A kitchen island is an increasingly popular addition to residential kitchens. Not only does a kitchen island provide more prep space, it also provides more room to entertain and can be a haven of extra storage underneath. Whether you want this to be a focal point of the kitchen or you just need more surface space, adding a kitchen island during your remodel is a fantastic idea if you have the available space. Kitchen islands come in all varieties, materials, sizes and prices, so give some thought to how much you want to spend and how important the island is to you.
Use this guide to get a better understanding of the many benefits of including a kitchen island in your remodel, how to tell if it is right for your space and how to choose the right type of island.
Benefits of Adding in a Kitchen Island
For some homeowners gearing up for a kitchen remodel, the benefits of adding in a new kitchen island are obvious. For others, the idea is a nice one, but you might need to see the practical side before you allocate part of your budget to the island.
One of the major advantages of having a kitchen island is the extra storage space. Depending on the size of the island, you can have additional cabinets underneath that allow you to keep all kinds of items that no longer fit in your existing cabinets.
Plus, the kitchen island provides more counter space. Whether you’re fond of entertaining and never feel like you have enough room or you’re teaching your kids how to prepare basic meals, more prep space is always a plus.
A kitchen island also offers the chance for extra seating, which may be the ultimate breakfast bar or a place for kids and teens to do homework and catch up while you prepare dinner.
To round it all off, adding a kitchen island can make your home look more luxurious, which will in turn increase the resale value or the speed at which you can sell your home if it is ever on the market.
Determining if a Kitchen Island is Right for Your Remodel
Despite the many advantages that a kitchen island can bring, installing one may not always be the right choice for you.
The first thing to address should be the issue of space. In a narrow kitchen, often called a galley kitchen, a kitchen island is impractical. Some experts in the world of kitchen remodels recommend that if you want a permanent island, your kitchen should be at least eight feet deep and twelve feet long.
You definitely need to make sure you choose an island that fits the space you have, leaving enough room to walk around the island with ease and making sure that all doors to appliances and cabinets can open freely.
Finally, consider the cost. If you're on a limited budget, a permanent kitchen island might be too expensive for this remodel.
Consider the Work Flow of the Kitchen
When planning the layout for a kitchen remodel, it is common to address the idea of a triangle. The three points of the triangle should be the cook top, the sink and the refrigerator.
You'll want to have streamlined and easy access between these three kitchen hotspots, and an island should encourage that. Make sure that if you do add a kitchen island, it doesn't make the work flow more challenging.
Also, keep in mind that you can add a sink to a kitchen island to improve the triangle and spread out the preparation space further. This, of course, will come with additional plumbing costs.
To Seat or Not to Seat
A major decision in regard to your kitchen island will be whether or not to include seating. In a smaller kitchen, an island without seating will be the best option. However, larger kitchens can greatly benefit from the addition of one side offering two or three seats to diners, children or visitors.
If you decide to include seating for your kitchen island, make sure to select the right height. Also, remember that adding seating can reduce storage capacity, which might be a trade-off you're unwilling to make.
Alternative Kitchen Island Ideas
A traditional kitchen island is most often rectangular with a flat surface covered in countertop material. However, that is definitely not the only type of kitchen island you can have in your home.
If you have a unique layout or you want an original design, the kitchen island may have an L or T shape. If space is a concern, but you love the idea of a kitchen island, a portable island on wheels can be moved in seconds depending on whether you're cooking, eating or entertaining.
You can also have a kitchen island with two surface levels: one for food preparation, and one for dining and socializing. Customization options are endless when remodeling your kitchen to include an island.
Choosing Kitchen Island Materials
Once you have decided on the size, layout and function of the kitchen island, it is time to choose the materials so that it comes together in the style you want.
Often, homeowners choose to use the same countertop material for their countertops as the top of the kitchen island. This provides a level of cohesiveness that ties the space together.
Popular countertop materials to choose from include
- Solid Surface
- Natural Stone
- Wooden Butcher Block,
- Ceramic Tile
- Vinyl Laminate
Of course, you can also use different materials to distinguish the kitchen island and allow it to serve as a focal point.
In the majority of newly remodeled kitchens, an island is a definite addition. Whether you’re adding an island or just giving new life to an existing island, these tips can ensure that you end up with the size, layout, function and style that best fits your lifestyle.