Kitchen Island vs. Kitchen Peninsula: Which is Better?

Imagine your perfect kitchen. It’s a space for cooking, of course, but it’s also a gathering spot for family and friends. There needs to be plenty of space for prep, plenty of space for packing lunches, plenty of space for snack time. There should be counter space for buffet layouts or beverage stations when entertaining. There’s probably seating, both for informal dining and for coloring books, homework, or pre-party chatter. All of this -- prep-space, serving space, and seating -- centers around either a kitchen island or kitchen peninsula.


How do you determine which kitchen layout is right for you and your family? There are a variety of factors to consider, including the way you cook, the kitchen island shape, and the layout of the adjoining spaces. Here are some things to consider when determining whether you want to design your kitchen around an island or a peninsula.


Kitchen Layout: Island or Peninsula?

The choice between an island and peninsula can depend on a variety of factors, both design-based and based on logistics and workflow. Let’s look at some of the considerations for each.


Pros of Kitchen Islands

Kitchen islands are one of the most desirable and popular trends in kitchen design. They can work in a variety of ways and can include a variety of elements.


Island Add-ins

While some kitchen islands are a vast expanse of granite or marble, others include desirable add-ins, depending on their size and configuration. Some islands may include produce sinks with nozzle sprayers and disposals. Others may include a drop-in cooktop or indoor grilling station. These expand the possibilities for the kind of cooking you can do and increase the efficiency of your prep space.


Under the Island Storage

You’ll find a variety of useful space beneath the island. Many islands incorporate additional electrical outlets, giving you another place to plug in the mixer or blender for food prep or baking. You’ll also find additional drawer or cabinet space beneath the kitchen island, for more convenient storage. Some feature an additional beverage cooler for water, wine, or beer, freeing up traffic around the main refrigerator.


Island Design considerations

One of the most popular design trends for kitchen islands is providing a contrast from the main cabinetry and even surfaces in the rest of the kitchen. This offers the opportunity for a pop of color in an otherwise white or wood-finished kitchen. For bakers, the chance to have a marble cooktop on the island provides a perfect surface for kneading and proofing dough, making everything you bake a little better.


Pros of Kitchen Peninsula

Unlike a kitchen island, a kitchen peninsula is more focused on providing seating and serving space without impeding the traffic flow of the kitchen itself. This may be a better option in a smaller kitchen space or in a home where informal seating is a requirement.


In addition, if you are a family who cooks together, you may find that a large island in the middle of the kitchen workflow creates undesirable bottlenecks. A peninsula may provide the additional workspace, prep space, and serving space you’re looking for, while keeping the main traffic areas free for easy movement.


For families with small children, a kitchen peninsula can provide a great space for arts and crafts, quiet play, and homework that’s convenient to the kitchen without being inside the kitchen. It allows for parental supervision and assistance without interrupting the cook’s workflow. It also keeps curious children away from hot pots or sharp utensils, while keeping them close enough for comfort.


Which is right for you?

There are many considerations to take into account when thinking through the choice between a kitchen island or kitchen peninsula. The kitchen layout, the way that the kitchen connects to the rest of the home, and the way that you, your family, and your guests use the kitchen for cooking, dining, and entertaining.


As you are deciding, try mapping the way you currently use your kitchen. What is your cooking workflow? How much time do you spend in your kitchen? Where do you sit for informal dining? Where do the kids hang out? Where do your friends sit when they come over for lunch? Taking a good look at your current layout can help you determine whether a kitchen layout with island or peninsula would work better for you. The more information you put together about your current needs, the more accurately you can gauge the type of layout that will feel best in your new kitchen space.


Contributed to Your Home blog by Christy Edgar Murdock

Looking for more tips, ideas or inspiration? Return Home here.

Published 5.10.19

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