Peninsula kitchen ideas and layouts – 10 smart ways to plan the design

Whatever the shape or size of your kitchen, our peninsula design ideas tick all the boxes

Peninsula kitchen ideas are one of the most hardworking kitchen designs and a popular layout for anyone seeking to zone an open space or embrace broken plan living.

A peninsula on a map is a piece of land almost entirely surrounded by water but connected to the mainland on one side. A peninsula in a kitchen is very similar, albeit less waterlogged. Connected to the wall on one side, a peninsula is an extremely useful addition to a wide range of kitchen layouts and can make an uninviting kitchen incredibly sociable.

Peninsula kitchen ideas

‘Peninsulas are often thought of as an alternative to large island units for smaller kitchens' says Daniel Bowler, Director, Eggersmann UK (opens in new tab). 'While this is certainly the case, peninsulas offer a wealth of opportunity for any kitchen. We’re talking food preparation, breakfast bar, somewhere to work from home – even a cocktail bar come evening. The options are endless.’

If you generally start your day in the kitchen, peninsula kitchens with breakfast bar seating will serve you well. Looking to boost storage? Plan in plenty of wide pan drawers on the kitchen side.

You may want to use your peninsula for cooking or doing the washing up, which is perfectly feasible as electrics and plumbing can usually be hidden under the cabinets below. Finally, don’t forget sockets. A pop-up powerpoint will make quick work of blending your morning smoothie.

1. Add banquette seats on the back

Ream shaker kitchen with white worktops and a warm wood floor

(Image credit: Life Kitchens)

‘If you have an open-plan kitchen idea, a peninsula is an effective and simple way to divide the room visually,’ says Graeme Smith, Head of Retail and Commercial Design, Life Kitchens. Fitting banquette style seating directly onto the back of a peninsula is a space-savvy way to get more people around the table.

The benefit of a banquette over regular chairs is there’s no need to allow room to pull the chairs out or for people to walk behind. With a banquette fitted directly onto the back of a peninsula, the dining area becomes an extension of the kitchen and a really sociable place to entertain.

2. Create a seamless colour scheme

Emerald green and ply kitchen with concrete worktops

(Image credit: King Celia Studio/Anna Stathaki)

In an open-plan kitchen, the colours and finishes on a peninsula can be used as a decorative tool, helping to achieve design cohesion between the kitchen and living spaces beyond.

'Matching the colour and height of the worktop to a half-height painted feature wall around the entire living space helps this peninsula to blend seamlessly with the rest of the room,' says Jess Piddock, Founder of King Celia Studio (opens in new tab).

‘Using strong, bright colours energises and illuminates the kitchen, while similar bright tones on accents and accessories in the living space continues the look through.’

3. Go slimline to save space

Kitchen decorated in pale pink with white tiled floor and pale grey kitchen units

(Image credit: Future)

A skinny peninsula may not be sufficient for breakfast bar idea but it can do a fantastic job of steering children away from the busiest, and most dangerous, zone of the kitchen. Leaving the chef to sizzle and sear without fear of a trip to A&E.

The narrowest practical peninsula is around 30cm/12in wide. Any skinnier and the surface won’t be usable without things dropping off the back. Go for open shelving rather than closed cupboards below for easy access if space is tight inside the kitchen. Cupboard doors will only create an obstruction.

4. Add storage for your living areas

Modern kitchen extension with wood fronted wall units and modern white floor units and kitchen island, bar stools and coloured accessories.

(Image credit: Future)

The external side of a peninsula is prime for a sociable breakfast bar spot but there’s no need to go overboard with the stools, especially if there’s plenty of additional seating nearby. Instead, use the space nearest the wall for storage – just one cupboard is enough to contain table linens, tea lights and place mats for laying the table with ease. Add a wine rack to take pressure off cupboard space in the heart of the kitchen and consider open shelving for characterful displays of colourful crockery.

5. Enjoy garden views while you cook

Enjoy garden views while you cook

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Darren Chung)

One of the most successful L-shaped kitchen ideas involves a peninsula as the shortest elevation, with the longest elevation running the full length of the kitchen. Installing a hob on the peninsula is great for sociable hosts who like to chat to guests while they cook. It’s also a smart move if your only view out from the kitchen is beyond the peninsula – cooking while facing a solid wall isn’t nearly as appealing.

Choose a 2-in-1 hob with extraction built in to avoid your views being disrupted by an overbearing cooker hood.

6. Fit open shelving

Grey kitchen with black pendant lights and black freestanding peninsula unit

(Image credit: IKEA)

A peninsula layout featuring open shelving will allow light through and boost the sense of space. Open shelves are popular with professional chefs because they make it easy to see and grab essential tools when busy in the kitchen.

Of all the kitchen peninsula ideas available, this is certainly not one for messy cooks! However, if you are skilled at maintaining order – we recommend stylish storage baskets to hide uglier items. A shelved peninsula will lend character and personality. For an industrial design vibe, choose black metal framed shelving, filled with shiny steel pots and pans.

