T-Shaped Kitchen Island: Best Guide For Buying

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Written by Cabrini Rudnicki on March 12, 2021 REVIEWED BY Samantha Peterson

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Last updated on August 12, 2021
     

When one is researching new kitchen renovation ideas, one of the more popular trends is that of a t-shaped island. A t-shaped kitchen island is simply an island designed in the shape of a “T.” 

Typically, people go for this unique shape when they are seeking extra eating or work space. The added space is a great benefit to your kitchen experience, but there definitely are some things to consider before you add one to your home.

The two key issues: space and budget.


Like most home improvement projects, the most important details are space and budget. 

Firstly, consider whether you even have the space for a t-shaped island. 

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Typically, experts recommend at least 36 inches between your base counters and your island. Make sure that you have ample space for active cooking and existing in the room. Having a t-shaped island makes the situation even more complex as you need that extra space for the base of the ‘T’. Depending on how long your kitchen island is, you may need a longer kitchen than is typical.

Another thing to consider is budget. A bigger kitchen island means more material needed which means a higher cost. On average, regular kitchen islands can go from $2K to $4K. A t-shaped island may require a custom design, which may cost even more at upwards of $6K. Make sure you are ready to pay the extra cost for this unique design. 

One possible way of saving money on a t-shaped island is to make a DIY island design. While it doesn’t look as professional and modern, simply adding another table in a T-shape can create the same effect. Of course, this only works if you already have an island in your kitchen, as well as the space. 

After you determine that you have the space and the budget for this kitchen addition, the next most important thing to consider is the kind of t-shape island.

Permanent vs. Portable


One of the most important things to consider when purchasing any kitchen island is whether you want a permanent island or a movable island.

Kitchen islands with wheels are a popular, and cheap, purchase for homeowners renovating their kitchen. This portable style of island is more affordable because they do not have any type of plumbing or electrical wiring, however, this also means that things cannot be tethered to them as they are meant to be moved. They typically have lockable wheels, and usually do not have many storage spaces. 

A permanent fixture will be more expensive, but depending on your lifestyle, they can make more sense. They typically become a major main functional area in your kitchen, both for cooking and eating. A permanent fixture will also be typically larger, as it does not need to be designed to fit through small areas during relocation. Most t-shaped kitchen islands are permanent fixtures, but a portable one could always be created.

How big should your island be? 


When someone buys any piece of furniture, the scale and size of the item needs to be considered. 

For one, determine how much space you have available. Hopefully, this was considered before you even decided to start actively shopping. Make sure your measurements are triple checked - you don’t want to have to redo your construction.

Next, consider what you intend to use your island for. Will you be eating on it as a main dinner table? Will you be doing the majority of your cooking on the island, and if so, how much space do you typically need? An island will suck up space in your kitchen, so be sure you aren’t unnecessarily buying one that is too large. 

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The standard measurements of a kitchen island are as follows:

Height of 36 inches

Width of 24 to 36 inches

Length of 48 to 72 inches

Overhang of 8-12 inches

These measurements are the typical dimensions but remember that they can be adjusted to suit the needs of your kitchen.

 With a t-shape island, you may want to consider the two parts to be of separate dimensions. For example, the top part of the T could be wider to accommodate cooking space, while the bottom part may be used for eating only and therefore does not need to be as wide.

Appliances, electrical wiring and plumbing


Another thing to consider is appliances. Will they be inserted into the island permanently? Where? 

Remember the kitchen triangle rule when deciding this. The kitchen triangle is an interior design theory which utilizes the three most important appliances inside the kitchen: the sink, the fridge and the oven. The general idea is to keep the triangle-shaped space between the three appliances as clear as possible. For example, your island should not be in between the three appliances. Make sure to consider workflow when deciding whether to implement appliances into your island design. 

When moving appliances around or creating an entirely new space, you will most likely need to have some electrical wiring or plumbing installed. Unless you are a seasoned expert, we recommend leaving this part of the process to a professional. 

Other details to consider


On top of being extra work and eating space, a kitchen island can also provide extra storage for your kitchen. Items can be stored on top, as well as in drawers and shelves underneath. When picking your new kitchen island, be sure to consider how much you intend to store. With a t-shaped kitchen island, there may be even more storage space than a typical island.

Another thing to consider is if you intend to use your new island as an eating area. If you do, you will need to consider a seating plan. How many people do you intend to fit at the table? Do you have a large family? Consider a longer island. Typically, people utilize the bottom part of the T for an eating area, while the top part is used as a traditional kitchen work space. 

Also consider lighting. A t-shaped kitchen island will require different lighting than a regular kitchen island. While a single light above the island may work in a typical kitchen, for t-shaped islands remember that you will need to light the second part as well. Make sure the entire island is illuminated beyond just the top lights. 

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Lastly, consider color and material. Like any other furniture piece, you want to ensure the addition remains cohesive with the rest of your kitchen’s design. For example, if your cabinets are white, consider whether you want to keep your island white as well or if you want to add a pop of color. 

There are many things to consider when picking a new island, and even more so when you are choosing a unique shape such as a t-shape. Make sure you follow our advice to ensure you buy the best possible t-shaped kitchen island for your kitchen. 

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