There is nothing new about a hardworking kitchen island. A hundred years ago it was simply called a farm table. Now the old farm table has modernized and has become the newest focal point in kitchens.
Kitchen islands can range from 2 feet by 3 feet all the way to 5 feet by 12 feet, but we caution against making an island too large unless you plan to add seating. If you have the space, breaking it up into two smaller islands can make sense. One could be used for prep and the other for dining, or whatever purpose suits your family best.
There are seemingly endless options available when designing a kitchen island. To help you get started and decide on how elaborate your island should be, here are several types of islands to consider and the items to possibly include.
What purpose do you want your island to serve?
- Food preparation: It should be 36 inches high and include a prep sink, stove, knife storage and cutting boards.
- Baking: It should be 30 inches high (the perfect height for rolling out dough) and include a marble countertop and a pop-up mixer stand inside a cabinet.
- Eating: If included with a sink or cooktop; It should be 42 inches high, which is great for open floor plans as it helps to separate the kitchen from adjoining rooms. Or, dropped to 30” height which is table height and great for children.
- Extra storage: It’s usually 36 inches high, but can be a combination of heights and can include a wine rack or bookcases.
- Entertainment hub: It should have bar sink, bar refrigerator, wine cooler, ice maker and dishwasher.
- A combination of purposes: Mix and match any of the above.
What shape of island do you want?
- Its shape should conform to the size of the kitchen and improve, not impede, traffic flow.
- Rectangle: For traditional or contemporary and everything in between.
- Oval: For small kitchens where maneuverability is an issue.
- Triangle or wedge: Often used in open floor-plans to separate the kitchen from the great room.
- Horseshoe: Practical only in the largest of kitchens; good for homes with panoramic views.
How big should the island be?
- It can be 30, 36 or 42 inches high, but can combine different levels.
- Distance from the kitchen island to wall cabinets and appliances: Must be at least 36 inches, but preferably 42 to 48 inches.
How should the island be constructed?
- Most kitchen islands are made of several sizes and styles of base cabinets, all anchored to each other and the floor.
- They can include drawer units, door units, wine racks, bookcases and appliances.
- Islands can match the wall cabinets or be of a contrasting finish or color.
- Electrical lines must be run to accommodate extra outlets, appliances and overhead lighting.
- Water and drain lines must be run if they include a sink, dishwasher or ice maker.
- For a funky, eclectic island: Use an antique furniture piece topped with a stone slab.
What kind of countertop should I choose?
Stone, Wood, Quartz, Marble, Stainless Steel, and Tile — the choices are endless. Consider first how the island will be used. The top surface should be durable to withstand tasks. There are countertop products available that can enhance the usage of the space and be beautiful. Making the correct decision for the use of the island will give you years of enjoyment without the worry of how the surface will perform.
Don’t forget the edging.
As with the shape of the island, the edge of the countertop can make a dynamic difference to the entire room. Be careful here. Edges reflect light, so the color of the top has a lot to do with the edge decision. Fancy special cut and layered edges are gorgeous however not comfortable for arms if the island is used for seating.
Lots to think about! We can Help.
SCC Kitchen Bath & Home is a full service remodeling company. Design to install we do it all!