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Q: Can I learn a little bit more about various kitchen island designs?

A: Kitchen islands can add a decorative element to the kitchen while also providing extra workspace and storage space. Since both meal preparation and storage space are often lacking in kitchens, an island is the perfect solution to these problems.

Some islands offer additional areas for cooking or an extra sink for cleaning up; regardless, there are designs and features to fit every lifestyle.

Choices Available in Kitchen Islands

The simplest kitchen islands resemble a table. They have legs and a flat counter space for cooking. These are functional for preparing foods and serving meals buffet style. In addition, they add a design element to the room. The drawback of these islands is the lack of storage space.

Another simple design involves a simple flat counter area with storage space underneath. This storage space is generally built with drawers and cabinets. They can be built to match the surrounding cabinets in your kitchen. This provides additional storage space under the island, rather than the wasted space of a tabletop design.

More elaborate designs include custom built islands. These can include a sink, cook top, warming oven, small refrigerator or dishwasher.

·      A granite island top or other solid surface will allow you to roll dough and prepare food right on the counter, without a cutting board.
·      Butcher block allows you to cut right on the counter.
·      Overall, the design elements of a custom built island are flexible, as it is built to suit your specifications.
·      Multi-level islands offer more flexibility and design choices. They have a smaller overall work space, but allow you to incorporate a variety of functions. These are generally larger islands and may include areas for food preparation and separate eating areas. You could have a sink or cook top on one side with a flat counter on another level.

Measuring for Islands

The sizes of kitchen islands vary widely. You need to be sure the one you want will fit your space. Measuring the area is the best way to determine how much room you have.

Because it can be hard to get a feel for with just two dimensional measurements, a better way is to place a piece of furniture or boxes in the size of the island in the center of the kitchen, leave it for a few days and see how you feel about it.

When taking measurements, make sure you have at least three feet of space around the island. You want to have room to move and easy access to your appliances. Make sure you can open all the appliances and have room to work with the island in place. You don’t want to open the dishwasher and hit the island or open the oven and not have room to maneuver when cooking a meal

If space is too limited for a large island, consider a portable one. These are often on wheels and can be moved out of the way when not in use. They are great for adding additional workspace when needed, but are portable. They won’t be in the way when not needed. The down side of these is you will only have additional work area. You won’t be able to add features like a cook top or extra sink.

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