A good general rule for enclosed kitchens is to place it in the center of the room. That way it’s equally accessible from all sides and won’t be an obstacle for people walking through. That placement might not work best for all kitchens, however. A perimeter island, for example, might work better with open floor plans. Size and shape are also determined by room’s layout; Allow for at least 36-48 inches between the perimeter of the island and the surrounding cabinets so there’s enough room for people to move around.
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.
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.
Island drinks station. Rather than let the space at the end of the island go to waste, this homeowner installed a beverage refrigerator. Since guests are forever congregating around the kitchen island, this setup makes it easy for them to serve themselves — without getting in the way of the chef.
Roll-out pantry. When drawers roll out, as they do in this English pantry cabinet, you don’t have to worry about digging behind things to find what you need. The glass drawer fronts and sides also allow maximum visibility of items in the drawers while keeping everything in place. The sleek design works well for a contemporary kitchen.
She requested a drop-leaf design, which gives her the flexibility to use the island for an occasional meal. But because she can fold down the leaves when not in use, she gets a little extra circulation space as needed.
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