7. Work all the walls with a G-shaped layout

White open plan kitchen with dark wood worktops and grey floor

(Image credit: Future)

If you want to know how to plan a kitchen with maximum storage and worktop space, then a G-shape layout could be the dream solution. As the name suggest, G-shaped kitchens have four sides and are shaped like a capital G. Like a U-shaped kitchen, but with a peninsula forming the extra side.

One of the most popular peninsula kitchen layouts, the G-shape is especially effective in large open-plan homes as the peninsula helps zone the kitchen off from living areas. Round out the corners of the peninsula worktops to enjoy ergonomic flow between spaces.

8 .Go long and lean, galley-style

Plywood galley kitchen with wraparound marble peninsula unit

(Image credit: Pluck Kitchens/Malcolm Menzies)

A peninsula doesn’t have to sit on a right-angle to the main kitchen units, it can also run parallel as part of a galley layout. Playing an essential dividing role, with useful breakfast bar seating this galley-style peninsula layout is unusual but incredibly practical, especially in narrow, mid-terraced homes.

Running a striking worktop, like this Bianco Ramigiatto marble, right down to the floor – waterfall style – will seriously ramp up the design impact of your peninsula. Use stylish light pendants to give a small peninsula more presence and choose bar stools in luxe finishes for extra glamour.

9. Divide and conquer with a U-shape

Green tiled kitchen peninsula with rich wood worktop and bar stools

(Image credit: Future)

An open-plan U-shaped layout essentially has a peninsula on two sides – like an elbow. This kitchen design keeps your cooking area neatly contained without blocking out any light. This is one of the best layout ideas for a large, square multifunctional living space.

A short overhang at one end – no more than 30cm/12in-deep will do – is all you’ll need to add breakfast bar seating. Select stools that will tuck right underneath when not in use to improve the flow through to the rest of the house.

10. Take control of corners

Dark wood slab kitchen with white wraparound worktop and blue pendant lights

(Image credit: Future Plc/Colin Poole)

Almost every peninsula layout comes with corners as standard. If you want to minimise their dark, deep space-wasting depths, a simple L-shape layout is your best option as it has just one corner to deal with. A U-shape has two corners, and a G-shape peninsula kitchen layout has no less than three!

Corner cupboards aren’t all bad, as long as you know how to tackle inside. The answer is to install specialist space-saving internal storage mechanisms that will pull contents out to you, rather than having to kneel down and dig deep within. Kitchen designers recommend Le Mans units, which are shaped like the famous racetrack and feature shelves that glide smoothly out into the room.

What is a peninsula kitchen layout?

A peninsula is like an island unit, except it is attached to the wall at one end. You can add a peninsula to all the most popular kitchen layout ideas, bringing additional prep and storage space to the floorplan. If you add a peninsula to a single galley, it becomes an L-shape. If you add a peninsula to an L-shape it becomes a U-shape, while a U-shape with a peninsula is known as a G-shape.

It’s probably best not to get bogged down in terminology, the main thing to note is that a peninsula has the power to make any kitchen a whole lot more flexible. In really spacious kitchens you can even add a peninsula to a layout that already has an island and use the island just for cooking and the peninsula solely for dining. Imagine.

What’s the advantage of a kitchen peninsula?

‘In smaller kitchens, a peninsula layout can often be a better alternative to one with a standalone island, which requires sufficient space around its full perimeter. A peninsula is less space hungry, but still has the same capacity for storage and multi-tasking as an island,’ explains Richard Moore, Design Director, Martin Moore (opens in new tab).

As there is nothing besides the odd pendant light above a peninsula, it can prove a more pleasant place to chop and cook than worksurfaces that are tucked under wall cabinets. ‘A peninsula can also be a very effective room divider – perfect for separating the cooking zone from the social areas,’ adds Richard.

How wide does your kitchen need to be for a peninsula?

For a peninsula to be a useful feature rather than an annoying pinch-point or obstacle to navigate around, the most critical measurement is the width of the entrance into your cooking space. The magic number here is 90cm/36in, which should allow you to walk in and out without bashing your hips!

To find out how wide your kitchen needs to be for a peninsula simply measure 90cm/36in from one wall and see what you have left to play with. There are no hard rules, but you should aim for a peninsula of about 90cm/36in wide minimum. This size will allow a couple of stools on the exterior elevation.

It’s worth remembering that adding a peninsula to your kitchen layout will turn an easily accessible straight run of units, into an L-shape with a less accessible corner, so the pros should exceed the cons.

Linda Clayton
Linda Clayton

 Linda Clayton is a professionally trained journalist, and has specialised in product design, interiors and fitness for more than two decades. Linda has written for a wide range of publications, from the Daily Telegraph and Guardian to Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She has been freelancing for Ideal Home Magazine since 2008, covering design trends, home makeovers, product reviews and much more.