8855 Cypress Woods Lane | Olive Branch, MS 38654662-895-4795
March 23, 2021
by Eric Presley

Installing a Kitchen Island: Top Things to Consider

Kitchen countertops are often one of the most stunning features in your culinary design, and it doesn’t have to stop there. Kitchen island features are an essential, functional part of many kitchens, offering more space to cook and entertain. With more storage space and areas to gather, your island can quickly become the focal point of the kitchen.

There are a lot of different, beautiful kitchen island ideas that can perfectly complement your space, with everything from a cooktop, to a new space for a sink or dishwasher, all with a stunning design. With the ability to transform your kitchen, it’s important to put some thought into your kitchen island design ideas. To help, let’s guide you through why a kitchen island is so important and the best kitchen island design tips.

Why Do You Need a Kitchen Island?

Why Do You Need a Kitchen Island

So, why have a kitchen island? Not only is a kitchen island a functional design choice, offering more counter space and areas to put appliances, but it can be a beautiful, aesthetic addition to the kitchen, too.

As homes move to a more open concept design, the need for storage has increased as fewer appliances and cabinets can mount on walls. Thankfully, with a kitchen island, you get more storage and counter space, plus more workspace to test out the latest and greatest recipes.

Kitchen islands also offer an area to gather, and for those with large families or who love to entertain, this means a more functional kitchen environment where more loved ones can interact and participate in the memories that occur in the kitchen - a truly priceless perk.

Factors to Consider When Designing a Kitchen Island

In different homes and designs, islands serve a variety of purposes. Your kitchen island features will vary based on what factors are most important to you, so take a look at each before diving into your design choices.

Food Preparation

Factors to Consider When Designing a Kitchen Island

If you’re all about meal prepping for the week and need more space for food preparation, there are some great, go-to kitchen island design ideas features for food prep. These include:

  • A separate prep sink
  • Garbage disposal
  • Outlets for smaller appliances
  • Designed, so the refrigerator is close by


When it comes to improving your kitchen for more space to cook, these are the best kitchen island design tips:

  • Include your cooktop on the island
  • Be sure to accommodate for ventilation
  • Account for at least 18 inches on either side of the cooktop
  • Opt for a heat-resistant countertop material
  • Raise the eating area so it’s not impacted by any potential splatters from cooking


The kitchen island is a great place to host the dishwasher, as well as any of your disposal bins. Additional cleanup features to incorporate are:

  • Enough clearance for the dishwasher door to open
  • Convenient access to dish storage
  • Pullout disposal bins near the sink location
  • Storage for cleaning materials like dish towels and soap
  • A multi-height counter so dirty dishes can be concealed

Size and Placement

Factors to Consider Designing a Kitchen Island

Let’s face it - while kitchen islands are a great design feature, they take up a good amount of space. At its smallest, an island is typically about 4 feet long and 3 feet deep, but you also have to account for room to navigate around the kitchen. While small kitchen island ideas will need to forgo the extra bells and whistles for a more minimalist design, a larger kitchen will need to expand the island to create a cohesive design.

The standard dimensions of a classic island are:

  • Height: 36 inches
  • Width: 24 to 36 inches
  • Length: 48 to 70 inches
  • Overhang: 8 to 12 inches


One of the big perks of incorporating a kitchen island is storage. A kitchen island offers both functional working space and storage, including cabinets and shelving below the kitchen island that wouldn’t have otherwise been there.

Even if you’re focusing on kitchen island ideas with sink or stovetops, you can better utilize the space below with storage options. Have a ton of pots and pans? Hoarding cookbooks? Incorporating extra storage solutions in island kitchen remodel ideas can majorly boost your space for a less cluttered kitchen.


For the best kitchen design, you need good lighting. When it comes to an island, this means lighting directly overhead that helps illuminate your workspace. Lighting options with an island design include:

  • Recessed lighting
  • Fixtures or lightbulbs designed to project light directly down on the countertop
  • A larger, statement light fixture like a chandelier to hover over the countertop and offer an elevated design


Factors to Consider Kitchen Island

If you’re considering moving your cooktop to the island, don’t forget ventilation. When it comes to ventilating a kitchen island, you need downdraft fans to ventilate the space. However, these aren’t as effective as ceiling fans and overhead vents, so your cooktop may be best on the surrounding countertops (although it’s not totally out of the question!).


When it comes to kitchen islands, it’s all about creating a functional space that still features a seamless aesthetic.

