Back of 9' island

August 13, 2019

At the last minute I've decided to change my island design to allow for seating. While we don't eat at an island now, it occurred to me that we're always gathered around the island to talk, so seating would be nice.

Current island design is 9 feet long. We are going with Medallion cabinets, and the salesperson says they don't make a 9' panel to go on the back. I've considered the following options and would appreciate opinions and also welcome other suggestions:

  1. Use doors to panel the island. This is the salesperson's recommendation (but she's selling cabinets). This will cost just as much as cabinets (approx $1200).
  2. Add a 9-inch-wide cabinet to either side of the island. This will give support and provide a tiny bit of storage space. Will still have 7.5 feet of seating space, which will comfortably seat three (we are a family of 4). Then I could have decorative panel or a valence or something between the two cabinets. Our sales-person wasn't keen on this idea. Says too little seating.
  3. Cabinet installer could do a custom trim. We are having a stained maple island (stain is brandywine so a bit dark). Our door style is a shaker-type style with a slight bevel. The custom trim would be a little bit different than the door style as it would be straight shaker. But maybe not that noticeable in the dark stain?

Below is a sample island with cabs. I was thinking even smaller cabs on the sides. I don't think it looks bad but would love to know if anyone else has any thoughts:

Thanks in advance!

Comments (14)

  • biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)

    Since the back of the island will be under a 15"+ deep overhang, I doubt very much you are going to be able to see the slight difference in shaker styles between the custom trim and the factory doors. If it saves you a substantial amount over using cabinet doors, that's probably what I would do. I actually like the look of the sample you posted with the cabinets on either end but I can tell just by looking at those stools that there is no way that is enough space to comfortably seat four people. I wouldn't limit your seating in that way if you are a family of four.

    Trinny thanked biondanonima (Zone 7a Hudson Valley)
  • catlady999

    Adding legs to the corners will support the overhang while still leaving over 8 feet of seating space. Decorative tile over backing boards will provide an attractive and durable surface.

    Trinny thanked catlady999
  • DrB477

    This is 8.5' island with 3" legs. Fits 4 stools. We had the option of decorative panels underneath but seemed like a waste with stools, legs, and 15" overhang. We didnt cut many corners in our kitchen but this was one of the few we did.

    Trinny thanked DrB477
  • Trinny

    Thanks for all of the suggestions so far. And also for the photos of the island - looks very similar to what we're trying to accomplish (your kitchen is very attractive!) and gives a clear sense of how much (or little) of the back panel you'll actually see.

    Excellent point that the stools and overhang will cover the decorative panel so no need to take on the extra expense. That feels better!

    And I agree that the stools in the sample picture are way too close together!

    Thanks again!

  • Buehl

    What about a finished flat end panel (finished to match your cabinets)?

    Trinny thanked Buehl
  • millworkman

    "Adding legs to the corners will support the overhang while still leaving over 8 feet of seating space."

    8' of counter-top with a 15" overhang will more than likely need support outside of corner posts. What material will the top be? Probably need either brackets or steel stretcher bars.

    Trinny thanked millworkman
  • Trinny

    The problem with the finished panel is that they don't make them up to 9 feet (just 8 feet).

    Yes, we will definitely make sure there's adequate support for the quartz!

    And an update. The kitchen woman has priced out the three options:

    1. Doors along back: $950 (this is lower than previously quoted)

    2. Cabinets on sides with plain panel under overhang: $450

    3. Trim-out that won't exactly match cabinets: $650

    Does that change anyone's opinion? I'm back to feeling conflicted. I swear I used to be able to make my own decisions before we started this kitchen project!!

  • PRO

    The easy thing is to use 2 panels, then cut 3” fillers to create frames that also cover the seam location.

    The doors are always the best option, though. An island should be finished 360. Sides too. It’s why it’s the most expensive real estate in any kitchen. You’ll still need the panels under the doors though.

    Trinny thanked GreenDesigns
  • megs1030

    I currently have panels on the back of my island and it's such a waste. With the countertop overhang and then all the stools parked in front, you can't even see them. We are gutting everything and re-doing in a few weeks. Our new island will not have any panels on that side. So my vote is to save your money and skip that detail.

    Trinny thanked megs1030
  • chispa

    I did the matching panels on mine because my stools are simple/backless and you can see the back of the peninsula when sitting at the nearby kitchen table.

    Figure out what you can see and from where you can see it, and then decide how it should be finished.

    Trinny thanked chispa
  • live_wire_oak

    You should do a wainscoting panel if your line offers it. And the cabinets sides should have the integral finished ends that look like the doors. It looks unfinished without being properly finished.

    Trinny thanked live_wire_oak
  • Trinny

    Thanks, everyone. We do have the decorative panels planned for the sides of the island. We're meeting with the designer/sales person today - hopefully for the final time. She has a couple of options to show me then.

    I am leaning towards the doors, though, since you can see the back of the island from the entrance to the house. And I suspect that it will nag at me as a compromise every time I look at it, which would be a shame after all of the time, energy and money invested in the project overall.

    Thanks again!

  • PRO

    Virtually any great trim/local cabinet maker can match your cabinet style and stain. Do some more investigating, before you buy doors. Once stools are in place, this area tends to visually disappear. You don't want plain drywall of course......but it needn't be the focus of the kitchen. It won't be , in fact.

    Trinny thanked JAN MOYER
  • felizlady

    Your counter fabricator should know what you need to support your overhang with four people sitting on stools and leaning on the counter. Seriously, supporting the overhang must be the first consideration.
    Once you make that decision, you may have room for only three stools. As long as the blank side of the island is properly finished and painted, you don’t need to add door panels because the stools will block the view of the backside of the island.

    Trinny thanked felizlady

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