Dining Table VS Kitchen Island [What Suits Your Home?]

Dining Table VS Kitchen Island

If you have limited space in your house or have limited money in your pocket, most probably you are having a dilemma while designing or rearranging the interior of your dining space. The dilemma would be, dining table vs kitchen island- which one to choose?

There might be some debates in your family about it too. Let me be clear on this. This is not a simple or small decision at all. Because we are talking about that space where your family bonding is nurtured every day.

I am an interior designer and lifestyle blogger. In this article, I will compare a dining table with a kitchen island, covering all the relevant aspects. My motive is to enable you to make the right decision. Besides, I will give you some interesting tips and answer some of the common questions on this matter.

Dining Table vs Kitchen Island: Head-To-Head Comparison

Kitchen islands are a symbol of modernism. They have eliminated the boundary between a kitchen and a dining space. Some people even have two kitchen islands in their house. One for the kitchen space and the other for the living room,  creating a corner for a get-together with small snacks.

But that does not make kitchen islands an obvious choice for all. Traditional dining tables are still popular. Their wide countertop has other utilities than serving food only, like doing home office or completing school homework. The sitting arrangement of a dining table makes all the family members’ faces visible to each other. You just cannot say that is not important.

In the table below, we will do a quick comparison between the dining table and kitchen on some common criteria:

Criterion Dining Table Kitchen Island
Multi Functionality Has single functionality for a proper dinner or lunch. Offer multi-functionality. Has deep-set drawers to store pans and knives.
Flexibility To Change Can be changed with instant decision. Flexible to Changes. Bigger investments needed to change. Not flexible.
Accommodation Accommodate more people. Can have extension leaves for more people. Spacious enough for a small family. Not for a big family.
Price Comparison: Less expensive than a kitchen island. The average cost is $1500 in the USA. More expensive than a dining table. The average cost for a single unit is $4,000 in the USA.
Looks & Styles Has more options. Comes in a variety of designs and colors. Makes the room look more spacious. Has a limited variation and design. Creates an impression of a cramped room.
Movability Easy to shuffle position. Difficult to change position.
Using The Space Good for a small dining space. Have a wider countertop. Utilizes the same space for both cooking and eating. Good for a big dining space.
Tidiness Easy to keep clean. Needs hard work to keep tidy.
Comfort Spacious to move hands and legs.  High enough to have food while standing.
Cultural Change Takes time and effort to prepare. Requires formality. Quick to prepare. Can have a meal on it in a casual manner.
Modernity Allows more people to cook and have meals together. More people can have meals together but cooking is not done by many.

We can not declare a winner by comparing the dining table with the kitchen island. Because both of them have their advantages and limitations. 

Dining Table vs Kitchen Island: An In-Depth Discussion

I will now do some in-depth comparisons between the dining table and kitchen island. I believe the comparison will be helpful to you if you are yet to decide which type of dining solution suits you the most.

Multi Functionality:

In this modern age, when empty spaces are shrinking, kitchen islands offer the benefits of multi-functionality. Their deep-set drawers are designed to store pans and knives, which used to be hung in the wall earlier. Some kitchen islands have built-in sinks too.

The wide countertop of a dining table makes them useful for different purposes. In many households, the children do their school homework at the dining table. 

Flexibility To Change:

You can change the dining table with an instant decision as it does not involve a big investment. But changing a kitchen island is comparatively a bigger investment to make. 

You can change the chair of a dining table with a new one very easily. But to change chairs or stools of the kitchen island, you have to keep the unique style in your mind.

For that, dining islands should be chosen very carefully. Since you will not be able to change them with an instant decision.


Dining tables usually accommodate more people for a warm Sunday lunch. Some of them also have extension leaves to entertain even more people. 

For a small family, a well-organized kitchen island is spacious enough. But they fail to contain a bigger group of guests at one go.

Price Comparison:

A kitchen island has many more utilities than a dining table. Naturally, it is much more expensive. On average a good quality dining table costs around $1500 in the USA. Whereas the best quality kitchen island can cost you $10,000. Though their average cost is $4,000 in the USA.

Looks & Styles:

So far tables are concerned, you have many options to choose from. They come in different materials, designs, colors, and themes. Following your preference, you can choose a classic table or a cutting-edge sci-fi-looking table.

You cannot say the same for a kitchen island. Kitchen islands have a limited variation and design. The idea of a kitchen island is comparatively new, so you cannot find a vintage style for it.

A formal dining table in the center of your dining space will make the room look more spacious than a kitchen island. Many people do not like a kitchen island in a smaller dining space just because they create an impression of a cramped room. One reason could be, the openness under the dining table makes an illusion of a bigger room. 


