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Gain Space With Cleverly Designed Kitchen Islands

Q: I’m looking for storage/work space improvement in my kitchen and am leaning toward having a kitchen island added in. How do I decide which type to add to our kitchen?

 

A: Kitchen islands are among the most popular items in kitchen projects. They offer versatility in style and function. You can choose to blend the island with your countertops and cabinetry or choose unique colors/countertop material to compliment and accent your space.

 

Kitchen islands are available in a variety of colors, sizes and materials to suit any home décor. Choose contemporary, country home style or summer kitchen styles. Look through catalogs and home decorating magazines to see the options and unique designs available. Make notes of what you like and features you need in your island.

 

Adding Kitchen Islands

 

You can add an island easily, if you have enough room. Look at several islands and get the exact dimensions of the ones you like best. Measure your kitchen; you will need to leave between forty two and forty eight inches of space around the entire island. You want to make sure you can open your refrigerator, oven and dishwasher easily.

 

To get the feel for how much space an island will take up, try a little experiment. Find a piece of furniture in your home that is about the size and dimensions of your island. Move this furniture into the kitchen and place it where want the island to be located. Keep it there for about a week or so to help you decide if you can live with it. If it’s too large, look for a model with smaller dimensions. Experiment with a few different sizes to find the one that feels right.

 

There are no rules governing the height. It’s a matter of preference and function. You need to decide what the area will be used for to determine how high to make the counter. If you will be cooking, preparing food or using a built in sink, make the height even with your other kitchen cabinets. Choose a lower height for seating with tables, or a higher counter for stool type seating.

 

Utilizing Kitchen Islands in Clever Ways

 

Consider how you will use the island. Do you need more storage space?

You have several choices for cooking, preparing food, clean up and storage.

 

  • For storage space, islands can be made to match existing kitchen cabinets and counter tops. Cabinets, drawers or a combination of both can be used to maximize storage space.
  • Adding bookshelves to the end creates a great place to display your cookbook collection. Add a few collectibles to the shelves for a more personalized look.
  • Wine lovers sometimes choose to add a wine rack in place of shelves.
  • Cooking space can be built into the top of an island, saving space above the oven. This is a great option for kitchens with a double oven.
  • Consider how you will use the top when choosing counters. A built in butcher block or cutting surface is great if you spend a lot of time preparing food. This helps you avoid cuts and nicks on the surface of your counter.
  • If you like to bake, consider marble. You can prepare and roll out your dough right on the surface without sticking.
  • An island can be used for seating area. Adjust the height lower for table type seating or raise it higher for barstools. Allow about two feet of space per person for comfort.
  • Sinks and appliances, such as dishwashers and trash compactors can be added to an island in place of cabinets.
  • Have an electrical outlet added to one side. This is great for cooking with small appliances like electric mixers or blenders.

 

Portable Islands

 

A portable island gives you additional countertop area when you need it. These are a great alternative for smaller kitchens. You can purchase one unassembled and put it together yourself easily. Portables usually are on wheels, allowing you to move it out of the way when you need extra space.

 

You can purchase a moving island with a cabinet for storage space, or get one that looks like a taller table. A built in cutting board surface gives you additional space for cutting vegetables and preparing food. The most common materials used for the top are steel, tile and wood.

 

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