Kitchen Island or Peninsula, Which layout is best for your space?

kitchen island and kitchen peninsula example


One of the first topics of discussion when we begin a kitchen remodel project is layout. More specifically, we discuss the layout that is best for your space based on your and design preferences. Should we plan a design centered around an island, or should we consider incorporating a peninsula? While both layouts have a lot to offer, let’s look at the pros and cons to determine what’s right for you.


The Kitchen Island


three kitchen island layouts for kitchen design


The kitchen island is arguably the most popular kitchen layout thanks to the emergence of open floor plan design and a desire to integrate the kitchen with the rest of our gathering spaces. Whether it’s family gatherings, meal prep, or helping with afternoon homework, today’s kitchen is the preferred gathering spot for many activities. Having an island as part of your design offers versatility in both function & aesthetic that cannot be rivaled.



Open design —Easy access from all four sides (No dead corners!)

Unlike the peninsula that can end up with hard-to-reach storage spaces and tight corners, the island offers easy access from all four sides. It creates a circular flow throughout the kitchen with the island as the central hub.

Perfect central gathering place

An island is the central hub, the homework spot, the buffet bar, the meal prep station. It used to be that the chef was isolated from the rest of the home, but thanks to the island, this is no longer the case. Islands allow the party to flow into the kitchen, without getting in the way.

Design flexibility with color & style

An island can add a much-needed pop of color or a contrasting focal point, which can be challenging with the peninsula. You have the choice of matching the island style to the rest of the kitchen cabinetry & countertops. Or you may consider using the island as a contrasting design element, changing cabinet & countertop color, hardware, and other decorative details.




Requires a lot of open space — not ideal for small kitchens

National Kitchen & Bath guidelines require an island to have at least 42 inches of clearance on all work-space sides and 36 inches for non-work-space pathways. This makes it very challenging in smaller kitchens to have the required amount of room and still accommodate an island.

Islands can be more complicated remodels

Natural gas, electricity, water supply, and drainage lines require a more specialized installation when relocating these to the center of your space. Extra work = extra cost.

More expensive

On average, a kitchen remodel that includes an island will be more expensive than a kitchen with a peninsula.  This could be attributed to many things. More decorative style options can lead to added costs, as well as the added expense for electrical & plumbing installation.


The Peninsula


three different kitchen peninsulas for kitchen design


A peninsula layout is essentially a kitchen island that is attached to one wall of your kitchen. Peninsulas are ideal for smaller kitchens and easier to incorporate into the kitchen design, especially when working with an existing space. They can be just as versatile as an island without the added space requirements needed to accommodate an island.



Perfect for smaller kitchens

A peninsula is the perfect solution for smaller spaces or for long narrow kitchens that cannot accommodate the space needed for an island. Peninsulas take up less square footage which can be valuable in a tight space.

Provides a natural divider from kitchen to other areas of the house

Kitchen peninsulas create a clear distinction between two areas of a home while still maintaining an open-concept feel.

Continuous countertop = more work surface

Having one continuous countertop that spans your entire kitchen typically offers a more usable work surface than having a separate island.

Easier, less expensive remodel

Natural gas, electricity, water supply, and drainage lines are easier and less costly to install when they can be run through existing cabinetry rather than under the floor.




Dead Space in Corners

One big disadvantage of peninsulas is the dead space that can occur where the peninsula and the perpendicular wall & cabinetry meet. It can be challenging to access the corner storage areas in both the base and upper cabinetry. A good solution for this is utilizing carousels or lazy susans in those hard-to-reach areas.

Traffic Jams

Another drawback with peninsula kitchens is traffic jams, especially if there is only one way in or out. A kitchen designer can help problem solve through designing a space that prevents this from happening.

Style Limitations

Typically, because the peninsula is a continuous part of the main kitchen cabinetry, the color & style of both the cabinetry & countertops will remain the same. This creates a unifying and more open feel in a smaller space. However, it can feel limiting with the introduction of another color or material in your kitchen.



The Verdict: Which should you choose?


Although your design preferences play somewhat into your decision, ultimately it comes down to the size of your physical space. If you have a large kitchen area with ample space to maintain flow on all four sides, the island may be the perfect choice for you. If you have a smaller kitchen where trying to accommodate an island takes up more space, giving you less of a work surface, the peninsula offers the perfect solution.


We know that deciding on a kitchen layout can be an overwhelming task. Our designers at Dalton Carpet One would love help you through the process. Take that first step to turning your dream kitchen into a reality. Contact us today, and tell us about your project!



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