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Kitchen islands – a good idea or not?

May 14th, 2018 8:19 am   

kitchen island

We have all seen the property shows on TV where the kitchen island is described as a “must have”. Is that really the case? The truth is that the kitchen island is not to everyone's taste and it's not always practical either. However, an island does have plenty to add to a kitchen in the right circumstances.

The most important thing to remember is that it's not as simple as deciding that you want a kitchen island and getting one. There are plenty of things that you need to think about.


Is getting an island in your kitchen a good idea?

Whether you are looking for more storage, or you like the idea of having extra seating in your kitchen, a kitchen island might seem like the perfect solution to your needs; but is it?

Is there room in your kitchen?
This is one of the first questions you should ask yourself, when you are considering having an island installed in your kitchen. Islands are ideal for large kitchens and can help turn them into a great social space. This is not the case in small kitchens where the extra work top space may just make the room feel more cramped. Remember that there should ideally be between 42 and 48 inches of free space around the island. This is especially important if you are intending to use the island as a work surface.

Can you afford it?
Kitchen islands can be expensive, especially if your have a sink, hob or electric sockets built in. You need to balance your dreams of having an island against financial reality. If you are on a tight budget, it may be better to opt for a kitchen table instead. You can still gain extra workspace and extra seating with this option.

How will an island affect functionality?
The area between the sink, stove and fridge is known as the working triangle. You do not want this area to be adversely affected because you need to be able to move around freely as you work in the kitchen. It's not a good idea to install an island if it's going to impact badly on this area.


The positives of an island

If you have considered the potential issues with having an island installed, and it's still something you are thinking of doing, it's worth knowing about the benefits you can get.
 
  • Additional storage space.
  • Additional facilities such as a sink or hob, if you want them.
  • Extra kitchen seating so your kids can do their homework while you make dinner, or to use during house parties.

An island can certainly be worth the investment. If you decide to go ahead you need to start planning.


What do you want from a kitchen island?

Once you have decided that having an island in your kitchen is the right choice for you, you need to think about what the purpose of it will be. Generally, there are five different purposes that may apply.
  • Food preparation.
  • Cooking.
  • Storage.
  • Serving meals.
  • Washing food and dishes.

These purposes are in addition to the additional seating space that an island can provide. Choosing the purpose, or purposes, carefully is important as the choice influences the design of the island. For instance, if cooking facilities need to be included, the island will need more depth and a hood will need to be included above.


Island design mistakes to avoid

The design of a kitchen island is important and there are some mistakes that you should avoid:
 
  • Making an island too big or too small. As we mentioned earlier, there needs to be a certain amount of space around the island, so that you can easily move around the kitchen. It also needs to be at least two feet long, if it's going to be of any practical use.
  • Trying to include too much seating. It may seem like a great idea to cram a lot of seats in, until your guests start elbowing each other.
  • Forgetting about the lighting. If you are going to use the island as an extra work surface; it's important that you do not forget to install sufficient task lighting. This is important if you do not want to end up chopping your fingers instead of the carrots!

Only you can make the final decision about whether an island is a good idea for your kitchen. Think about the cost and the purpose and do not forget to make sure that the final design is a good fit and improves the efficiency of your kitchen space.
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