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Island Hopping: Choosing the Best Kitchen Island Design

Island Hopping: Choosing the Best Kitchen Island Design

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A kitchen island is the centerpiece of any new construction or remodeling job. Kitchen islands are increasingly trendy, and provide a combination of form and function, style and service. They are eye-catching, can enhance a sense of community, and provide valuable storage and food preparation space, freeing up your other counters and helping to provide more of a flow when cooking. If you are planning a new or remodeled kitchen, you should definitely consider putting in an island. Here are some things you should know beforehand- the different types of islands, their usage, and how you can use one to maximize the beauty and efficiency of your kitchen.


You know that series of man-made islands in the Persian Gulf shaped like all the nations in the world? You won’t have that option in your kitchen. But you will have several options to choose from, depending on what you are looking for. The basic shapes are square, rectangle and round. Obviously, square and rectangle aren’t that different, and choosing between the two is dependent mainly on the shape or size of your kitchen. There may be a few people who fall vehemently on one side or the other of the square vs. rectangle debate, but most of us are pretty neutral. A circular island is a newer design, and works to create a sense of exciting stylistic contrast to a room of corners and angles. But if squares, rectangles and circles somehow aren’t exciting enough for you, there are a few other shapes you can choose from.


Three popular, non-traditional shapes are “L”, U”, and “G”. We realize these aren’t going to light the imagination on fire, but we are talking about kitchen islands, not abstract art. Cubist islands tend to be self-defeating. The benefit of these shapes is access. In a “U” island, you can stand in the middle of the horseshoe and reach everything without having to lean over or walk around. The “G” employs a similar quality, but is a little more artistic and eye-catching, as well as being slightly more difficult.


The great thing about an island is that it has several functions. The first, and most immediately noticeable, is all the counter-space it provides. This is wonderful for cooking. The major complaint about most kitchens is that there isn’t enough counter-space, and an island provides a lot more with an over, a stove or something else breaking up the continuity. Many new kitchens also have a “wet island”, which has a sink. This gets a little complicated, as you might need to turn to an expert plumber to make sure your house can handle it. With this, you can wash veggies and chop veggies at the same station, or do many other things without constantly having to turn back to the sink.


I know the main problem I have with my kitchen is that there is never enough storage space. The great thing about an island is how well it solves that problem. Pots, pans, Tupperware, even the “miscellaneous”, that you never quite know what to do with, can be filtered over there. If the island doesn’t have a sink, all non-counter-space can theoretically be cabinet space. Additionally, you can design your island to have “creative” design space, like a place to store your wine glasses or cookbooks in an pleasing manner. A certified cabinetry expert can help your most creative, or most utilitarian, dreams come to life.


It is easy to think of your island as just the space where you scarf down food, but a well-designed island can be a gathering place, to lay out appetizers while you prepare the main course, or to sit around and enjoy some drinks with your friends. It lets the host maintain contact with the guests while cooking, or a family to be able to spend quality time together while mom or dad makes dinner. When designing your island, make sure you have at least 15 inches of legspace, if you want to make it comfortable for sitting. Of course, this can take away some cabinet space, so you have to decide what is most important to you.

There are no lonely kitchen islands; these aren’t Crusoe’s desert ones. A kitchen island can bring a family together or make a party even better. When planning yours, remember that a qualified kitchen remodeling contractor can help you during every step, from envisioning to execution. Make your island a personal paradise!

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