Island or table?

lavender_lassApril 20, 2012

I thought it was Home4all6 that had a thread on this, but I didn't see it under the search. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has a table rather than an island, in the middle of their kitchen? While I like an island, there would be room for a big table with chairs (4 to 6) and still have a small loveseat/chair seating area. Does anyone have this type of setup?

And, if anyone sees the other link(s), please post that, too. Thanks in advance :)

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I have actually thought about not doing an island in my next house.

I have collected a few pictures on Houzz of kitchens without islands. There aren't many.

Look at this kitchen. Don't you just want to sit here and have a cup of Jo with a good magazine. I don't feel that way about my island. So easy to set the table and have a meal together, instead of going around the island. A lot of positives. A few negatives too by losing the big island.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 10:36PM
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Red- I love that kitchen! The table is cozier than an island, as long as you have plenty of prep area on the perimeter countertops. Those windows are wonderful, too...definitely saving this picture to my file :)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 11:03PM
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a couple of years ago the editor in chief at house and home said islands were on their way out and sitting at a kitchen table was the new thing.
i don't know....when i get to do my dream kitchen in 3 years, i'm pretty sure i'll chose and island. if you have enough counter space and storage a rustic kitchen table would be very charming.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 11:37PM
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I grew up with a kitchen table in the middle of the kitchen and I have to say that I really disliked it...but the main reason I disliked it, I think, is that the aisles b/w the cabinets/counters and the table were too narrow. I really disliked trying to squeeze b/w the counters and the chairs...even when no one was sitting in them. The aisles were only about 36" or so b/w the table and counters - not nearly enough room! When someone was seated in the chairs, it was really, really difficult to squeeze by - and we were a very skinny family!!

In our old kitchen, we had a table that stuck into the center of the kitchen with a wider aisle - over 4'. It was OK when no one was sitting at the end (which we discouraged by not putting a chair there), but when we needed to use the end, it definitely crowded the range, sink, and counters. (We removed the table, but did not add an island b/c at 11' wide, there was not enough room for cabinets/counters on both sides plus an island.)

With most islands, there is no seating on the working side of the island so the aisle b/w the island and the counters can be narrower (at least 42" is preferable, but 36" will sometimes work - it depends on what is on the aisle, how may people will be working in the kitchen, and whether it's a busy thoroughfare.)

If you look at the picture Red_Lover posted, you will notice the wide, expansive aisles. The table works b/c there is plenty of room around the table so even when someone is seated at the table there is plenty of clear aisle space left to navigate around the kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 1:07AM
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Yup, it's all about the size of the room.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 1:24AM
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It's a big's the current living room and bedroom, with the wall taken down. So, 18' x 14' and 18' x 13' which makes the two spaces 18' x 27' all together. We want to keep a seating area, where we have the living room...something like this. From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 2:59AM
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Are you a "neat" cook? I am not so much, and would not particularly want to eat that close to my hot stove with pots and pans on it.

My parent's have a small ranch house with L perimeter counters and table in the offset corner. A kitchen not big enough for an island....there is no prep going on at the table, only eating.

So do you think you would have enough space to prep and cook easily without the surface area of the table or island, and would eating so close to the stove and sink be your first choice?

Food for thought, as I think that the kitchen picture above is lovely.

Also, as one ages, the appeal of chairs vs barstools cannot be overstated....

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 7:34AM
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I really wanted a kitchen table. Even bought one to fit. As others have said, the heat is a problem when eating. Plenty of room for an island in the kitchen and a table in the sitting area. If you really want a seating area, a table that looks and used like an island with extra chairs available would add dual purpose. I don't know how we ate in our tiny kitchen during the 50s. Guess it was just part of the deal back then.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 9:51AM
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"So do you think you would have enough space to prep and cook easily without the surface area of the table or island, and would eating so close to the stove and sink be your first choice?

Food for thought, as I think that the kitchen picture above is lovely.

Also, as one ages, the appeal of chairs vs barstools cannot be overstated...."

Good points. I have memories of my sister and I helping my mother prep on her table for our large family. All sitting together peeling huge amounts of potatoes (with pearingg knives). No island in her old house.

the chairs do look more appealing than my uncomfortable counter height bar stools. My feet fall asleep at the island after about 12 lbs. at thanksgiving. So, good point there too.

Lavender, I think your kitchen--from your drawing--is perfect to do something like this. A long, narrow farm table. Hmmmm. Perfect for prep That you can do seated, then plan another prep area by your kitchen sink for standing prep.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 10:13AM
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One of the suggestions my KD created was a long island (about 5-6'), add a built in bench along the short side of one end of island (seats 2), then add table for 4-6 people. It becomes a very long structure in the kitchen but I think it may solve my desire for island prep and separate table within kitchen to eat, visit. Option 2 KD provided was one loooooong island that remains one height and there's designated chair seating at one rounded end. Option 3 is similar to #2 but island granite drops down so it's still all connected but it's a seated table and it's simply 2 tier island. Sorry I don't have pics to post to show the options and my descriptions may not be the best.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 10:29AM
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LL, I agree with your idea! I have saved many, many pics of kitchen with tables rather than island. I think of it as a farm table, as a dairy farm we used to visit as a child had a huge, worn and loved wooden table in the middle that was set with every type of homemade breakfast food you could imagine! It was so fun!

