An island is a highly desired feature of a kitchen. They can be designed in all shapes and sizes depending on the layout of the room and if it works with the proportions of the rest of the furniture. We design islands with no less than a 900mm circumference to the wall units. This allows enough space for 2 people to pass and still be in easy reach of food storage and fridges.
Another factor to bear in mind when designing a kitchen island is the depth and length. Anything over 1.5m in depth becomes hard to keep clean as you can’t reach the middle, and anything longer than 3 metres would require an additional slab of stone (and when using natural stone it is always best to have it cut from the same slab so the colour is consistent).
If you are happy that your new kitchen can accommodate an island, here are some things to consider when planning your final design:
Style and function
Assuming the size of the room allows for an island, the key things to consider when planning your design are how you would like it to look and what functionality you need it to have.
The functionality that you require from your island is the best place to start as this will inevitably influence the design. For example, do you require breakfast bar seating? If so, for how many people? Maybe you would like it to incorporate a sink or a hob? Does it need to include any appliances such as a wine chiller or a dishwasher?
In terms of the style of your island, do you want it to match the style of the rest of your kitchen furniture or do you want it to make more of a statement?
In a country-style kitchen, it is common for an island to be designed to resemble a piece of free-standing furniture, like a traditional-style prep-table that would have been used prior to the introduction of fitted kitchens. In other style kitchens, it can be designed with curves or in a different shape to the rest of the standard linear layout.
Kitchen island surfaces
If your island is going to act as a food prep area as well as a breakfast bar, you can separate the areas by using different surfaces. For example, a warm wooden surface is nicer for guests to perch on, and a natural stone provides a more practical surface for food prep or areas that are likely to get excess water on them, such as around a sink.
The different surfaces can also be used as a design feature. You can raise the breakfast bar area to separate it from the rest of the island or include a completely separate addition in another material or shape for the seating.
Kitchen island seating
Whether you are looking to incorporate breakfast bar seating, an area for pre-dinner drinks, or an informal dining area for the whole family to eat together, depending on the size of the space there are many different design options that look great and work well practically.
A banquette is one of the popular and stylish ways to incorporate more substantial seating. This involves integrated seating on the side of the island that is not in the main kitchen or cooking area. This is a good option for rooms where space for a large dining table is limited.
Incorporating a sink or hob
Most kitchen island layouts tend to incorporate a sink or hob. Over the last decade, with the rise in popularity of open plan kitchen designs and improved extraction solutions, hobs have taken the lead. This layout allows the chef to face guests whilst tending to last-minute food prep. It also means that any dirty dishes or pans can remain out of immediate eyesight, maintaining a clean and clutter-free surface in the centre of the room.
A sink on an island is usually part of a design that incorporates a traditional range oven. However, if you have enough space, you could position the sink elsewhere in the kitchen, leaving you with a large prep surface.
The layout of your kitchen will determine what appliances you need to incorporate. For example, a dishwasher would usually sit alongside a sink and a warming drawer would sit underneath a hob.
Over recent years, wine chillers have become a popular choice too. They are usually positioned on the far side of the island, out of the cooking zone and accessible from breakfast bar seating or a dining table.
For more kitchen island design ideas or to book a design consultation with one of our expert designers, please get in touch.