Islands are a great feature in the kitchen and a popular furniture choice in spaces of all sizes. A focal point of the room, an island unit is also a great practical addition, but it is important that it is planned in from the outset if you are going to get the most out of it in your kitchen.
Follow our top five tips to create the perfect kitchen island.
1. First and foremost, it is important to establish if you have enough space for an island unit. It should be an asset rather than a hindrance and if you’ll be left with little room to manoeuvre, a better option might be a small breakfast bar to one end of a worktop. As a rough guide, there should be at least a metre’s worth of space around the island to avoid the sense of overcrowding.
2. Once you are confident that floor space is not going to be an issue it is time to consider how large you want your kitchen island to be. While this again will be dictated by how big the room is, it is also important to think about how much worktop space you are likely to need. The best way to plan this is to draw up a list of all the things you want to use the island for. Will it be used for cooking and washing up, for example? If so, there needs to be enough space for a hob and a sink, plus countertop space also. If the island is to double up as a seating area, how much space do you need for the family to dine together? The good news is that if you have space and can make use of a large island unit, the worktop can be seamless despite its size. Ceralsio ceramic and CRL Quartz are available in large slabs which makes for an easy to clean and streamlined option.
3. Including appliances in a kitchen island is a popular design choice, particularly in open-plan settings, as it puts the chef centre-stage. This is particularly beneficial if you and your family love to entertain, as no-one misses out on the socialising. What is important though, is to ensure that plumbing and electrics are planned in early, as sorting this out retrospectively can be far costlier and disruptive. Again, check your wish list and let your designer know how you plan to make use of your island unit as soon as possible.
4. Make the island unit even more of a stand-out feature by using a different surface for the worktop than elsewhere in the kitchen. Remember that if you’re cooking or washing up here then the material used needs to be splash and stain resistant and it really needs to be a hardwearing surface, making quartz or ceramic particularly ideal. An island unit is the perfect spot to add colour and pattern without it being overbearing, so don’t be afraid to be adventurous.
5. Don’t forget the lighting. This is particularly important if the island is going to be used for any tasks, which is more than likely. Pendant lighting or spotlights above the island will ensure you can see, regardless of how much natural daylight the room has and putting them on a dimmer switch enables you to change the mood when the day’s work is done and it is time for relaxing after-dark.