Kitchen island alternatives for when you’re short on space

If you’ve got your heart set on an island workstation but the space in your kitchen is lacking, there are plenty of ways to add extra worktop room or a place for casual meals. Here are just a few ideas:

Put in a peninsula

When creating more floorspace for an island isn’t an option, peninsulas are a go-to alternative. They’re usually an extension of your worktop that’s only partially attached to the wall, with the rest surrounded by a ‘sea’ of flooring. Peninsula worktops can either be supported by a leg below to form a breakfast bar with legroom or have base cabinets underneath for additional storage. As well as being a place to enjoy casual meals, a peninsula will help to close off the working area of your kitchen visually, meaning that children and guests are less likely to wander in when you’re busy cooking. Plus, it can help disguise structural features, such as supporting pillars. This type of seating area is also ideal for kids to sit at while they’re doing their homework so you can keep an eye on them while dinner is on the go.

Image source: SieMatic kitchen supplied by Rencraft

Time for a table

They may seem like more of a retro choice, but kitchen tables still have a lot going for them if you choose ones with useful features. Tables that extend to accommodate more guests before shrinking back to a compact size when you’re cooking are a good option, as are bijou café-style folding tables that can be used for relaxed Sunday brunches as well as more surface space when it’s required. Even a static table can be a useful addition and may also be better for your budget if you don’t need the storage space of an island below.

kitchen table design
Image source: Ikea

Buy a butcher’s block

Perfect for all your prep work yet petite in size, a butcher’s block has remained a kitchen favourite since the 1800s thanks to its versatility. Choose one on castors and it can be whizzed out of the way when you need more floor area, while even styles on legs can be moved around the room to make your layout serve different purposes. Many include shelves below the chopping block on top. Others have drawers, baskets, wine racks, such as this Cook’s Companion, and knife storage to boot, making it a one-stop shop for all your food prep. Help a butcher’s block fit into your kitchen scheme by painting it the same shade as your units or make it stand out by finishing it in a contrasting colour.

pink butchers block in kitchen
Image source: Harvey Jones

Pull-out prep space

There are definitely times in the kitchen when you want an extra run of worktop – and times when you don’t. A pull-up or pull-out section of surface is a smart idea – folding away neatly when it isn’t needed. Try a cabinet-style solution that matches your kitchen and it’ll also double as easily accessible storage. This Worktop Plus unit has been mounted on wheels, so it’s even easier to pull out in an instant when you’re unloading shopping, need more room for baking or are catering for a crowd.

kitchen worktop extender
Image source: Magnet

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