Adding A Kitchen Island By Removing A Wall

By Angela Glancy

Many times a small, cramped kitchen can be made spacious and modern by removing a wall and adding a kitchen island. This is especially true in older homes that have a small dining room adjacent to the kitchen. The wall between the two rooms may make both spaces feel small ,and the path from the kitchen to the dining room may not be efficient or convenient.

Opening up the space between the two rooms can be like a breath of fresh air, making the two spaces into one big space that is more useful, efficient and contemporary. Adding a kitchen island where the wall once stood is frequently chosen as a way to add seating, storage, counter and even cooking space. If you are considering this type of renovation for your kitchen, here are some things you should consider before you tear down that wall.

Structural Considerations

Removing a wall is a major undertaking, and if the wall happens to be a load-bearing one, it will be necessary to make other structural reinforcements to compensate for the loss of the wall. Failure to do this could destroy the structural integrity of the home. Unless you are a licensed builder or contractor who understands the structural implications of what you are doing, your best bet is to hire a competent contractor to remove the wall and build the necessary reinforcements. The expense for this service is well worth it to avoid dangerous and expensive errors that could occur by trying to do the job yourself.


A contractor will also have the expertise and resources to move light fixtures, electrical outlets, plumbing lines, and so on, if that is needed for your remodel. This is especially helpful if you plan to add a sink or cook top to the island. The services of a professional kitchen designer can also help you create an efficient and attractive layout; many DIY homeowners don’t have the expertise to visualize the remodel and plan for proper traffic flow and placement of appliances, etc. in the kitchen. If new cabinetry is part of your renovation, the kitchen shop or home improvement store where you purchase your cabinets will usually offer this service for free.

Options for the Kitchen Island

There are many possibilities for designing a kitchen island and the design you choose depends on your needs. If you are seeking more storage space, for example, shallower upper cabinets are a great option to use below the countertop of the island because they are shallow and can be placed back to back, offering storage on both sides. Or, you can finish the front side with laminate or beaded board and set a countertop with a deep overhang on top: This will provide enough space for a breakfast bar on one side and storage on the other.

You can also choose to hang upper cabinets above the island for storage. Setting the cabinets back to back doubles the storage space; or opt for deeper cabinets with glass doors on both sides to maintain an open feeling while still adding storage.

Another option, as mentioned above, is to add a cooktop or sink to the island. Depending on the layout of the kitchen, a cooktop in the island in lieu of your existing range, might greatly enhance the efficiency of the room. An extra sink, dishwasher, cooling drawers, trash compactor or cabinets with roll out drawers are other bells and whistles that are nice to have when space and budget allow.

About the Author: Angela Glancy is a contributing editor and designer for She offers tips on displaying

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