Kitchen Island or Peninsula?: An Overview


Kitchen Island or Peninsula? An Overview of Two Popular Kitchen Layout Styles

Imagine the perfect kitchen – your dream kitchen, if you will. Whether you want to use it for cooking, as a gathering place for family and friends, or both, you’ll need to make sure that it’s the right style to suit your needs.

For example, if you’re big on cooking, there should be ample prep space, places to pack and store food items, and a nice place to sit when it’s time to eat. There also needs to be lots of counter space to lay out your food and beverages in a comfortable set up where plenty of your friends can join in…but you also need to consider the size of your kitchen, as this can be a critical factor in what kitchen design style you ultimately select.

Here, we’ll break down the differences between two of the most popular kitchen design styles: the island and the peninsula.

Kitchen Island Benefits

Custom Kitchen Island in Luxury Condo

The kitchen island is an incredibly popular layout for a variety of reasons, including the following:

Its Spaciousness

One key benefit of this style of kitchen is its spaciousness. Kitchen islands offer up a free-flowing, 360-degree, completely open space that homeowners can comfortably navigate.

This spaciousness makes every day tasks like cooking much easier, as you’ll be able to turn around quickly to switch between the stove, sink, and other appliances.

Kitchen peninsulas, on the other hand, tend to have much less counter space, and therefore lack the freedom of mobility that islands provide.

Making Large or Empty Areas Feel More Full

Despite the spaciousness they provide, most kitchen islands are still large enough to fill out a kitchen that might otherwise feel too big and empty. Some people even opt for double islands if the kitchen is large enough or if one long island would look too lengthy or awkward.

Having double islands strategically laid out side-by-side is becoming increasingly common, and provides yet another great solution for owners of large homes.

Great for Guests

The openness of kitchens with islands inside of them means there should always be plenty of room to accommodate and entertain guests. Peninsulas, on the other hand, close off a distinct section of the kitchen by creating a border between the cooking space and the living space.

As a result, the peninsula layout means the cook has less time for interaction with guests while preparing food. But if your home construction and/or kitchen remodeling teams do their jobs correctly, then any size or style of kitchen island should be open and easy to navigate through, while also providing ample seating room.

Kitchen Island Materials

9hanson kitchen grey cabinets and cream island

Once you’re sure what your kitchen is going to be used for and how much room you’ll have, you’ve got to decide what it’s going to be made of. Just like any other room of the house, you’ll want to choose materials that will complement the rest of your kitchen – but you also have to be careful to balance these out to make sure they suit your island’s purpose and place.

For example, if you do a lot of chopping and cutting, then adding a butcher block as part of your surface space would be a great addition. Then, to complement that addition, you’ll want to make sure your island’s surface is made from something durable and resistant to stains like quartz. However, there are tons of surface materials to choose from.

Granite, for example, is much heavier than even quartz, so a base that hasn’t been specifically built to accommodate granite might not be able to tolerate that weight. You have a wide variety of other kitchen countertop materials to choose from as well, including elegant natural limestone, high-quality marble, and much more.

Kitchen Peninsula Benefits

Photo by Brodie Vissers from Burst

Now that we’ve reviewed all things islands, let’s spotlight some of the unique benefits associated with kitchen peninsulas:

Suitable for Smaller Spaces

For the most part, kitchen islands are great – assuming you have the space, that is. However, many people don’t. In fact, most islands require at least 36 inches of clearance on all four sides to move around, plus a minimum of 42 inches for the workstation.

As a result, a large kitchen island layout simply isn’t a viable design choice for many homeowners – especially those living in condos or smaller homes inside the city. However, even with their smaller size, many peninsulas still offer up ample storage space and plenty of countertop room.

More Privacy

The openness of the island-style kitchen layout allows the cook/host to remain in the same room as his or her guests throughout the entire evening. But with peninsula-style kitchens, a border separates the host from the guests to provide a bit more privacy. This is preferable for certain homeowners, especially cooking aficionados who prefer not to be disturbed while preparing the evening’s meal for their guests.

Continuous Countertops for a Better Workflow

Kitchen peninsulas usually feature continuous countertops that extend from the main section onto the peninsula. Thanks to the erasal of this line that would otherwise separate the two areas, the longer uninterrupted countertops tend to encourage more frequent usage while people work from home.

Kitchen Peninsula Materials

Materials available for building peninsulas are just as diverse as those used for islands. Whether it’s granite, quartz, zinc, pewter, slate, or any number of other high-quality materials, a peninsula countertop can be customized to your exact specifications.

You’ll find that you can obtain a delightfully diverse array of looks for your peninsula with many types of materials, and when you work with a skilled general contracting team, you’ll be made aware of every potential option available.

Still Need Help Choosing Between a Kitchen Island or Peninsula?

washington kitchen island

Picking out the ideal design for your new custom kitchen or kitchen remodel can be tough. Fortunately, our team has nearly three decades worth of experience helping clients throughout New England make that decision.

Contact us today to learn more about our kitchen expertise and find out what we can custom-create for you!


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