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Kitchen island or large kitchen table, any thoughts?

(60 Posts)
Pannacotta Mon 23-Jan-12 14:38:08

We are planning our new kitchen (and have been for some time...).

It's an awkward shaped room but we have decided to work with the footprint rather than extend.

We can either have a large kitchen table to seat up to 8 and no island, or a smaller table seating 4, 6 at a push, plus an island.

We don't entertain often but do have family over fairly regularly for meals.

I can't decide which would be better - have never had either in a home I have lived in!

Any thoughts/experiences?


fresh Mon 23-Jan-12 14:49:25

An island would normally have a higher worksurface than a table, so if you have a table it's not good for food prep. Do you have enough other worksurfaces planned, so that you could sacrifice food prep space for a table?

Francagoestohollywood Mon 23-Jan-12 14:49:54

I think that first of all you need to decide what you'd like to put in your island.
We have quite a big one with both sink and cooker, I really love it. But we have a table in the adjoining room.

BettyBathroom Mon 23-Jan-12 14:58:28

If you have a dining room I'd go for an island, otherwise I'd go for a large table.

Pannacotta Mon 23-Jan-12 15:01:29

We haven't got a final plan done yet, am in the process of getting designs done by local kitchen places and am having a tinker myself.

We may be a bit short on worktop without an island, but we wouldnt have a sink or hob in it, it would just be a prep island which could also be used to serve food on.

There is space for a largeish table in our sitting room, which is opposite the kitchen. But I do think it's nice to have a long, battered table in the kitchen where there is room to lay food out on the table and enough space for homework/games etc.

Just not sure where to compromnise really...

PastGrace Mon 23-Jan-12 15:06:40

My parents have an island which has a raised bit as a work surface and then a lower table which is joined onto the island at one end (if that makes sense), so the table has 3 sides, and the island has three sides. We can just squash 4 round when my sister and I are home, but any more and we use the dining table.

My experience was that the island just turned into a dumping ground. My mum is now thinking about taking it out. I have never once seen my mum use it as a worksurface, she generally just sat at the table to do food prep.

I think in your position I would go for the bigger table. If you feel very strongly that you would stand at an island and use it lots, then that would make sense, but I can't think of anyone I know who has genuinely used their island as a worksurface more than they've used it as a dumping surface.

Not sure if that helps you at all.

MrsMarmot Mon 23-Jan-12 15:09:08

Large kitchen table. A real family magnet and a lot cosier. Also allows you to add contrast to the rest of the kitchen. A bunch of flowers always looks better on a kitchen table!

ilovetheshops Mon 23-Jan-12 15:10:54

I decided to habe a large table seating 10 in the middle.Love it as it is fab for homework ,etc as well as a great place for entertaining and really makes the kitchen "the heart of the home"

ilovetheshops Mon 23-Jan-12 15:11:22


Pannacotta Mon 23-Jan-12 15:15:19

Interesting to hear about the island becoming a dumping ground. We are quite messy so this is an issue...

Also good to hear about a large table being a family magnet, this is what we really need as our current kitchen is the opposite of that at the moment, its dark, crowded and the table is too small.

Having never had a big kitchen table it is hard to envisage how different it would be, so good to hear from those who do....

BlueChampagne Mon 23-Jan-12 15:59:32

Our island is a dumping ground, despite our best intentions. And a large table can be moved. I'd go for a medium sized table with extra sections for when there are more of you, as long as you have enough work space elsewhere. Then you spend less time walking round it and there's less room to dump things on it.

SwedishEdith Mon 23-Jan-12 16:04:49

What kind of look are you going for? I favour a table, definitely, (but it can still be a dumping ground blush) Unless the kitchen was huge, I think I'd get annoyed with an island always being in the way

betterwhenthesunshines Mon 23-Jan-12 16:06:55

Large table. We have a large one, but the end is usually full of clutter....

But you could get a table with fold down ends so you can use it as a small table and extend when you need it. And then maybe a moveable butchers block to give you some extra workspace which you could move to one side when you have guests and need the large table?

