Kitchen Island: Worth the Investment?

Of all the rooms in your home, your kitchen may very well get the most use, so if you’re going to renovate, it pays to focus on your kitchen in particular. Similarly, if you’re flipping a house to sell, updating its kitchen could help not only attract buyers but allow you to command top dollar.

In the course of remodeling a kitchen, you may be inclined to install an island. But is that a smart investment?

What does a kitchen island cost?

Kitchen islands range from $3,000 to $5,000, reports HomeAdvisor (NASDAQ: ANGI). However, it’s possible to spend less or more. An oversized, custom-built island with high-end stone like quartz or granite could easily cost $10,000.

Pros and cons of a kitchen island

The upside of a kitchen island is getting to enjoy more storage and counter space. Some islands have drawers built in that provide you with more space to stash your dishes or cookware. Others can include bonus features like built-in wine fridges or sinks. Also, your kitchen island may be able to take the place of a table, freeing up space in that room.

But kitchen islands have their drawbacks, too. Visually, they can make an otherwise reasonably sized kitchen look and feel cramped. And sometimes, they can limit access to a fridge or oven, making food prep more of a hassle.

Is a kitchen island a good investment?

The extent to which you’ll add resale value by installing a kitchen island will depend on the model you choose. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 Cost vs. Value Report, a minor, midrange kitchen remodel has a cost replacement value of 77.6% — meaning you’ll get that much of your investment back. The cost replacement value for a major upscale kitchen remodel is much lower: 53.9%.

As such, if you’re going to get an island, you may want to opt for a modest one and skip the fancy features unless you’re making that investment for a home you plan to live in and know the high-end island will improve your quality of life.

That leads to an important point: If you’re thinking of adding an island for your own enjoyment, it could pay to move forward even if you don’t end up getting much of your money back. That island could serve as your gathering spot when you host friends, or it could simply make your life easier by giving you extra room to work in your kitchen.

If you’re flipping a house, it’s a different story. Here, you’ll need to consider whether a kitchen island will give you a better return on investment than other features you might choose to incorporate into your remodel. But if the home you’re flipping includes a larger, higher-end kitchen, it could pay to include an island, since many potential buyers will probably expect one.

The one scenario where you shouldn’t install an island is if your kitchen isn’t very large to begin with. If you move forward, you may find an island makes that space less comfortable instead of achieving the opposite goal.