Here’s a good article by Cynthia Bowman for Freshome on small kitchen ideas.
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A kitchen island is a useful and multifunctional component. No matter how small your space is, get inspiration from our small kitchen island ideas and tips to add more function to your kitchen.
Even the smallest kitchen island has the potential to offer many uses. When considering small kitchen island ideas, select an island that has the five following abilities:
1. Creates extra counter space
2. Can be used as an eating counter or breakfast spot
3. Has additional storage via drawers, shelves or hooks
4. Is sized correctly to not interrupt your kitchen work flow
A practical eating counter island needs open shelving where knees can tuck or an overhang on at least one side for low-profile, backless bar stool to tuck in.
If you find a good kitchen counter that is missing an overhang or open side, you can always add a larger, new top to your find. Make sure the new top is large enough to allow at least a 6” ledge on one side and that the new top is durable enough to withstand kitchen use.
Small Kitchen Island Aisles and Clearances
Once you’ve decided that you’d like to add a kitchen island, how large should your island be? According to the book The Architect’s Studio Companion: Rules of Thumb for Preliminary Design, allow an aisle of 36” wide or 42” wide if the island is facing an appliance door.
Good places for islands include the center of a kitchen or to enclose an open floor plan kitchen in an L shape formation.
While the standard aisle width guideline of 36” allows two people to pass, you could have a clearance as small as 32” if the spot is not high traffic. Take newspaper or painter’s tape and plan a floor outline of where you’d like your island to sit with proper clearance. Test your floor plan and adjust accordingly.
If you find that your kitchen doesn’t have the space for a permanent island, choose an island that can be rolled, tucked away or moved to another area as needed.
You don’t have to specifically go out and purchase or custom make a kitchen island. There are a variety of small kitchen island ideas that may work better in your small space than a permanent cabinet piece. Here’s our favorite small kitchen island ideas.