And I love the image redlover posted--loves very cozy!

I was wondering if you could do it and not have the room feel too "farm-y" but you would be looking for a less-modern look.

For me it will probably come down to storage--I will want the cabinets in the island for extra storage that a table doesn't afford.

Are you on pinterest? I have lots of photos saved there.

But I did ask a similar question on GW a few months ago. It had most of my photos in it, too. IT was called "Farm Table instead of Island?" I have been trying to link to it, but it keeps getting rejected, so I give up :)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 10:58AM
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Maybe like this

Or this

More kitchens with just tables from my idea book, but not nearly as cool as that first one.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 11:02AM
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I love to see a big old farm table in a kit when there is room. It is very homey especially in an old farm house.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 2:25PM
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Thank you all for the responses!

Home- I've been looking for that thread, so thanks for posting the link!

Red- Thanks for all the pictures...they're really nice, but that first one is my favorite, too :)

I found this picture, which got me thinking about opening up the two spaces, for a bigger kitchen. It's nice, but then I wondered if just a big country/kitchen table might be a better idea. From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 2:29PM
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While I like the farmhouse feel and the beams/wood floor, etc. the above kitchen is a little fancier than what I would choose...especially the chairs.

I like a lot of windows, over the sink...and the blue ceramic tile countertop (maybe more of a french blue, though) Laura Calder's kitchen. From Fairy tale cottage

Maybe more light gold and a warmer wood tone, to balance the blue.

From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

And, of course, the bunny tile backsplash! LOL From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

Oh, and the fireplace is floor to ceiling brick, with a raised hearth. I don't have a good picture of it, but it's a soft rose brick...very nice :)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 2:42PM
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I'd rather prep at a high surface (I'm tall) so I really like the island/table setup in Red Lover's first photo. I can see something like that working well in your kitchen, with an island placed with the long sides parallel to the sink. It could be 6'+ long and you'd still have generous aisles; you could have a trash pullout in the island opening toward the sink so that it's close to the sink and DW for cleanup and close to prep space on the island.

Then the table could be placed on the non-sink side of the island with the short side next to the island.

I'd be tempted to lose the desk area since you could work and spread out at the table; you could have what is now the desk area be tall cabinet storage for whatever you might have at the desk; e.g., laptop; paperwork; etc. It could also store table linens, serving pieces, vases, etc.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 3:39PM
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There is something charming and cozy about a table in the kitchen. My MIL's tiny kitchen has a table in front of a big picture window. It's lovely to sit there.

If you are planning to prep at a table, it can have it's issues. MIL will put a bowl in her lap while processing large amounts of fruits or veggies, since sitting and peeling with the bowl on the table puts it too high to be comfortable, and standing and prepping at the table makes the work surface too low. Some friends of ours have a long farm table in their working farm kitchen, and they prep their oodles of food by sitting on a stack of old phone books set on a chair to put them up to a more comfortable working while sitting height. That's probably not your ideal situation!

So, do you picture yourself prepping at the table, at an island, or on your perimeter counters? It would be easy enough to try prepping at your current table and see how it feels to you.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 4:57PM
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I think the main prep area, would be between the sink and range, with a second prep/baking area, by the wall oven/microwave. Prepping at the table would not be ideal, unless it's something you can do sitting down. I picture that more for seating, conversation, reading books/magazines, drawing out garden plans, etc.

If I did decide to add an island, I think a freestanding piece is the best prep sink or electrical. Then, if I need the extra prep, I can add an island height table, with the farm table pushed up to one Chicagoans suggested. If it's not needed, it could just be the big farm table and chairs.

While I can see the appeal of an island, it seems to duplicate the function of the table. I'd rather have everyone sitting around a table, than lined up along the island...especially is we have room to have a table in the kitchen and still move around it, when people are seated.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 5:30PM
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I am hoping that islands are still 'in'. We have the cabinets, floor tile and appliances ordered, and are putting a dual height island in the kitchen. One side will be 5'x2' standard counter height, and then attached to that will be 5'x33in bar height that will be used as our kitchen table. I am very excited as we also ordered our Blue Louise for the island top!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 9:29PM
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I LOVE the look of the tables and also the functionality of them! There's something special about sitting down at a table for meals...

That being said, I had an island in my last kitchen and loved it so much. I miss prepping at an island. Even if there is perimeter space there's something great about preparing food at an island and also facing "out" into the kitchen : )

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 9:23AM
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hi LL,
it appears you will have plenty of counterspace for prepping. With all you have posted about the vibe you are going for, I SO picture a table in your space... or as you say, if it is an island, something sort of table looking.

