Island Dreams

When designing or remodeling your kitchen it’s important to think about whether a kitchen island is viable in your space. It’s easy to get caught up in the dreamy islands you see in HGTV kitchens, but not every kitchen can accommodate a 14-foot island. We turned to Sherri to discover the requirements for designing an island as well as the design options available. 

First things first, when deciding whether your kitchen can fit an island it’s important to measure! According to the NKBA, a minimum of 42” of walkway are required on all sides of the island. If that measurement won't work in your space, don’t worry, you can still work with a peninsula!

Although not freestanding, a peninsula is attached to the wall, but still offers ample work and storage space. The best part is almost all the design options we are about to discuss for islands are also available for peninsula design as well.

Now, back to islands! 

“Depending on your budget, the design of your island can become almost a furniture piece in your kitchen,” said Sherri. “Islands can be quite basic or decorative, but whatever your style, our cabinetry lines offer a variety of options to meet just about any need.”

As Sherri said, the design of your island can be customized with many design and functional options available. Households today are using the island more often than a dining room space for everything from homework to family meals.

Depending on your budget and your desired island functionality, there is a wide array of unique design options available!

Once you’ve measured your kitchen space and decided on the length of your island, it’s time to look at design. We’ll break down our design options into aesthetic and functional.

Aesthetic Design:

Basic End Caps

  • Plain finished panels used to cover the cabinet ends on either side of the island cabinet base. Hides the exposed sides of the cabinets.

Fixed Door(s)

  • Doors to match the working doors on the front of the cabinet. This creates a continuation of the cabinet style while also covering the exposed ends of the island cabinet base.

Inlay Panel(s)

  • Panels with an inlay design to cover island cabinet box. The size of the cabinet determines the number of panels, 24-27" cabinet width receive 1 panel, while 28-48" cabinet width receive 2 panels.

  • Another more ornate style is the end cap option with 6 inlay panels with deluxe cove molding. This gives your island more of a furniture piece effect.


  • Fixer Upper fans, this one is for you! Shiplap isn’t just for walls; it can also be used to wrap around the sides and back of your island for that modern farmhouse feel.


  • X-Style end caps are just like they sound; end caps with an x-style design. Another great modern farmhouse option!


  • Posts are another great way to end cap your island while giving it a more visual appeal. Plato offers a variety of designs to match your kitchen style.


  • Corbels are a structural support that look like an upside-down L underneath your counter top and island. Plato offers 10 styles of Corbel that vary from simple to more ornate in design.

Functional Design:

Wine Racks

  • As mentioned in our previous post, wine racks can also be added as end caps to an island to add storage and functionality!


  • Also mentioned in our previous post, bookshelves are a great way to add functional storage space while also creating a fun, visual appeal to your island.

Drawers Behind Doors

  • Working cabinet doors and drawers can be added to the sides and back of your island to increase storage in your kitchen. These doors can be made to match the rest of the doors in your cabinetry or disguised to look like fixed panels with hidden storage.

A couple of Sherri’s favorites she likes to include when designing an island for clients, one is a drawer peg system in larger drawer bases, cutlery dividers and pull-out trash.Drawer peg systems allow the homeowner to store dishes and glassware for easy access when serving meals at the island. Dividers for cutlery and flatware are also a nice addition to keep drawers neat and organized. She often includes a pull-out trash container as well, for easy meal clean up.

As you work your way through the design process of your dream island, we strongly encourage you to make an appointment with one of our incredible Kitchen and Bath Designers, like Sherri. We here at Studio H2O understand that this can be an overwhelming process and want to do everything we can to help you design the kitchen of your dreams.

If you have more questions about designing an island/kitchen space or would like to make an appointment, contact Sherri at 319-338-8275 or

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