Or a mid size table eg 90 x 120 and then a slim console size table (eg 90 x 50 so that would give you a total of 90 x 170!) that could sit against a wall as a 'desk' space so homework etc is out of the way of eating but when you need a large table you put it alongside the main one.

Look at IKEA?

noddyholder Mon 23-Jan-12 16:08:24

Definitely a table

Francagoestohollywood Mon 23-Jan-12 16:08:52

Our island def not being used as a dumping ground, also because I use it to prep food etc.
I think, on the other hand, that ours work well, because we have some sort of open plan kitchen/dining/living room, so we have a table close by.

BettyBathroom Mon 23-Jan-12 16:27:25

I use my island as a worksurface - that was the whole point in having one. And I love it for that purpose. It is very sociable if you cook a lot. People sit at the island and chat, it's where the kids do their homework. We still eat at the table.
I agree it's a dumping ground but no more so than a big table would be - somewhere in the kitchen always becomes a dumping ground.

sixtiesqueen Mon 23-Jan-12 16:28:03

depends where you can put the table. We had a central one in our last house and it drove me potty always walking around it. Now have an island and extending table and it's a huge improvement in practical terms

Pannacotta Mon 23-Jan-12 17:01:37

Thanks all, now I am even more undecided!

Like the idea of an island butting up to the table but not sure there is room for both, though a small butchers block from IKEA could work, perhaps with an extendable table.

If we have just a large table it would be alongside the back wall. At the moment we have a round table in the middle and it doesnt feel right.

The other option is to fit built-in bench seating plus a smaller table into the existing bay window area, but this area isnt huge, around 2.3m long x 1.4m deep. We could then have a decent sized island in the centre of the room, opposite sink/hob.

An island would be really useful for us in terms of cooking, eg prepping veg, making packed lunch and also laying out/serving food. But am loving the idea of a big table being a family magnet too....

Decisions, decisions!!

Pannacotta Mon 23-Jan-12 17:04:08

In terms of overall look, have fallen in love with this kitchen, but ours is a different shape, not a nice neat rectangle like this one

stealthsquiggle Mon 23-Jan-12 17:10:39

our island has the dishwasher and the sink in it (which meant more plumbing but we were back to concrete and brick anyway hmm) - and actually it is the horizontal surface least likely to be a dumping ground / most likely to be clear and clean (by which I mean yes it does get covered in crap, but it is short-term crap like washing up, not long term piles of papers/tins/hair slides/whatever like those which silt up most of the rest of the work surfaces). It also has the bin built-in under it (which I really like, although I was anti built-in bins (it's in a drawer) to start with).

We don't sit ever at the island, though - you couldn't, really, as the cupboards come out to the edge of it - our table seats 6 (ish) but we actually have space for, and would like, a longer one.

If you could cope without the extra work surface, then I think I would go for the long table, TBH.

fresh Mon 23-Jan-12 17:26:57

Am intrigued by the bay window idea.. is it a square edged bay or an angled bay? And if you had a table which was partly in the bay and partly protruding into the kitchen, would that mess up the space?

Pannacotta Mon 23-Jan-12 17:33:08

fresh it's a square bay with windows on two sides and I was thinking of something along these lines (and yes the table would probably protrude into the room but that should be ok, as long as it doesnt look too odd).

The room faces south so I thought it would be a nice sunny place to sit, but bit concerned it might feel cramped...

I probably need to find a good architect dont I?!

stealthsquiggle Mon 23-Jan-12 17:36:49

That looks lovely although those window seats would be covered in piles of abandoned jumpers and cuddly toys in no time flat in our house

fresh Mon 23-Jan-12 17:58:23

Don't necessarily need an architect (although have to be careful what I say here as have already upset one architect on another thread..). The seats need to be about 45cm deep, and if you ran them around all 3 sides of the bay, that would leave a space big enough for a table to seat four people every day (two along the long side and one at each end), and you could add another couple of chairs to the 'kitchen' side to seat 6.

amazonianwoman Mon 23-Jan-12 18:12:02

Having the same dilemma too grin

Could you fit in a peninsula + table rather than an island? Then you get extra workspace which faces into the room rather than the wall, so more sociable, with room for a couple of stools and extra cupboards underneath.

If not I'd go for big table, although I do love islands!

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