Guide To Having A Kitchen Island At Home
An island can truly transform a basic kitchen into a dream cooking space! Here’s your guide to stylish islands, no matter the size of your kitchen:
Can Every Kitchen Have An Island?
It isn’t the size of the kitchen that matters most – but its shape. Even large kitchens can have trouble fitting in an island if it is U-shaped and if cabinetry is extended. This type of shape while not impossible to host an island might require that one or two walls be knocked down to accommodate one.
Image credit: Zids Design
Closed-concept, galley kitchens can also be a complicated shape to incorporate an island – it tends to be smaller and thus forcing an island can create a cramped look. Again, the space will need to be opened up for better utility.
Contrastingly, L-shaped kitchens are almost always ready for an island, where expectedly, smaller kitchens may have to look at more modest blocks.
Form and Functionality
Resolving how your island should function is usually step one. You’ll need to ask yourself if it will just be a prep station or if you want it to be a breakfast bar as well? Note that modern kitchen islands can actually include built-in ovens, wine coolers, storage cupboards, cooktops (and hood) in addition to an extra sink that could be a great space saver for smaller kitchens.
Image credit: WAD Interior
However, multifunctional islands can be tricky to design and could incur much heavier costs. Thus, if you don’t have the budget, keep your island designs simple and choose just one or two practical additions.
Choosing The Right Countertop Materials
When choosing your countertop materials, it’s important to consider durability, cost and its design compatibility with the rest of your kitchen. High-end countertops like granite and marble are durable and easy to match for both light and dark kitchens but can stain easily. Moreover, if your island base isn’t strong enough – these materials may be too heavy to top your island.
Image credit: Oriss
A laminate countertop on the other hand is a good option in terms of cost but you will need to think about replacements or periodic treatments as this material is not as long-lasting as stone surfaces. It does however come in a variety of colours and can easily match most kitchen designs and colour schemes.
If you are completely redoing your kitchen then you’ll have the freedom to simultaneously match the island to its style. However, if you are putting one into an already complete kitchen, be sure to choose colours that complement. Do also consider updating certain parts of your kitchen i.e. cupboards or the walls with colours that would match your new island, for a fresher overall.
Image credit: Dess Interior
For smaller kitchens with a generally dark or light colour scheme, choose unassuming, neutral colours that will keep the island from standing out like a sore thumb. One idea is to incorporate the colour of your flooring to the base of the island to give it a ‘continuous’ look.
Image credit: A&A Concept Design and Contract
Suitable Island Lighting
Task lighting like pendant lights are a great way to focus and feature your island. For big kitchens with larger islands, choose three smaller pendants and conversely, for smaller kitchens with modest islands, opt for fewer but larger pendants instead.
Image credit: Designers' Home
If your island and kitchen in general has very little colour with neutrals or all whites, you should choose lighting with colourful shades or even motifs to be suspended over your island for a pump of energy.
Sitting at the Island
Kitchen islands with seating incorporated double up as breakfast bars and with a rather wide variety of seat options such as bar stools, high-back chairs and even swivels, you’re sure to find one that fits your kitchen, room size and style. For smaller kitchens, choose fewer chairs in simple constructs i.e. stools or thinner metal chairs that can be set up in a single line, with a pull-out mode to save on space.
Image credit: Matt Interior
Keep in mind though if your space is too small, you might want to opt out of seating all together to avoid cramping up the space. If your kitchen space is larger, you can add more chairs, typically up to six, depending on the size.
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