Designing the perfect island can revolutionize your kitchen. The kitchen island is the modern equivalent of the garage: Not everyone had one at first, but owning a garage became nearly essential to homeowners as the idea spread. Today, a kitchen without an island appears sadly incomplete, lacking a versatile space that has proved invaluable to many home owners. These islands are where families and friends socialize at meal time and the holidays, and at the same time provide many practical functions. Designing the perfect kitchen island is easy and entirely up to you, but keep these ideas in mind as guidelines to assist in your creative process.
When first designing your island, consider your kitchen’s size and orientation within your home. Before deciding on the dimensions of your island, measure your kitchen for suitable walking space; some sources claim 42 inches is the optimal width for a walkway, while anything less will be a snug fit. Once you have definite dimensions, you must next understand what your kitchen lacks, and how you see your family using the space in the future. If you frequently have large gatherings, a second stove, oven or sink can help quicken preparation, while the rest of the island could be used for work space. Do you have school-age children? With part of the island serving as a table, you can guide them through breakfast, talk about their day, or help with homework as you prepare the meals.
Large kitchens have the greatest potential. Is your kitchen open to an adjacent room? If so, an extensive island can serve as a divider between the rooms and still preserve the open air space. Islands are traditionally made from cabinets with a countertop installed, but other elements can be included as well. As mentioned, a second stove or even refrigerator can be added to large islands for added functionality.
A small kitchen can greatly benefit from an island. If pots, pans or even ingredients can’t fit into your kitchen, a kitchen island can double as a pantry, an extra cabinet, and as an additional preparation area. Smaller islands have the added benefit of being mobile, opening up your kitchen as the need arises. Use a simple two-tier table or an old cart to hold all of your extra essentials.
Now that you have the island’s function and appliances in mind, you must choose building materials. Your island can match the rest of your kitchen, or it can truly embrace the definition of “island” and stand alone in style. As a centerpiece, the island can add a bit of flair to an otherwise ordinary looking kitchen. Don’t be afraid to cross form with function, either. Islands with sections of varying heights can achieve style and added convenience.
Feel free to load your kitchen island with a few extras that aren’t kitchen-specific. If space is available, add extra outlets, additional lighting, and even a book shelf. Wine racks have become popular additions to a kitchen island, as well as separate refrigerators. Keep functionality in mind and you will love your kitchen island.