5 Smart Ways to Fit a Kitchen Island in a Small Space

updated May 1, 2019
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If you have a teeny, tiny kitchen, you might think that having an island — that dreamy ideal of extra space and storage — is impossible. But you’d be wrong. There are smart ways to wedge an island into a small kitchen, and to make it work extra hard. Here are five of our favorite ways that an island can fit in a little space.

First, a caveat! Not all the kitchens pictured here are super small. But all five of them and of these islands have lessons to teach us about how to make an island work in a small space.

Pictured above, this utterly do-it-all, multitasking small-space island is from a home in Vancouver, designed by Smallworks, a firm devoted to laneway, infill, and small house builds. What makes this such a great island for a small space? Let’s look at how it’s constructed.

First, it has storage built in. Never put an island in a small kitchen without taking advantage of its storage opportunities! Secondly, while the top is large and adds a lot of countertop space, there is an overhang that adds visual airiness and allows for stools to be pushed in out of the way. In an open-plan house like this, the island doubles as an eat-in kitchen table too. Win-win.

This “island” is sort of an island, sort of a bar, and sort of a peninsula. Whatever — it works! It breaks the “include storage” rule from above, but it’s so light and airy in this space, offering room for morning coffee, evening cocktails, and a surface to cool your cookies, that we can overlook that.

If you have a really small space, you want the flexibility of clearing room when you need it, like for a killer cocktail party or spooky Halloween kid’s bash. The solution? An island on caster wheels that can be rolled in and out of the room when company comes by. This island is absolutely dreamy, and Beth and Nick at Reality Daydream do a super job explaining how they built this themselves.

An adjustable, fold-out butcher block counter is a great solution for only-when-you-need-it surface area. When not it use, the wood countertop folds down seamlessly to the side of the island. When you need to cook up a storm or set up a dinner buffet, fold it out for a few feet of extra space.

And now, finally, if you’re looking for the ultimate budget DIY solution to give yourself some more space in a tiny kitchen, we direct you to this super-smart and small DIY bookshelf island. How smart and thrifty is this? Just turn an old bookshelf into an island with some paint and a butcher block top. (You can add caster wheels here too for even more flexibility!)

Have you been able to fit an island into your small kitchen? How did you make it work?