A kitchen Island or at least a peninsula that works like an island has become a standard for upscale kitchen designs.
A well design island provides added work space, storage space, and even a place to put built in appliances such as oven, microwave, wine cabinet, under-counter refrigerator or a vegetable sink. A poorly designed island with very little circulations space or poorly placed features can become a major impediment rather than a centerpiece of the kitchen.
You should consider the following when considering an island.
- Size of room: obviously the size of the room will limit the size of the island but also consider making the island proportional to the room. Too small can be as bad as too big. You also need to consider the surrounding space. If you follow all the recommendations included herein and the island extends into and limits other spaces – family room, dining area – then it will not be successful.
- Size of island: If only a small island will fit consider custom or undersized cabinets. Islands with wheels are also an option if the island fits for everyday use but is in the way on days when major meals are prepared; think Thanksgiving and Christmas. Usually forty inches square is the smallest usable size for and island.
- Clearance required between cabinets and other work areas and island: The rule of thumb is three feet but if more than one person will be using the kitchen regularly at one time or the kitchen is used for a lot of entertaining this may need to be increased.
- The work triangle which is the triangle formed by your cook top, sink and refrigerator. If you are adding an island to an existing kitchen do not block the triangle or make it uncomfortable or awkward.
- What work spaces or appliances will you want to place in the island.
- Dining space: do you want a breakfast bar on the island. Is there room and if so what height. I did a kitchen for a customer with a peninsula which a lower second row of cabinets with knee space on the side away from the work space so the children could use it as a desk and do their homework while Mom made dinner.
- Can you convert the kitchen into a single row galley kitchen and use the space created by removing a second line of cabinets or dining space to accommodate and island with cabinets or even dining space.
- If you are creating a large island make sure the top will through the doors for installation.
- Look at alternative islands such as table with open shelves. A table is also a great way to try and island in your kitchen it see if it works before tearing up your kitchen to install and island. You may even consider using a dresser as an island with a granite or other kitchen type countertop installed – see here.
- All the same considerations can be applied to a peninsula which may be easier to fit into your kitchen design.