Why Build a Kitchen Island?
First, islands work. Because they can be accessed from all sides like the old kitchen table, they’re ideal for a variety of kitchen tasks.
Second, these freestanding pieces instantly become the focal point of a kitchen because they can have the look and feel of furniture rather than components in a domestic laboratory.
Third, a well-designed island offers a place for people to congregate while at the same time separating those who are cooking and cleaning from those who are just hanging out.
Styles for Kitchen Islands
- Disappearing style
You can make an island nearly disappear to anyone not working in the kitchen by extending the “public” face of the island 4 to 6 inches above the countertop and covering it in the same surface material as the rest of the interior walls.
- Mimicking style
Kitchen islands that mimic the rest of the room, typically by using cabinets in the same finish and from the same manufacturer, don’t call attention to themselves.
Dimensions of Kitchen islands
At minimum, an island should be
- 4 feet long (1.2 meters)
- little more than 2 feet deep (60 centimeters).
But on top of that it must also have room for people to move and work around it.
So, unless your kitchen is at least 8 feet deep and more than 12 feet long, don’t even think about an island.
Dual-height islands have a number of advantages. They can create informal eating areas, hide dirty dishes, protect noncooks from splashes and splatters, and make kitchens more interesting.
Here are the dimensions that make them most comfortable, useful, and pleasing.
The height of your island’s eating area dictates the type of seating you’ll have:
- A 28- to 30-inch-high counter works best with a chair;
- a standard-height 36-inch (0.91 meters) counter is served best by a low stool;
- and a 42 (1.06 meters) – to 48-inch (1.22 meters) counter requires a bar stool.
- You can gain valuable real estate on both the “working” side and the “public” side of an island for storage, always a critical need in kitchens.
- On the public side, take advantage of shallow cabinets for serving items—napkins, cutlery, platters, etc.
- On the working side, make sure there’s room to store the things that are needed for the activity the island supports, because an island’s strong suit is also its biggest downfall: It’s isolated. If it’s a cooking island, then pots, pans, and spices should be at hand.
- The space under cooktops is great for deep drawers for pots and pans.
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