Kitchen Island Design Guide

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel, chances are good that you’re also wanting to include a kitchen island in your design. Kitchen islands are a popular element in the modern kitchen, but must be planned and designed properly in order to be as valuable to your home as it is beautiful. Many people are not aware of the many options available in a kitchen island; the amenities are endless so we’re here to help you navigate these kitchen island options.

Benefits of a kitchen island

Ultimately, a well-designed kitchen island can have many functions and help solve storage and workspace issues. Here are some of the most common advantages to having an island in your kitchen:

  • Enhanced food prep work area – A kitchen island with the right features and in the right place can make food prep and cooking so much easier. A built-in sink, countertop space, or cooktop make meal prep a breeze with everything in close proximity to each other.
  • Informal dining or workspace – Kitchen islands with a bar top and stools make the perfect place for eating a quick meal. Or, they can be a useful space for doing homework, paying bills, or reading the newspaper while meal prep is happening or you’re waiting for the oven to finish. With the new shelter in place and work from home popularity, this may become your home office as well.
  • Unique storage options – A kitchen island is typically two-faced … one side faces the wall and cabinets (the private side) and the other faces outward and is visible to others in the room (the public side). Open shelving, closed cabinets, and drawers are all storage options that can be utilized in the kitchen island, depending on what you want to show (or keep hidden from sight). Appliances can even be built into the island so that you have everything you need for meal prep right at your fingertips.

Kitchen island considerations

Not every kitchen island enhances the room it’s in. If it’s not designed properly, it can actually be a detriment to your overall kitchen design and function. Here are some important things to consider before you decide on the final kitchen island design:

  • Kitchen island size – Your kitchen island should be of sufficient size to meet your needs but not so large or so small that it’s disproportionate to the entire room.
  • Placement – A well-designed kitchen island will be placed where it’s needed most, not in the middle of a high traffic area or off in a remote area of the kitchen. Special consideration should be made for the space around the entire island to make sure that drawers, cabinets, and appliances are all able to open and close safely and freely.
  • Features – The features you choose should be determined by your anticipated use of the space. For example, if you plan on preparing meals there, a prep sink, outlets for small appliances, or a built-in mini-fridge might be on the top of your list of must-haves. An often underutilized feature is storage drawers, snack drawers, and even refrigerator drawers. A more popular design is to remove your microwave from above your cooktop and move it to your island where it may be disguised in a drawer.
  • Cooking – If you plan to actually cook on or in the island, this must be carefully planned in advance. You should consider heat resistant countertops and whether or not you will use a downdraft fan or overhead vent hood for getting rid of cooking heat and smells.
  • Lighting – Your overhead kitchen lights or ambient light from windows may not be enough to sufficiently light your kitchen island workspace. Other options include recessed ceiling lights or pendant lights to provide lighting directly to where you want to work. Getting the task lighting right is essential for being able to use your island as intended.

Professional kitchen design and remodeling

Whether you have a straightforward space, or a unique one that presents different challenges, working with a remodeling company can help you get the kitchen island design right from the start. Pair that with industry standards and your personal design preferences to make an island that is not only functional and efficient but also stylish and beautiful.

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