How to Create the Perfect Kitchen Island

A kitchen island is the all-singing, all-dancing, multi-functioning hub of a working kitchen. When utilised to its full potential, this versatile unit can be used for food preparation, storage, cooking, dining and socialising. Indeed, the list of practical benefits that can be harnessed from a kitchen island is a long one! 

It’s not just the functional advantages available, either. Whatever the size and layout of your kitchen, the careful installation of an island can enrich the design, ambience and décor of your space.

If you're planning to add an island to your new kitchen and are looking for some inspiration or helpful advice, let Unfitted guide you through some of the key factors to consider.

Design and materials

As far as the overall design of your kitchen goes, one of the fundamental aims is to keep the aesthetic throughline of your space consistent—and your island shouldn’t be overlooked in this process. The very best islands harmonize visually with the rest of your kitchen.

If you’re designing a super-contemporary kitchen, your choice of island should reflect that sense of modernity. Equally, if your tastes are more traditional—the island should coordinate with your own particular style preferences.

In an ideal world, your goal should be to install an island that uses materials similar to those featured in the rest of your kitchen. A predominantly wooden island will strike a visual balance if you’ve already got plenty of wooden surfaces and cabinets. This doesn’t necessarily mean strict uniformity—as contrasting colours and materials can often create a dynamic effect—simply that the design elements need to make sense!

Storage

As a general rule, your island will take up nearly a quarter of your overall kitchen plan—so it’s important not to let those precious inches go to waste. Taking advantage of a kitchen island’s numerous storage options is a great way to make efficient use of your space.

There’s a wide range of custom drawer and cupboard combinations available to you at Unfitted; as well as a variety of mini-larders, spice racks, glassware holders and crockery displays. Whatever your requirements, we can create the perfect kitchen island storage set-up to ensure every last item finds a home!

Appliances and workspace

Incorporating everyday appliances into your island is a popular option. Not only will it save space elsewhere in your kitchen, but will also add to the neat, multipurpose nature of your central hub. Meanwhile, deciding exactly which appliances you’re going to include in your island is an important consideration as it’ll affect the overall dimensions of the unit.

Plenty of forward-thinking is required at this stage of the process; understanding the practical logistics of appliance placements is something you want to land on right away. Do you really want a sink placed over an oven? Would it make sense to have compost and waste bins in close proximity to your food preparation area? Try and visualize how your kitchen island will function on a day-to-day basis and plan its design around it.

On a similar theme, if you intend to use your kitchen island as a workspace, size should be at the forefront of your mind. There’s no use creating an area that’s either too short or too narrow for your needs. It’ll quickly become an intense source of frustration—something that could’ve been easily avoided in the planning stage.

Seating

Seating for your kitchen island is entirely optional but will offer yet more versatility to your space. With the simple addition of some carefully selected furniture, a practical workspace is suddenly transformed into an area for dining, family breakfasts, or the focal point of an evening social event. 

As ever, the style choice of your seating is absolutely critical. It needs to synchronize with the visual aesthetics of your island and the kitchen as a whole. If you’ve opted for a classic breakfast bar-style island, with plenty of stainless steel and vibrant injections of colour, perhaps classic diner stools would be a good choice?

Lighting

Lighting might seem like a trivial afterthought when designing your dream kitchen island, but it’s a vital component on the road to creating a highly functional, attractive space. 

Recessed or track lighting is an excellent, subtle method of bringing light to your kitchen island. And, with the addition of dimmers, you can have full control of the ambience and elemental aesthetics of your surroundings. For a healthy dose of elegance, why not go for some pendant lighting or, for the epitome of sophistication, opt for a low-hanging chandelier. The choice is yours. 

Whichever lighting option you decide on, the key things to consider are the positioning of the lights—which areas will most benefit from direct illumination?—and how they will dovetail visually with the rest of your kitchen. 

If you're looking at upgrading your current kitchen island set-up, or looking to completely revamp your kitchen, then do get in touch. Our friendly team will be happy to help with their expertise.

Posted on September 17th 2021

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