What Type of Island is Best for your Kitchen?

Focal points can take many different forms in a kitchen. You could decide to rip up your linoleum floor and replace it with rustic wide pine floors. You could tear that textured wallpaper off of your backsplash and replace it with stainless steel sheets or colorful mosaic tile to make a bold statement. Another option is to replace that old light fixture hanging over your kitchen table with a colorful brand new custom fixture that will tie in all of the colors of your kitchen. One extremely popular option for a functional and stylistic focal point in your kitchen is an island. If you want to work each day in a contemporary kitchen, an island is not only a want-to-have item; it’s a must-have item.

Once you’ve decided that an island is one of the focal points that you want to introduce into your kitchen space, it’s time for you to start researching the many kitchen island designs available. The options are so varied in the marketplace that you have to first decide what particular configuration will work properly in your kitchen. If your kitchen is on the small side and there really is no room for a stationary island, a rolling baking center may be the right choice for you. This is basically a small square or rectangular island that will move about your kitchen with locking wheels so that you can secure it where you need it. There will be the additional work surface but it will also have storage in the form of drawers, open shelves, and perhaps an extra cabinet. It is a convenient option if you don’t have a kitchen that will accommodate an immovable island.

Assuming your kitchen is large enough for a stationary island, you will have to decide on a square, rectangular, semicircular, or circular island. One common and very popular configuration is a combination rectangular island with a semicircle on one end to accommodate additional seating. The typical kitchen island with seating is a rectangular or square unit that will have an overhang on one or more sides beneath which the island chairs or stools will be placed. Additional seating at an island will accommodate the family for daily meals as well as guests when you are entertaining.

One very important decision you will have to make is whether or not you want to find an existing island available for purchase in a kitchen store or whether you want to contract a professional to build one for you. Perhaps you want to incorporate a particular type of wood and stone that is common in your particular geographic area into the design. If so, a custom island just might be the way to go and it will create that personalized focal point that you are looking to achieve. You could basically design the island from scratch and have it built to your exact specifications. If you are handy with DIY projects you could even decide to build it on your own. This is exactly what I did and it allowed my wife and me to customize it with a granite tile working surface and birds-eye maple drawer fronts. The granite tiles allowed us to cut down considerably on the cost of the island surface. A granite slab would’ve cost us upwards of $1000 whereas the granite tiles cost us only $100. The tiles were also a lot easier to apply since they were 1 foot square and were obviously much lighter than an expensive granite slab.

Another consideration with a kitchen island is whether or not you want it to be a basic island or multi-functional. Do you want to incorporate an additional sink into the island? Do you want to be able to cook at the island? Perhaps you want to add another dishwasher or a trash compactor to your island which is not uncommon these days. It is entirely up to your desires but the more bells and whistles you add, the more money it will cost you. It wouldn’t hurt to talk to a kitchen consultant who should be able to brief you on the various island styles, configurations, and features available in the marketplace.

A modern island is a must-have piece of furniture for a kitchen of today. If you do your research and explore your options, you’ll find that you will not only be adding a new focal point to your kitchen, but you’ll also be adding many years of enjoyment.