Top 3 considerations for choosing kitchen cabinets for an island

While single wall kitchens provide the easiest layout for a kitchen island, really there is no restrictions or limitations when considering cabinets for an island, except space. Large ir small. Single wall, L-shaped, U-shaped, or multi-wall. RTA cabinets are a great way to create a kitchen island.

It is important not to create a cramped environment in the kitchen since, many times, more than one person may be cooking, especially if you’re teaching the children. As long as you have sufficient lighting and outlets, you’ll create a safe and usable space that you didn’t know you needed. The extra cabinets will provide more storage as well, leaving your countertops clutter free.

Again, there are no rules, since you can do whatever makes you happy, but knowing what preferences you want ahead of time will help the process go more smoothly, and the results more satisfying, especially if you have limited space.

Following are some considerations when planning your cabinets for a kitchen island.


Size of kitchen. While we might all want to have a kitchen island, we really need to have enough space to accommodate one. Measure the open area in front of where your base cabinets are (If your kitchen is “L-shaped” measure from all cabinets). You need a minimum of 39″ from the base of your cabinets to the island. If you have enough room, you can measure up to 49″ from cabinets. Mark the corners and then measure out from there for your cabinets. Remember, you’ll want this amount of room available on all sides to have a comfortable walkway around the island. Generally, you’ll want at least 12 feet from the cabinets available for cabinets and walking room.

Appliances used. If you will have appliances in the island, you’ll need to buy the cabinets that will accommodate them. Sink bases, whether standard or farm sink, microwave base, range base, etc. For any doors that need to open, whether on the cabinets themselves, or maybe an oven, you should be able to have adequate room to stand in front them, while bending over. Gas, electrical, or water lines all need to be taken into consideration if your appliances will need them. Make sure to have electrical outlets planned in your layout according to your local codes.


Layout and configuration. The size and layout of your existing cabinets will determine the limits of your island layout, but, even if you have enough room for everything you want, it is still a good idea to consider what is necessary and what is not. Will you have seating, single-tier or double-tier countertops, or primarily storage. Countertop slabs have limited sizes, so if your island is very large, you’ll have seams. Most RTA cabinets are 24 inches deep, so back-to-back cabinets will be 4 feet. Choose the types of cabinets you want, then check the sizes they are available in. Build your layout from there.

There are certainly more considerations, but these three will give you a great start in determining whether a kitchen island is in your future. Remember, too, you may need to reconfigure lighting in your kitchen, which may require a little more electrical work, so keep that in mind as well.

All in all, if you have the space for it, a kitchen island built using RTA cabinets can be a fairly inexpensive endeavor, especially if you keep things simple. At the end of the day, though, your kitchen space will be enhanced, you will have more countertop space to work on, more storage, and more seating.

Island Cabinet Examples

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