Island vs Peninsula: Which Kitchen Layout will work with My Kitchen Design?

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. It’s not just a place to prepare food and eat, but is also a spot for family gatherings, bonding, working, and more. In some ways, it’s like the new living room. To enjoy all your kitchen has to offer, the design and layout have to be right.

When it comes to layouts, most people opt for a kitchen island. An island is a free-standing counter space, usually located somewhere near the center of a kitchen, and it is used for additional work-space for cooking, or a place for friends to sit and chat, among other things.

Kitchen islands are incredibly useful and versatile, but they aren’t the only option available. There are also peninsulas.

Here’s the thing: islands are great if you have the space. Often, however, an island isn’t a viable option for the space you’re working with. Luckily, the peninsula offers a similar, but more suiting option for certain kitchens.

What’s the difference between a peninsula and an island?

 They both create extra work space, offer extra storage, and provide more room for family and friends to hang out without being in the way. So, what really distinguishes them from one another? Both are named after the geographical features they align with; an island is a free standing space with four open sides, while a peninsula has one end attached to a wall or other structure, with three open sides. Basically, a peninsula is seen as an extension of the rest of the kitchen, while an island is a distinct unit that stands on its own.

Which is right for you? Let’s investigate.

 Many of the benefits of islands and peninsulas are the same. Both offer seamless functionality, with extra storage, counter, and seating space. The real decision between the two is essentially based on two elements: available space and livability.

Available Space

With the addition of an island, there must be ample space to pass by on all sides, 36” is recommended around all sides  while still keeping the triangle area—the space between the fridge, sink, and cooking area—open. Placing an island counter that interrupts the space between the triangle should be avoided whenever possible, as it complicates livability and overall design. If the space comes up short, a peninsula counter is a better alternative. It provides many of the same benefits, but is more suitable for smaller spaces.


How you live and what you plan on using your kitchen space for can be a deciding factor between islands and peninsulas as well. Islands keep with the open floor plan layout of a home by breaking up a large space without sectioning it off. Peninsulas close off a section of the kitchen by creating a border between the living space and the cooking space. If you plan on doing a lot of entertaining in your kitchen, the island counter is a better choice, as it lets the cook remain part of the action while preparing food. The peninsula counter, however, allows the cook to have some privacy. Consider how you plan to use the space, and how it connects to the rest of the house. How you live is a big factor in deciding which kitchen layout you should choose.

Selecting a kitchen design for your new home, or for a kitchen renovation, can be a difficult decision. After all, you want the heart of your home to be a beautiful and functional space. Luckily, the skilled kitchen designers at RTA Wood Cabinets can help you make the right decision. Contact us today at 800-788-7575 and tell us all about your project and receive a Free Kitchen design ($500 Value) Let us turn your dream kitchen into a reality!