Islands can be the heart of the kitchen, where families gather to have casual meals and share stories of their day. Aside from their social function, islands should be designed and installed for a specific purpose. Homeowners today are opting for multi-functional islands equipped with sinks, cooktops, microwaves and even mini-refrigerators.
With so many expectations, homeowners tend to overcompensate for their excitement and make critical mistakes that they may regret later on.
Here are some dos and don’ts when designing your kitchen island:
- Assign a specific task or function for your island: If its main purpose is a cook center, install a cooktop, drawers for utensils and storage for pots and pans. For a food/prep center, be sure to install a sink, chopping area and even a small refrigerator. If the main purpose is to provide an additional casual dining area, include seating and storage for dishware and serving.
- Design the right size island to fit the space: Determine how much space your kitchen will allow for an island (permanent or temporary). An island that is too small for the space won’t be functional; one that is too big may cause a disruption in traffic or work flow. The recommended width of a work aisle in a kitchen is 42 inches. For larger kitchens, two islands might work better than one large one.
- Plan for electric: Ideally, you want at least two electrical outlets – one at each end of the island (depending on its size). Also, be sure to follow electrical codes for kitchens.
- Design: It is always best for your island to match the overall style/theme of your kitchen. If your kitchen is modern with stainless steel appliances, then your island should be complementary – with a slate countertop and stools in aluminum.
- Poor seating accommodations: We all come in different shapes and sizes, so be sure to consider the heights of all family members and guests if you’re planning on using seating around your island. A comfortable counter height is 42 inches high for 30 inch tall stools. Be sure to allow 24 inches of width per person/seating and 18 inches of countertop overhang for leg and knee room.
- Not enough storage: Homeowners can get so caught up in the idea of the island that they forget to allow for sufficient storage to make it function efficiently. Planning for organized storage (like pull-out shelves in the cabinets, sectioned drawers for knives and other utensils and even spice drawers) can save you steps and make your island more functional and easier to use. Shelves for cookbooks or a built-in wine rack are popular uses for the sides of islands (without the drawers/cabinets).
- Wider and bigger is not always better: Islands that are too wide are a common mistake that some design experts see in today’s kitchens. Islands that are too wide will prevent you from reaching the center of the island and make it more difficult to clean and utilize all the space. Instead, carefully plan your island’s size, placement and function based on the size and layout of your kitchen, and it should serve you well for years to come.
Granite Transformations offers free in-home design consultations where you can see all available products, how they would look in your home, and you will also receive a free quote. Find a Granite Transformations location near you or complete a request consultation form. Your dream kitchen could be a click or call away!