The heart and soul of a home The kitchen island is really the heart of the kitchen.Activities such as food prep, baking, kids doing homework, and visiting with family and friends all take place around the island.Hopefully your kitchen is big enough to have an island.If it is not, there are several small work carts that can fit in just about any kitchen.
When planning an island, plan for a minimum of 36” aisle space between it and the perimeter cabinets.That is an absolute minimum – 42” to 48” is the preferred aisle clearance, however some small kitchens will not allow for the more generous spacing.Be careful of the clearance around appliances such as refrigerators and ovens that will need adequate clearance so that the doors can open comfortably.
Make it a showstopper An island can take an otherwise plain kitchen and turn into a really unique space.A good kitchen design will often have an island that is a different style and finish than the perimeter cabinets.By adding elements such as posts and base board, the island becomes more of a piece of furniture, which helps turn it into the focal point of the kitchen.Consider using a wooden butcher-block top for your island, as this provides for a warm, cozy feeling kitchen. A great look is for the perimeter cabinets to be painted, and the island a nice wood finish, or vice versa.This is just one more way to make the kitchen island unique and special.
You might want to consider having a small prep sink on the island.This provides an additional sink for washing vegetables while cooking.This is especially useful when there is more than one cook in the family.You might also consider locating the cook top or range in the island.If you do, make sure to allow for adequate countertop space on each side.
Sit and stay for a while
If room allows, consider providing for a space for barstools.Not only do kitchen barstools provide for extra seating, but they lend an extra decorating element which can strengthen the overall look of the kitchen.There are several ways of providing for seating around your island.The easiest and most cost effective way is simply overhanging the countertop top on one side or end of the island.This is cost effective due to the fact that only one countertop has to be fabricated, and the cabinet layout is no more involved than normal.Another method is to have a split-level countertop that provides for seating under the higher countertop.This application is more expensive – there are two countertops that need to be fabricated, and a wall or additional cabinetry must be purchased in order to hold up the higher top.Since the lower top will be at the standard cabinet height of 36”, the higher top will step up to 42” in height.This concept is definitely nice when you are trying to screen off a sink or cook top that is located in the island, and might be visible from an adjoining room.It does a great job of blocking out those dishes in the sink you might not feel like washing!
When doing a simple overhang countertop that is all one level, an overhang of 12” is adequate.A split-level countertop should have a minimum of an 18” top to accommodate a place setting.Make sure adequate support is given to the countertop in both applications, especially on a split-level counter.A wooden corbel or decorative post can be incorporated into the cabinetry to provide the needed support for the counter.An iron support can also be fabricated or purchased.
Other ideas to incorporate into your kitchen island include open shelves for cookbooks, wine bottle storage, pullout cutting boards, and pullout trash cans.While your kitchen may not be big enough for all of these extra goodies, have fun with the island design and make it your own.A unique and creative looking island will bring you many happy memories for years to come!