Kitchen Island Design & Plans

Kitchen Island Design & Plans

Kitchen island design is an integral part of the overall kitchen design.  When drafting kitchen island plans, it is important to consider the many available kitchen island designs, options, and accessories.

Islands are great in large kitchens because they help with traffic flow, lessen the size of the work triangle, and provide more countertop/storage space.  In very large kitchens, two islands are even better because they allow the cook to get from one side of the kitchen to the other with less effort.  Kitchen island design plans may or may not include extras on the surface.  Kitchen island plans with only an island countertop, and without a sink or cook top, adds extra workspace that is highly useful when preparing food, and doubles as a buffet space when entertaining.D08297-4766

Installing a cook top in the island is not always the best choice, because it creates a challenge for an effective blower system.  Downdraft blowers are available for use with island cook tops, however this is not the most effective way to get odors, smoke and steam out of the kitchen.  An island hood can be used, but this is usually a difficult and more expensive way to get a blower system in your kitchen.  An island hood can also be somewhat obtrusive, although there are now many streamlined styles for hoods.D07039-0131

Incorporating a sink into the kitchen island design is the better choice.  Typically, the island is more centrally located, so having the sink there works well for clean up.  Also, when working at the sink, prepping, or cleaning up, the cook faces out where they can socialize more easily when working in the kitchen.  This also places the dishwasher away from the wall cabinets, so unloading the dishwasher is an easier task.  When the door is down, it brings the dishes out closer to the opposing counter and wall cabinets.


The aesthetic detail of kitchen island design is very important in creating the atmosphere and dictating the style of a kitchen.  There are many options, such as adding legs or feet, that make the island feel more like furniture.  The countertop can also be more interesting by adding more than one material, like combining granite with butcher block.  A wood top is always better when used on the seating side of the island because it is a softer material that better handles dishes and glasses on it.  Adding seating to your kitchen island plans is always a good idea, even if it is only used when entertaining.  The cabinets in the island can also be a different color and/or door style to blend in with other furniture in the house or appear as a nice focal point or relief to the other cabinets in the kitchen.

**All kitchen island designs shown and photos courtesy of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath, Ltd.


About Jennifer Gilmer Jennifer Gilmer, CKD, has been creating beautiful kitchens in the Washington, DC area and beyond for more than 20 years. Starting with a drafting job in a small kitchen design firm in McLean, Virginia, Jennifer soon realized she had an absolute passion for this creatively technical work. She also discovered an innate ability to understand the needs and personalities of her clients and to create spaces to compliment each individual. Her award-winning designs span the spectrum from classic and traditional to sleek and contemporary. She is committed to fulfilling her clients’ needs, doing it well and making the process as joyful as possible. Jennifer is a native of the Washington, DC area. After her initial drafting job, Jennifer worked with legendary high-end kitchen designer Richard Tunis for eight years. She and a partner then opened Kitchen and Bath Studios, Inc. in Chevy Chase, Maryland in 1993. In 1998, she decided to launch her own firm — Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath, Ltd. Her vision has grown into a successful business, which includes a dedicated support staff who strive to provide the firm’s clients with detailed designs and exceptional service. In 2009, Jennifer launched an online kitchen design studio, Kitchen Design Online (KDOL) that provides homeowners (both DIY and those working with contractors), architects and builders with a range of services from floor plans to detailed elevations to 3D perspective images.Enjoyed this article? You can read more of Jennifer's "Kitchen Design Secrets Revealed" columns on The Decorating, and on Jennifer's kitchen design blog.