The Advantages Of Kitchen Islands
If a kitchen is wide enough to host an island the new creation can provide exceptional counter space and storage. Among the advantages are:
- Countertop space – ideal work space for everything for preparing meals to nightly homework and snacks.
- Expanded storage – depending upon its size, an island provides storage in deep drawers and cabinets. In addition, some designs provide open shelving for books or more kitchen tools.
- A place for sinks – if you’re able to manage the plumbing, an additional sink to complement the kitchen’s main sink makes the island even more versatile. It’s also ideal when entertaining.
- A place for cooking – the surface can be used for portable appliances or a cooktop can be installed within the counter. Adequate ventilation is required.
- Adds efficiency – in a medium- to large-sized kitchen the space between work areas may be expansive – a waste of space. A new addition closes the distance and replaces open space with valuable work space.
- Reduce clutter – cookbooks, serving pieces and collectables find a new home in a well-designed island.
- Resale value – because kitchen islands are in such demand, a well-constructed addition to your kitchen adds to the overall value of your home. With kitchens the focal point of most homes, anything that makes them more efficient and visually pleasing returns its cost in resale value.
Island Design Considerations
Before committing to recreating your kitchen with a new island, take into account potential problems that might impact your success. An island fulfills five kitchen functions: storage, prep, cooking, serving and cleanup. In the planning stages, decide the roles your new installation will fill. Your expectations impact the size and shape of the island and how it blends with existing appliances and work areas. Careful planning heads of potential problems. There are disadvantages to adding an island:
- The island is too big – a nice, big workspace sounds wonderful but if your kitchen isn’t big enough it cramps you style. A rule of thumb is to leave 42 to 48 inches of open space around all sides of an island – if the current open space is 13 feet wide or less, an island probably isn’t a good idea. You might consider one of the popular movable carts, etc.
- Too many detours – there’s what designers call the “working triangle” – the pathway between the sink, stove and refrigerator. These pathways need to be open to keep your movements efficient and unobstructed.
- The island is too small – to be useful and island should be at least 4 feet long – to accommodate a pair of 24-inch cabinets back to back. If you cannot install anything this large, look at the popular mobile work station carts or a basic table.
- Seating areas – is there room for a snack bar set up? Do you need a seating area? Adding seats increases the demand for space – a comfortable seating area requires at least 24 inches for each person.
Plot Your Kitchen Design Ideas
A sure way to avoid space problems is to plot your island design on the floor plan. You can do it two ways: to scale on paper, or with cutouts on the floor. To really visualize what you’ll get, take large sheets of paper or panels from cardboard boxes and place them on the floor. Measure the distance from the edge of your mock-up to the appliances and cabinets. Is there at least 42 inches from your model island to each cabinet or appliance?
If your island will include a dishwasher, make sure that its door can be opened without interfering with cabinet doors or appliances like over doors. This is easier to visualize when using cutouts on the floor.
The whole idea behind adding a kitchen island is to claim more usable space. However, space alone isn’t the only thing to plan for. Once you’ve plotted a footprint, look around and consider:
- Lighting – adding counter space without adding efficient lighting for the area is a common flaw. Custom lighting above the island in an excellent solution but some light fixture obstruct your overall view. Consider dimmable lights if there’s an eating or homework spot – bright lights for food prep are too bright for comfortable dining or book work.
- Power – if you’re planning to use the island for small appliances – your mixer, blender or popcorn popper – you need a handy outlet. Multiple outlets make sense and in today’s work a USB charging station is popular. Of course if the island houses a cook top, dishwasher or other major appliances it must have appropriate power.
The Professional Touch
There a great deal to consider before committing to a new kitchen island. Most of the popular features require significant alterations to the room: plumbing and electrical upgrades, new flooring, custom cabinetry, etc.
Professional kitchen designers remind homeowners to include a “little fun” in the design, too. Kitchen islands are great places to add color and personal style
Done properly, a new kitchen island should fit seamlessly into your overall floorplan. After you decide your kitchen needs an upgrade call Sims Exteriors and Remodeling at 608-825-4500, or email us for the latest materials and kitchen island ideas for your Madison WI home.