Right now, I don't have an island, just a table. I have very little counterspace so I do have to use the table for prepping and even at only 5'4" tall it is not great (perfect for the kids though!!).

You are tall, correct? I would say if there is any chance at all you'd need it for prepping I'd go for the island otherwise I think the table.

ps: have not been on here because of computer issues, but i finally ordered my cabinets and posted a message about it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 11:30AM
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We have a farm table in he middle of our 25x20 kitchen and while it looks pretty when clean, it's really nothing more than a catch all for anything and everything. I thought I would like it for counter space since we have none, but it's no fun to work at a low table and how often do you really prep sitting down?

Hate it (though it looks charming) lol. I won't have one in the finished kitchen (we do have seated dining in two other rooms so we do sit down to eat for all meals...just not at the kitchen table).

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 1:33PM
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Bon- I think islands will be 'in' for a long time, so I wouldn't worry. The Blue Louise will be beautiful!

Fishies- You make a good point. If we have enough perimeter space, it is still nice to prep, facing I can see the advantages to an island, too. But, I'm not ready to give up on the table, still looking at options. The only 'negative' about an island, seems to be that your table really doesn't end up 'in' the kitchen, but on the other side of the island, 'next to' the kitchen.

MamaPaige- Nice to see you back! I saw you other post, left you a long message, and it got lost when I tried to send it. I'll get back there later today, but just wanted to say I love your floor plan and your design choices! :)

Igloochic- I can see why having only a table for prep would be frustrating. They're really too low to be a good prep area, for most people. But, we do have a lot of perimeter work space in this I'm not sure we need the prep space at the table, too.

Thank you all for the responses. I think with enough space on the perimeter, a kitchen table would be great. However, we do have enough room to use a freestanding island, with table pushed up to the end, if it turns out we do need more prep space. There is a lot of appeal though, to a farmhouse a farmhouse :)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 1:54PM
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LL- here is a link to the last time that you asked this question.

Here is a link that might be useful: island or table?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 2:29PM
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Athome- Thank you! How do you find these old posts? I look on the search at the bottom of the page, but none of the old posts seem to show up...and when I do find one, if you add a comment, it does't show up on the forum. Maybe I'm doing something wrong...

In the old post, I had the kitchen in a different area. Now, we're thinking about taking down the wall between the current living room and bedroom and making it one large space...and using the existing fireplace. The raised hearth doesn't really work in the living room, but I think it will be wonderful in the kitchen :)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 3:26PM
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In your part of Washington there should be plenty of times when you head straight in to sit at that hearth to warm up.

Lavender, I almost can't believe I built a kitchen without a table in the middle. I love this kitchen nevertheless, but next time! Yes, I do expect to do almost all my prep facing out a window, or while watching reflections of loved ones and TV :) in the glass, but I've lived with a table right in the kitchen and there's nothing like it. Not even people perched right there on the other side of an island you're standing at.

My best homes have always had a good-sized civilized social living room with books, music, TV, etc., and another room as a social kitchen, but if I could only have one of them guess which it would have to be? I will have a table as the center of the center of my home again some day.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 7:31PM
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Rosie- My problem is I like both...but I don't want the table all the way over by the fireplace. Having a cozy, upholstered sitting area by the fire is wonderful...especially in the winter! But, I can also see that not having any island will make it a little more awkward, with such a big space. No place to set anything down across from the sink, besides the table...and that chair will be in the way.

So, I'm leaning towards a butcherblock island, maybe 6' x 2' that the dining table can push up to, with seating on each side and the other end. The table can slide away from the island, when we want to seat more people, but it will still give us another prep space...and the option of sitting or standing.

I'm also thinking about putting a big table on the porch, too. While seating is nice, I really like plants around a table, in the summer (screened) and the winter (glass). There's also a good place for skylights there, facing southeast!

We are planning to have a separate living/family room, so it will be similar to your 'best homes' which are my favorite layouts, too. One space for TV, books, music, etc and the other for cooking, baking, eating, more music, chatting, etc. Thanks for the response :)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 8:21PM
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Well, I was just about convinced that an island/table combo would be much more efficient and functional...

From [Farmhouse plans](

When I found this picuture, which is exactly what I've been imagining. Maybe not as functional, but very charming and cozy. I think we have about 18' of perimeter counterspace, so hopefully that will be enough :) From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   April 23, 2012 at 12:00PM
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We have a 5' table that sits next to the 6' island. The table seats 4-5 and we use it for most meals. The is also a bar on the island that DH insisted on having to drink his morning coffee, but that's another story and it seats two.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Kalapointer - thank you for posting this - this is exactly what I have been envisioning for our new kitchen, but haven't found a good picture of it until now. Thank you!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 2:39PM
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