To avoid boredom, many of us keep shuffling the furniture in the room from here to there. This is too easy with a dining table and too difficult with a kitchen island. 

Kitchen islands are like a commitment for long-term relations. Sometimes you just have to bear it on. This is more true with a kitchen island, which has a built-in sink. 

Using The Space:

An average dining table has a length of about 36 inches. That is why they should be given preference when the dining space is small. But by using a kitchen island, you are utilizing the same space for cooking and eating. You may feel it to be reasonable if you do not want to keep a separate kitchen. However, it also depends on your overall interior design.

On the other hand, for a bigger kitchen space, kitchen islands fit perfectly. Their extra storage is not only economical but also makes it easier to keep the kitchen utensils in an organized manner. If space is a concern for you, the kitchen table is not a conducive option for you. They need a minimum of 90cm as legroom all around them.

The wider countertops of a table make them popular to many. It means some extra space to move your hands and the dishes and also to perform some other activities like drawing or writing.


Even with all the well-organized storage capacity, you may find a kitchen island to be congested. Because from the preparation of cooking to washing dishes – a lot of activities are done with a kitchen island. 

That is why you have to work hard to make the kitchen island look tidy. On the other hand, a dining table is always easy to clean and keep tidy. For some people, tidiness is very important while eating. They tend to prefer a traditional dining table.


Sense of comfort varies from person to person. The extra space of a dining table to move your hands and legs can be missed by many if they are eating on a kitchen island. However, kitchen islands have their type of comfort to offer. On average the height of a kitchen island countertop is from 36 to 42 inches. It makes it a favorite to those who like to finish their meal in a hurry, by having them standing beside a kitchen island. 

Cultural Change:

People are much busier nowadays than they were a few decades ago. Making a dining table ready for dinner and eating with all the table manners, does not seem likable by many. This is one of the reasons behind the increasing popularity of kitchen islands.

If you are habituated with the culture of having a proper dinner sitting at a proper table, you will always miss a dinner table.

An Answer To Modern Lifestyle:

Democratization inside a family is a part of the modern lifestyle. Now all the family members care to share all the chores of the house including cooking. 

Kitchen islands allow more than one family member to cook and have dinner together. It means they ensure more interaction among family members than a dining table and finally fosters greater family bonding.

Commonly Asked Questions About Dining Table & Kitchen Island:

How Much Space To Keep Around A Kitchen Island And A Dining Table?

Previously the recommended space around a kitchen island was 36 inches. Now there is an unofficial consensus that there should be more space around a kitchen island. Now the new standard says, there should be space around the kitchen island from 38 to 42 inches.

To ensure a smooth movability for the guests and family members in and around a dining table, you should keep a minimum of 30 inches of clearance space around a dining table. 

How Far Should A Dining Table Be From A Kitchen Island?

If a dining table and a kitchen island are set next to each other, you have to make sure that both of them have ample space around them to ensure seamless movability. Adding up the minimum space required by the two dining solutions, we can say, there should be a gap of a minimum of 72 inches between a dining table and a kitchen island.

Is A Kitchen Island Alternative To A Dining Table?

The uniqueness of the kitchen island is it incorporates cooking and dining at the same time. It gives you the feeling of eating fresh from the kitchen. It also suggests that the host is aware of the cleanliness of his or her kitchen.

Do You Need A Dining Table If You Have A Kitchen Island?

It depends on your preference, your budget, and the kitchen space of your house. If you are accustomed to using a dining table, you can have it beside the kitchen island. 

It is not necessary to have a separate dining table beside a kitchen island if you do not have any difficulty eating at a kitchen island. I do not recommend you buy a dining table if your kitchen is not spacious enough or you have a limited budget.

Is It Better To Have A Dining Table Or A Kitchen Island?

A Kitchen island is better for you if you like to live a modern life. They are very much compatible with today’s busy world. A Kitchen island is more expensive than a dining table. So you have to be prepared to spend more if you want to have a kitchen island instead of a dining table. 

You should also have adequate space in your kitchen to install a kitchen island. Otherwise, a dining table is a fine solution for a less spacious kitchen. Considering the above-mentioned facts, it should be you to decide whether to go for a kitchen island or buy a dining table instead. 

Final Remark:

Finally, I would suggest you have a consultation with other members of your family on choosing between the dining table vs kitchen island. Because it will have a big impact on your family and their day-to-day life.


You can read our post about

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Hey guys, This is Md Muktar Hossain, I have been working on home / office furniture for a long time. I thought I would share things with everyone through a website. If you like my articles, please share them with everyone. Stay well Stay healthy.

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