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.
Add more counter space. Keep it simple while adding value by using an island to significantly increase the amount of counter space in your kitchen. Having more counter space adds obvious benefits: more room for meal prep, multiple chefs and can serve as an eating area. Create contrast by using a different material or color for the island counters than you did in the rest of the room. If your regular countertops are white quartz, try black or a dark stained wood for the island.
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Create more seating. Whether your space lacks a proper dining table or you’re looking to create a more casual bar-seating option, adding low-profile seating to the island is an easy way to increase functionality and make the environment more social for both guests and the cook. Create a breakfast bar or dining table, and leave a counter overhang that offers enough room to tuck the chairs or stools underneath when not in use.
Pantry cabinet. This pantry cabinet in Ireland brings a highly efficient storage area into the kitchen workspace. Pantry storage areas like this are seen in the U.K., where it is known as a larder. It often is hidden behind double cabinetry doors in the kitchen rather than being in a separate room. The doors open to a storage system with open shelves on top, spice racks on the doors and bottom drawers or bins. The shelves usually are shallow enough so everything can be seen at a glance. This larder has a pullout work surface and a tall appliance shelf as a stand mixer, turning it into a baking center as well.
Butcher’s block and granite top. “Once you have an island, it is hard to go without,” Wanda Brown says. So after she moved into a home with a smaller kitchen than in her previous home, she fashioned a micro island using a small butcher’s block that she topped with a piece of granite. It gives her extra prep space close to the sink but, because of its compact size, doesn’t interfere with the flow of the kitchen.