Kitchen islands are one of (if not the) most desirable features people look for in the kitchen these days. More than just make spaces look sophisticated and welcoming, the right kitchen island for the right room makes it much more functional, and can contrary to what you might believe make it feel more spacious by boosting the amount of available work space you have.
Picking the right island for a kitchen is not always completely straightforward, there’s a few things you need to think about in order to make sure it’s a success, here’s our handy guide to everything you need to know about kitchen islands.
Size, shape and position
Islands can be L-shaped, U-shaped, round and even semi-circular in addition to square and rectangular. Although you may covert one particular shape of island, unless you are blessed with a particularly large kitchenyou will need to identify what shape of island would actually fit your kitchen best. The same goes for size and it’s exact positioning. After all, you don’t want to have the new island installed to find it’s instantly transformed the room into a cramped, awkward to manoeuvre space.
Take measurements — consider if any dead space would be created, as well as how narrow any walkways would become if an island was in the way. If you’re unsure what would be best for you, talk to an interior or kitchen designer who will be able to advise you.
A really important factor that many overlook when adding an island to their kitchen is the matter of lighting. Although today many kitchens feature recessed lights across the whole ceiling that smatter the entire room in bright light, if this is not the case for you, you may want to add additional lights to illuminate the island so you can actually see what you’re doing.
Considering adding a pendant light above the island. Hang it relatively low and have it installed on a separate circuit from the other kitchen lights, use a relatively dim bulb, those trendy Edison bulbs you can buy in most places these days work excellently. This will provide you with a bit of ambient lighting when you have intimate, informal suppers at the island or when you want to just chat and drink wine late in the evenings and you don’t want to have the full force of your kitchen’s task lighting blaring down upon you.
Placing plenty of storage within the sides of island is great idea, allowing you to free up space elsewhere in the kitchen which could help make the room seem a little larger. Some units feature push open cupboards and drawers which are almost seamless so you can still have that chic ‘one solid slab’ style of island despite the storage. Get creative with the storage as well, why not include a wine fridge or go for an overhanging rack to store pots and pans?
Islands are intended to be multi-functional. They’re not just glorified kitchen tables that cannot be moved. There’s lots of things you can do to give them more uses. Consider fitting a sink or induction hob on one side. Positioning these items together means you can still fit large parties around the rest of the island undisturbed by appliances.
The final consideration to make is what sort of materials you want the island to be made from. Remember it doesn’t have to match your kitchen work tops in fact accenting your kitchen with an island made of completely different materials can look marvellous.
More so than the aesthetics however there are practical considerations to make. Granite for example is versatile, robust and very little upkeep to maintain. However, if it does get damaged it is difficult and costly to repair, in addition some people find it rather unpleasant to sit and eat at. Check our guide to kitchen counter materials here for more info.