Here are our top tips for what has become an essential component in many of our customers’ kitchens.
Updated for 2022. Here are our top kitchen island ideas for what has become an essential component in many kitchens.
We know that every kitchen island is different. We also know that it needs to be more than just good looks; it needs to be functional too. With our background in design and years of experience, we have developed some fantastic kitchen island ideas that are sure to inspire your new kitchen.
Big or small – every kitchen is unique and so is your island.
The most vital aspect of designing your own kitchen island is to first understand what works best for your kitchen. It needs to be the right size for the space in your kitchen and you’ll need to decide what you really want to use it for.
Does your island need to double as a breakfast (or cocktail) bar, or do you want additional storage space that helps keep things nice and tidy? Your island must complement and complete your kitchen. Not only will this give you the best result possible, but it will also streamline the choices you need to make.
1. Space things out
You’ll need to have space between your island and the rest of your kitchen. You’ll need aisles that let you move around comfortably, but not so much that you can’t reach for essential items from other parts of your kitchen.
Remember that your island must be a working part of your kitchen, it isn’t just there for effect. Typically, you need a gap of 42 inches between the counters. However, if you have a small kitchen, then an aisle minimum of 36 inches is usually best.
2. Choose the right proportions
It’s important that you work within the existing space constraints of your kitchen. We’ve often heard customers say they wished they had larger kitchens because of the available space that they offer, however, huge kitchens can create some unique design challenges of their own.
Any island that you choose must always be proportional to the size of your kitchen. If it is too big, then it will overpower the room and possibly make you feel ‘hemmed in’.
Conversely, a small but ultimately impractical island, just for the sake of having one, is both ungainly and a waste of precious space. This is where our experts come in – we’ll get to work on designing an island that works perfectly within the proportions of your kitchen.
The island in this stunning shaker kitchen fits beautifully within the kitchen space and provides both seating and a place to cook.
3. Add some curves
There is no ‘one size fits all’ island – every kitchen is different, and we often have to think outside the box to find a solution to a potential design problem. The image of a square kitchen island is so popular that it’s easy to automatically gravitate towards this textbook shape.
Yet there are lots of options. It might well be that an L-shaped or T-shaped island will work best in your kitchen, or a lovely circular or cool elliptical installation, to match the curves in your kitchen. Curved kitchen islands are becoming a popular design trend and work well in virtually all styles of kitchen.
We’ll find the right solution, letting your kitchen dictate the shape and size of the island.
What makes this kitchen so special is that the shape of the curved island is then followed throughout the ceiling design and kitchen cabinetry. The curves complement this stunning open-plan living space by giving a real feel for smoothness and comfort in the flow of the kitchen space.
4. Add a theme
This is one of our favourite kitchen island ideas! Adding a theme can add character and style to any size of kitchen and you’ll want to make sure your island complements the rest of the kitchen.
This large nautical kitchen island is utterly unique, featuring a bold beach scene splashback and a large kitchen island that contrasts dramatically against the neutral cabinetry and worktops.
5. Integrate some clever storage into your island
Storage units and clever cabinets are an essential part of the modern kitchen island. They allow you to tuck away the mess, and organise your kitchen more efficiently, yet still make sure that everything you need is handy.
We’ll make suggestions on what you need in terms of shelving units and cabinets to ensure it all works well with the rest of your kitchen. Small kitchens with limited shelving will benefit from extra-deep drawers and large fold-away inserts that will provide you with ample storage.
Islands in larger kitchens could incorporate the latest trend – a double island! They can also feature display cabinets and stylish shelves with glass doors. Many of our kitchen islands are also used to showcase wine collections, cookery books, artwork and holiday memorabilia.
6. Add some seating
Islands are for getting together. As the kitchen is now considered to be the heart of the home, it’s a gathering place for family and friends. An island provides the perfect spot for a quick breakfast, mid-morning snack or a family ‘kitchen supper’ in the evening, so make sure to incorporate some seating space.
We just love this unique seating area that creates both a practical working space - with up-lifting storage beneath, but a beautiful social space to spend quality time with family and friends!
Our designer Myya said "My favourite part of this kitchen was the island, the planning of this was so well thought through. A good example of this is the raised area at the back of the seating as the hob is infront. The seating area also combines lift-up storage so it added so much more to the space".
Many modern islands come with a design that places the countertop for food and drinks a bit higher than the one used for preparing and serving meals. This also allows you to choose a wider range of kitchen bar stools or chairs. Also, make sure you take into account the required knee clearance space for sitting comfortably at the island.
Adding small details such as waterfalling your island worktops is a great way to create a prominent feature within your kitchen as well as creating practical benefits of protecting your cabinetry from damage.
8. Integrate your kitchen appliances
Whether you intend to cook at your kitchen island or not is a decision that you’ll need to make pretty early in the planning stage. If you plan on adding equipment for cooking, then make sure you allow forsome extra costs and design constraints that come into play because of the additional electricity and/or gas line and possibly also plumbing.
A kitchen island that doubles as your cooking space will also need a few smart appliances incorporated into its design. You might have to forgo a bit of storage space for that oven, dishwasher and maybe even a small fridge, but it will be well worth it!
A stunning example of a recently completed kitchen from our Padstow range that has been perfectly designed to create a lavish living space where both style and practicality were key!
The large anthracite metal rock island offers both a social and functional space with its vast amounts of under-counter storage to create a sleek modern aesthetic.
We love designing kitchens that are highly personalised and unique to our customers. Kitchens are more than a place to cook.
Adding bespoke elements to your kitchen can make it truly unique. One area we focus on a lot is creating bespoke and handmade aspects to kitchen islands. This could be anything from a custom end panel that matches the rest of the kitchen cabinets or something more spectacular like an integrated cocktail bar.
This beautifully hand-crafted kitchen has the perfect showcase island for entertaining guests, preparing food, or even just a place to relax with a glass of wine.
11. Use your kitchen island as a space to entertain
Creating a space for entertaining family and friends is a popular kitchen trend! So, with that in mind, don't be afraid to experiment and be bold!
You can enhance your kitchen island with bespoke elements such as coffee stations, audio/visual equipment, or even a cocktail bar!
This modern kitchen below is a showcase for what can be achieved with some imagination and ingenious design.
Start planning your new kitchen island
We hope these kitchen island ideas have inspired you. Kitchen islands are one of our favourite aspects of designing a new kitchen.
At Kettle Co. Kitchens, we’re experts in kitchen design so if you’re planning a new kitchen, come and talk to our friendly team about how we can help you create your dream kitchen. All you need do is visit us in your local store or book a free virtual design appointment.
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