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How to Decide Between a Kitchen Island or Peninsula


When planning a kitchen remodel, you may find yourself dreaming of an island. A kitchen island, that is. These attractive designer darlings provide much needed counter space, a place for friends and family to gather out of the cook’s way, and an opportunity to incorporate contrasting cabinets and countertops into the kitchen.

Sometimes, usually because of a lack of space, an island just isn’t feasible. If you think your kitchen is too small or the wrong shape to get the look of an island, think again. A peninsula may be the solution that can deliver similar or even superior results.

Mock Island

One of the best ways to incorporate a peninsula into your kitchen is to attach it to a wall opposite the workstation. Especially if you refrain from hanging cabinets on the wall, this look resembles an island and effectively doubles the counter space. A peninsula of this style also makes it possible to install appliances below the counters without extensive rewiring. In a small kitchen, this look creates a dividing line between cooking and dining areas and ups the circulation without sacrificing the space you’d need to install a floating island.

Asymmetrical Peninsula

Building an island at the top of a U-shaped kitchen creates clutter and blocks the natural flow from the kitchen into adjoining rooms. Instead, remove any hanging cabinets and use the leg of the U that opens into the dining or living areas to create a long peninsula. By making the peninsula slightly shorter than the foundation cabinet wall, you can achieve an asymmetrical look full of openness and light. The increased circulation in this design often allows the placement of an additional barstool at the end of the counter.

L-Shaped Kitchen

Installing a peninsula instead of an island in an L-shaped kitchen creates a cozy, sheltered nook with extra counter space and casual seating. The choice of a peninsula leaves the center of the room open in front of the work triangle and enhances the illusion of spaciousness, especially in smaller kitchens. Install a banquette on the dining side of the peninsula for charming, built-in seating. If your kitchen opens directly on the living room, this look can mark a clear separation between the kitchen and the rest of the home.

Galley Kitchen

Long, narrow kitchens aren’t the right setting for an island, but if you have some depth, you can create a peninsula by stubbing out a short center section. A peninsula of this style creates much needed counter space and adds cabinet storage below. In larger kitchens, this type of peninsula can also serve as a dividing line between work and serving areas. Even the smallest kitchens can benefit from a small peninsula at the end of the counter, creating a bright and airy space for casual dining where previously there was none.

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