Kitchen Island Design

The kitchen island, today’s most popular kitchen built-in, can play a huge role in the functionality and aesthetics of your kitchen design.  Kitchen islands not only provide storage and work space but they can also make a strong visual focal point.  For those who are interested in building an island into your kitchen floor plan, there are many different designs and considerations to take into account before starting construction:

Kitchen Island Location

Typically, an island is located in the center of the kitchen to create a central focal point and to be easily accessible from anywhere in the kitchen.  If placed in the middle of the room, it helps create a space that is simpler, more efficient, and great for family gatherings.  A central island anchors the room and provides convenient counter space on all directions.  If the island contains the sink or stove, make sure to keep the “work triangle” in mind where the 3 most visited spots in the kitchen make up the 3 points of a triangle – sink, refrigerator and stove.

Kitchen Island Design & Function

There are many different things you can do with a kitchen island, but you should first determine how you want to use it.  Whether you want to use if for meal prep, cooking, to house a veggie sink, or for a few extra seats for kids’ homework; it’s important to know your needs so you can choose the perfect island design.  Run through this list of questions with yourself and your family to help the design process.

  • Do you want any appliances such as a cooktop, dishwasher, wine cooler or sink installed?  If so, this may require extra plumbing and/or electricity which may involve additional work if this is a remodeling project and not a new home.
  • What type of storage do you want?  Even the simplest islands can provide lots of additional storage.  Decide if you want this to be the area for your pots and pans, which would require larger shelving units, or for smaller items which may require drawers.
  • Do you want your island to be stationary or movable?  Mobile islands are great for those with a smaller kitchen footprint that need the counter space, but get too crowded if the island is in the center of the room all the time.  In larger rooms with a permanent need for counter space and storage, a fixed island is the typical choice.
  • Will this island need to accommodate seating?  If so, you will need to factor in space for barstool or regular chairs.  You may also need to consider the size and height of the countertop for seating, potentially adding a raised bar.
  • Do you want the design to blend with the current kitchen or contrast? This will make a difference in the cabinetry and  choice of kitchen countertop material.

Kitchen Island Lighting

There are three main types of lighting possible for functional and decorative lights above your island:

  • Pendant lights – provide smaller pools of light that are typically used for accenting and design purposes.
  • Recessed lighting – best choice for those who want a bright and functional space.
  • Single larger light – combining both fashion and function.

Once you have your island up and running, you’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without it!