least.

  • It’s also important to remember that most stones come in slabs 3 metres long, so a wider island might show a join on the benchtop.


James Treble kitchen islands for Eden Brae Homes


If struggling with a small island or the narrow space to walk through at either end, then I suggest moving the island to one side and create a ‘peninsula’ instead (LOL). This way you might obtain a servery benchtop that is long enough to be practical as well as offering enough room on one side to comfortably walk past.


James Treble kitchen islands for Eden Brae Homes

Ultimately the width and depth of your island must depend upon the amount of floor space available, looking proportionate to the space, never too small or too large and leaving adequate space around, so, remember this: for a kitchen to be truly successful, it must be practical, as well as beautiful.



James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has three decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to properties through effective design & styling. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more free information. More of James' knowledge is now accessible via Practical Design Online Course.