Kitchen Islands: Sailing Back into Popularity
Posted By Rosette Garcia @ Mar 13th 2024 12:42am In: Buyer Tips

Kitchen islands are a wonderful way to add much-needed storage, counter space, meal prep areas or seating to your kitchen. Islands are available in all sizes and materials to fit all budgets, ranging from ready-made versions to customized designs. There are five distinct types of kitchen islands to choose from:

Small rolling cart island — The least expensive option, the cart works well in any size kitchen, and is a great solution where space is limited. The cart can be rolled to the spot when needed and some carts can be folded up and stored away when not in use.
Small stationary island — This island works well in hardworking kitchens with limited space. Since it is stationary, it will not have the tendency to roll away when being used as the rolling cart can.

Counter height worktable — A budget-friendly option, the worktable is best for someone who likes to sit on a stool under a table while they are prepping meals. The table can also be equipped with shelving for additional storage.

Base cabinet with countertop — This island is fixed in place and is made up of several base cabinets with a countertop. Some designers include cabinets suspended above the ceiling. Electricity can be installed to provide more service if the countertop is large enough. Consult with a licensed electrician for more details.

Fully functioning with electricity and plumbing — This is the most expensive option as it includes both electricity and plumbing. You will need to install plumbing lines under the island to connect to the main water supply and drainage in your home. With this unit, the home chef is doubling his or her prep area; this option is ideal for larger kitchens.

You may even find an antique table that can be repurposed to work as an island. If you are lucky enough to find such a piece, make sure it is at least 36 inches high, the standard average height of American countertops. Depending on your height, you may need to have an island higher or lower than the standard 36 inches. You can also have the option for the island to remain stationary or be moved where needed.

Keep in mind you will need to have between 42 inches and 45 inches of space to comfortably walk around the piece. If you are considering stools for seating, then you will need a minimum of 48 inches for an overhang. Overall, this type of island works best in larger kitchens that have enough space to handle it. With an open floor plan, the island can be placed facing the living room so the cook can interact with others while preparing dinner.

An open-and-shut case

You may choose to have your island with closed shelves and drawers or open shelving. Closed shelving is probably a good idea if there are young ones at home. If you want to imitate the look of a commercial kitchen in your own home, then opt for open shelving, which allows for storage of pots and pans, dishes, or appliances. Of course, if you are customizing your island, you can create a combination of open and closed shelving to have the best of both worlds.

Take a seat

The decision to include seating around your island depends on how you intend to use it and whether you have sufficient space. Can you see yourself and family members eating a quick breakfast at the island before heading off to work or school in the morning? Would you like to have guests seated casually around the island to eat and chat while you prepare a meal? Would it become a place for kids to do their homework while being supervised by the family cook? Remember you will need space to accommodate knees. At the standard 36 inches, you will need 15 inches of space.

Matching or contrasting

Any island is an opportunity to make a statement and have it contrast with other elements in the room. For example, if your kitchen sports white cabinets, you may want to add a butcher block-topped island for contrast and added interest. If it's a more uniform, streamlined aesthetic you are looking for, then match your island to the kitchen cabinets.

While you may not be ready to sail off to an island vacation spot, you can turn your kitchen into a cooking paradise. Contact us for more ideas on kitchen islands.

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