What Makes the Perfect Kitchen Island?

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Kitchen islands are a popular design component in many of today’s modern kitchens. Whether you’re building a new home from the ground up or are simply remodeling an existing kitchen, there’s a lot to keep in mind when it comes to design and functionality. Simply installing just any kitchen island isn’t going to cut it; you’ll want to take some important factors into consideration in order to create the perfect kitchen island for preparing food, storing kitchen supplies, and entertaining guests.

Ample Seating

Seating is one of the most important components of a great kitchen island. You’ll want to make sure the island is large enough to comfortably seat the desired number of people. Usually, it’s a good idea to base the amount of seating needed off the number of people living in the home. In smaller kitchen spaces, however, this may not be possible. Keep in mind that there usually is a standard over-the-counter extension of about 18 inches to comfortably accommodate any island seating.

Great Lighting

The right lighting makes a huge difference in a kitchen island’s functionality and design. Pendant lights are a popular option for creating a focal point above a kitchen island. At the same time, if the island will be used frequently for food prepping and/or cooking, it is important that task lighting is available for a clear view. Often times, putting pendant lights on dimmers is a great way to offer both task and mood lighting as needed.

Practical Storage

A kitchen island, if properly designed, can be an excellent source of additional storage in the kitchen. There are all kinds of great storage solutions to optimize space in a kitchen island. Deep-set drawers with pull-outs, for example, make it easy to organize and find pots, pans, and even small kitchen appliances. Others may want to consider a pull-out trash can built into the island, especially if the area will be used for prep space.

Prep Space

Speaking of prep space, a kitchen island provides a great opportunity for added space while cooking. Some may choose to use a kitchen island solely for chopping and preparing food, whereas others may prefer to have a cooktop or sink built into the island for other functions. If you decide to use your island for food prep, make sure to choose a countertop option that is scratch-, heat-, and crack-resistant. A natural stone countertop, such as granite, may be a good choice here.

Design and Materials

The overall design and materials used can make or break a kitchen island as well. These days, since so many kitchen islands are being used for food prep, high-end countertop materials are a must. Materials like granite, marble, quartzite and man-made quartz are all great options because they’re durable and some can even stand up to the occasional slip of the knife blade without scratching. These stone materials are also heat-resistant and come in a wide range of styles and colors to suit anybody’s aesthetic.

One other design component to consider when it comes to a kitchen island is whether the cabinets and counters will match the rest of the kitchen, or be different. These days, many homeowners choose to paint their kitchen island cabinets a complementary color to the rest of the kitchen to make it stand out and create even more of a focal point. Others may choose to keep things consistent throughout the entire space.

Positioning and Layout

Finally, the overall positioning and layout of the kitchen island must be carefully planned in order to make the most use of the kitchen space available. While it often makes sense to install an island in the center of a kitchen, measurements must be taken to ensure there is enough clearance between the island and other surfaces throughout the kitchen for everyday use. Keep in mind that when choosing a countertop material, not all stone can be cut to the size or shape you may want—so you may end up with a seam in some stone materials. If installed and done correctly, however, this should still look aesthetically pleasing.

These are just a few of the most important components of a great kitchen island. By taking these factors into consideration, it’s possible to create a kitchen island space that offers the perfect balance of functional design and style. From there, kitchen islands can easily become one of the most beloved gathering places in the home.

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