For instance, a dual-height countertop can create separation from the cooking space and hide the dirty workspace. Additionally, the island design can mimic the design of the surrounding kitchen for a truly seamless finish, making it appear as though the new island was there all along. Match cabinets and countertops to the rest of the kitchen for a cohesive finish.

Kitchen Island Materials

There are a lot of different materials to choose from when it comes to designing your kitchen island. The best choice for your kitchen depends on your unique style and vision, but we’ve curated some of the go-to kitchen island materials that work best for island countertops.


Kitchen Island Materials Marble

Marble is gorgeous for an exquisite finish but is likely not the best material for kitchen island countertops. While breathtaking in its natural beauty, marble is a softer stone and more porous than others, meaning it can crack and discolor more easily. It does need consistent care to keep it looking flawless. This means frequent, consistent cleaning and never leaving any spills or messes sitting on the countertop (a tough task in a busy kitchen!) would be a must if you are considering it for a kitchen. Because of its attributes, marble is most often chosen for bathrooms, floors, and backsplashes.


Kitchen Island Materials Granite

Likely the most popular of the kitchen island countertop materials, granite offers a similar high-quality finish to marble, with a super durable promise. Since this stone is heat-resistant, stain-resistant, and scratch-resistant, it’s the ideal, long-lasting countertop selection for a kitchen that gets a lot of use. Coming in a range of hues and patterns, this is the perfect complement to every kitchen design.


Kitchen Island Materials Quartz

Unlike marble and granite, quartz is a man-made stone. It can mimic the same natural stone look much love yet offers increased durability. A big perk? It doesn’t need to be sealed, allowing for less maintenance that can still withstand all the spills that are sure to happen in a kitchen. Plus, since it’s man-made, it’s easier to find matching slabs for your kitchen remodel.

Best Kitchen Island Design Ideas

There are a lot of different kitchen island design ideas, but we’ve narrowed it down to the latest and greatest designs that will instantly elevate your kitchen.

Breakfast Bar

Breakfast Bar Kitchen Island Ideas

Kitchen islands with breakfast bars are one of the go-to island kitchens remodel ideas for families. This design allows the family to sit and enjoy their meal in one place, allowing you to keep an eye on the kids as you cook.

For this design, we love a countertop like the Akoya Quartz as quartz is equipped to handle all the spills and messes that come with mealtime, and the creamy white will match a wide range of kitchen designs.

Akoya Quartz
Akoya Quartz

Contrasting Counters

Contrasting Counters Kitchen Island Design Ideas

For a modern kitchen design, choose contrasting countertops for your kitchen island. Yes, matching the countertops and island can create a very cohesive design, but choosing a contrasting stone can instantly elevate the space. If you have light countertops in the rest of the kitchen, choose a stone-like Abyss Granite to create that cool contrast.

Abyss Granite

Sleek Waterfall

Sleek Waterfall Kitchen Island Ideas

Particularly in larger kitchens, a waterfall island creates a stunning focal point for a sleek design. Waterfall islands let the countertop flow all the way down the side, creating a “waterfall” effect that allows your stone choice to really shine.

Typically, we opt for a white countertop, like Arctic White Quartz, that will easily match the kitchen and offer an elegant finish.

Arctic White Quartz

Storage Focus

Storage Focus Kitchen Island Design

If you have a lot of pots, pans, cookbooks, and other kitchen must-haves, an island with added storage beneath can help keep you organized. This is one of the best small kitchen island ideas as it will create a space for all your kitchen features, creating shelving, drawers, and bonus cabinets below the countertop. To distract from all your expertly coordinated storage below, we love the intricate look of the Arabian Nights Granite Countertop to perfectly complete your space.

Arabian Nights Granite

Cooking Frenzy-Ready

Cooking Frenzy-Ready Kitchen Island Ideas

If the kitchen is all about trying new recipes, go for a kitchen island idea that incorporates all your cooking needs on the countertop. Look at kitchen island ideas with sink options, stovetops, and disposal features that can make creating your new recipes a breeze.

If you’re opting for a functional, chef-ready kitchen island, you’ll need a countertop that can withstand the heat. In this case, granite is best, like with the warm Bianco Antico countertop.

Bianco Antico Granite


No matter what you need your kitchen island for  - whether it be added storage, more kitchen countertop space to cook, or an area to host and gather with loved ones - an island makes a beautiful addition to every kitchen.

For help designing your kitchen countertop, contact our team at Pro Stone Countertops. We will walk you through every step of the process and help you curate the best kitchen island design ideas. To get started, call us at 662-212-5927.


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Do you have questions about granite or quartz countertops in Memphis?

Request a free consultation or visit our office.

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