As today’s kitchens become more connected to other living and entertaining spaces, the island becomes more versatile and serves as a hub – meal prep, seating, storage, entertaining, homework. The island is a customizable piece, so when you’re planning its composition, it’s important to think about the role you need it to fulfill and how you primarily use the kitchen. Do you have a large family? Are you often the host? Do you love to cook? These are all important questions to consider.
The island is a great spot to insert extra storage. Whether it’s a spice drawer, roll-outs for everyday dishes, or open shelves for cookbooks, there are many ways to make your kitchen island work beyond meal prep and seating.
The dimensions of your island are shaped by its role in the kitchen. If you’re looking for counter space and enough seating for the family, you may want to consider an extra-long island or an actual table attached to the island. Maybe you plan to use the island for meal prep and a party buffet. A wide island might be the perfect option. It’s also important to consider its height. A 36-inch height can accommodate meal prep and seating. A 42-inch height is ideal for bar stools. The island can also be designed with two levels, so it can work “double duty” – cooking and dining. This also breaks down the scale of the island and gives some separation to obscure cooking messes from view.
Proper lighting over the island is essential. Pendants or a chandelier offer ambient and task lighting to help with smaller kitchen duties and overall illumination. The lighting over your island is also an opportunity to get creative and showcase your style. Glass pendants, lanterns, drum pendants, multi-light fixtures – island lighting can set the tone for your space, add a punch of color, or reinforce the kitchen design.
As we’ve said, the kitchen island is flexible, so outfit it with the tools you need for your various tasks. Entertainers may want to consider a beverage or wine refrigerator. Others choose to include a microwave drawer or dishwasher in the island. Home cooks often prefer a prep sink in the island because it’s easily accessible, accommodates cooking and clean-up simultaneously, and makes sharing the space with another cook easier.
The island is an opportunity to add character to the kitchen. Consider a contrasting stain or paint color to make it a focal point and highlight your style. Opt for furniture-style legs and toe kicks to create a high-end look. Choose a countertop material that suits your style and the island’s main role. Do you like marble’s classic look? Are you interested in granite’s durability? Perhaps, you’d prefer the warmth of a butcher block top? The options are truly endless!