One kitchen trend which shows no sign of going anywhere anytime soon is the popularity of the kitchen island. No matter what the style, a kitchen island is a must-have. But why have they become so popular, and would they be a good addition to your home?
The rise in popularity of islands over the last 20 years or so, is symptomatic of the change in the way in which we live in our homes. Long gone are the days of the kitchen being a pokey corner, where meals are made and cleaning done, shut away from the rest of the home. They are now a social hub, where we can work, entertain, relax and enjoy family time.
This change in our attitudes towards our kitchens has lead to a rise in more open plan layouts and larger kitchen spaces in general, and this is where an island can be a real asset. One common use of the kitchen island is to help define the layout in an open plan space, creating separation between the area of the kitchen that we cook in, and the living space. It allows us to work in the kitchen and still interact with family, friends or guests across from us, and creates a gathering point (especially if there is a seating area incorporated into the island) for breakfast, homework or a chat and a cup of tea.
Another big advantage of an island is the amount of additional storage it can create. Most kitchens storage is limited by the amount of wall space there is available. A kitchen island does away with this restriction and allows far more cabinets, drawers, and worktop space to be incorporated into the design. Careful planning can also allow for extra integrated appliances to be added, which would otherwise not fit in the main run of cabinetry (such as a dishwasher, warmer drawer or wine chiller).
The main consideration when deciding if an island is for you is whether you have enough space to accommodate one. When planning for your island you need to make sure that you have room to work around it. For an island to function properly there needs to be space for people to pass by each other, and room to get past open cupboard doors and drawers. You also want to make sure the addition of an Island doesn't break up the flow of your workspace. Your kitchen still needs to work for you, and an island should improve your experience in the kitchen, not detract from it.
If you decide that you have sufficient space, the next thing to consider is what you want incorporating into your island. Bear in mind that the addition of a sink or appliances may mean that power, water, and waste pipes may need to be moved, and this will have cost implications. It is important to make sure that these costs are taken into account when making the initial budget. The next thing to think about is how you want your island to feel, do you want it to match your other cabinetry exactly, or offer a contrast and create a focal point? Quite often a contrasting work surface material can add interest, for example, a wooden worktop can create a farmhouse table feel when paired with stone work surfaces on the main cabinet runs.
An island is also a great opportunity to experiment with colour, and really give your kitchen the wow factor. As the middle of a room tends to be better flooded with light than the periphery, your island is a fantastic place to use bold darker tones, like the deep blues and greens that have been so popular over the last couple of seasons. By keeping the wall cabinetry a light neutral shade, you can still maintain a bright feel to the room, whilst using these strong, rich tones and colours.
A handmade island is also a great way to upgrade your existing off the peg kitchen, without replacing it in its entirety. A really well made a designed bespoke island can tie in with the existing cabinetry in your kitchen, whilst at the same time lifting the whole space, and giving it all a bespoke high end feel. As always, working with a good designer is bound to pay dividends, and make sure that you are getting the best out of your kitchen island. It is much easier to get the layout of a kitchen that incorporates an island wrong than a standard wall unit layout. Keeping a logical, smooth and functional footprint is imperative, so be sure to consult your cabinet maker, or designer to make sure that you are getting what is right for you before you commission the work. If you are adding an island to an existing kitchen, it is a good idea to move a table about the same size as the island will be into the space it will fill. This allows you to live with the layout for a few weeks and make sure that everything feels right before the design is finalised. The addition of anisland can make or break your dream kitchen, but with careful planning and a good designer, you can get that perfect open plan family space.
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