Kitchen islands are a much-sought-after feature — almost nine out of 10 of our kitchen design and installation firm’s clients ask about them in their first design meeting. A well-planned island layout can allow a smooth workflow and provide a comfortable space for preparing and cooking food. Islands also frequently provide space for dining, working and storage.
I recently heard a story about a homeowner who had a major design regret. During a previous renovation, she elected to put all four counter stools on the same side of her kitchen island, a frequent spot for her family meals. This left her with a beautiful look but turned out to be an unfortunate mistake from a functional perspective. That’s because she now has to choose between having everyone in her family face in one direction like strangers in a diner and having to pull around a stool to sit on the wrong side of the island, with her knees bumping up against cabinets for the sake of family bonding.
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Float away. To create the illusion of space, it’s a good idea to keep furniture off the floor. The countertop here is extended from the kitchen cabinets to form a floating peninsula breakfast bar. The lack of base cabinets gives the room a feeling of flow. The designers also have thought carefully about the bar stools, choosing white tops to “melt” into the surface and wooden legs to blend into the floor.
Determine your clearance zone. When clients ask if they have room for an island, we designers must consider factors such as how many people live in the house and how they use the space. But first and foremost, we need to know the size of the room.
Get more storage. In addition to creating more counter space, an island is also a way to add more storage and avoid kitchen clutter by using drawers, cupboards and shelves. This is beneficial especially if appliances take up a lot of cabinet room, or if you’re looking for a unique way to showcase certain items by using open shelving. Store dishes and pots within reach or keep less frequently used appliances out of the way. Another option is to use open shelving to display cookbooks or other items.