Kitchen Islands

Discover kitchen island ideas for rooms large and small

One of the easiest ways to increase the amount of work space in your kitchen is to install a kitchen island. Kitchen islands are standalone countertops usually placed in the middle of large kitchens to create more room for preparing and storing food. Kitchen islands can contain additional drawers, cabinets and wine racks, increasing the overall storage capacity of smaller kitchens. Kitchen islands also help you be an excellent host or hostess, as they allow you to cook and clean without turning your back on guests who step into the kitchen.

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Kitchen Island Ideas

There is a wide variety of pre-built or build-it-yourself kitchen islands available. These kitchen islands are typically less expensive than custom-built islands, and they are sold in a number of sizes, designs and colors. But if you're looking for a kitchen island that looks like it was created for your particular kitchen, custom kitchen islands are professionally built with your specific input and your particular kitchen in mind.

If a kitchen island is something that would be useful on special occasions when you're making extensive use of your kitchen but you'd rather not add a permanent addition to the room, a portable kitchen island may be the best solution. Portable kitchen islands offer the convenience of an extended workspace when you need it most, but they're built on wheels, making them easy to cart away and store when you're done for the day. Portable kitchen islands are sometimes called kitchen carts.

Kitchen Island Design

When planning your kitchen island, your main concern should be efficiency. While the convenience of adding another countertop may be tempting, make sure the kitchen island won't be hindering your ability to move around the kitchen. Islands typically start at 4 feet in width and about 2 feet in depth. Make sure you have plenty of space available to move around the island, as well, especially if you want to position stools around it.

A kitchen island doesn't have to be entirely about the countertop space; when working with a builder, you can also use the kitchen island to house appliances. Having dishwashers, stoves or garbage disposals integrated into a kitchen island in the center of the room frees up wall space and gives you more creative freedom.

You'll also want to plan your kitchen island lighting – no cook should be left in the dark, so make sure the lighting over the kitchen island is just as good as it is in the rest of your workspace. Since kitchen islands are usually in the center of the room, they are natural places for decorative lamps to hang down, but any kitchen island lighting should be out of the way of anyone working in the space.