Why a large kitchen island may devalue your home – according to estate agents

It’s stylish and practical, but this kitchen feature may negatively affect a home’s sale prospects. Here’s why

Minimalist kitchen ideas with storage
(Image credit: Paul Massey)

It's hard not to fall for the allure of a kitchen island. This statement feature has established itself as an essential in the most stylish kitchens on both sides of the Atlantic, so it is hard to believe adding one could be a mistake. But it might surprise you to learn that it can be seen less favorably in the real estate world.

Estate agents warn that bigger is not always better when selecting kitchen island ideas for your home. If your island appears too large and disproportionate in your kitchen, it may have a negative impact when it comes to selling your property. Here's what the agents want you to know. 

Do large kitchen islands devalue your home?  

Mistakes when designing a kitchen island

(Image credit: Future)

If you’re thinking about ways to add value, be mindful that large kitchen islands could actually devalue your home. However, whether this is the case often depends on your home's size and location. 'Here in Manhattan, I see the effect of oversized kitchen islands with some regularity, and the impact on a home's attractiveness and value can often be negative,' says Ian Katz, a licensed associate real estate broker with Compass in New York. 

According to the agent, large kitchen islands can be particularly unappealing in properties built in the 1980s and earlier. In these buildings, owners have often opened up a galley kitchen by taking down a wall and expanding it into the adjacent living room. 

'When the island isn't designed with attention to overall proportion and fit within the larger living space, the result can be an island that intrudes too far into a living room,' Ian says. This open-plan living room idea sometimes 'eliminates separate space for a proper dining table for six or eight people – or a place to place a sectional or couch'.

Gray hexagonal tiles in a kitchen with an island and bar stools

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti/Future PLC)

In locations like Manhattan, an open kitchen, formal dining area, and relaxing space are often at the top of a buyer's agenda, the agent says. If the island takes away from one of the latter two, then it makes the homes ‘harder to sell'.  

So, large kitchen islands may be a problem in urban settings, but what about other locations? Glen Pizzolorusso, a licensed associate real estate broker with Glen Christopher Luxury Collection in Connecticut, says that the answer depends on the style of the kitchen. 

'I have seen some massive islands in large open concept kitchens that look gorgeous,' he says. However, he suggests that the popular kitchen idea may deter 'buyers in a kitchen where the island is not proportionate' to the rest of the space. 'But people love large, well-proportioned islands,' Glen says. 

kitchen island with white worksurface and white painted upholstered chairs with green cabinets behind and double oven

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

London-based agent Robert Swann of Foxtons* South Kensington similarly refers to big islands among the features that can deter buyers who are viewing your home. 'A big island is fine, but if it takes up too much space, it can be an issue,' he says.

Should you rethink your large kitchen island?

When designing a kitchen island, it is crucial to consider its size in proportion to your space, or it may have a negative impact on your overall scheme – and consequently, the price your home can achieve. 

‘An island can boost kitchen storage and preparation space, make it a more sociable place to be, and create a fabulous focal point,’ says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘A good designer can help ensure it has no downsides, and plenty of benefits.‘ 

*Foxtons quote courtesy of Magnet 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.