Remodels are one of the most stressful tasks to take on as a homeowner, either new or seasoned. But the honest truth is that a vast majority of homes will come with a little something that we all would want to change. For so many of us that includes the kitchen.
While replacing cabinetry and appliances is easy enough, and choosing granite and back splashes all sound like fun– there’s actually a bit of planning that goes into kitchen design. What about that island you’ve been coveting?
Well with a bit of planning and elbow grease, you can craft the perfect prep space for your kitchen. Just take a few things into account when looking into adding an island– and we’ll help you determine what’s important, pick a size that’s just right and give you some ideas for specific design uses and more.
Depending on the type of household you have, the kind of cooking you do (or don’t do), an island doesn’t always have to be something that’s generically a universal piece of built in furniture. The kitchen island is usually a central hub where people gather– so you’ll want it to be as functional as possible to join in on all the action when entertaining.
All kitchens are not created equal. While you can certainly maximize your kitchen space in any home, that doesn’t mean that a 7-foot island will fit in your 10×12 kitchen. Choose your maximum size, then think about the things you want your island to incorporate (ie. appliances, storage) and determine what will work best for your home. If you just want something generic, a 3×6 island should be sufficient. But again, this depends on kitchen size and a couple of other factors.
Just as all kitchens aren’t created equal, no two islands are designed exactly alike. Tailor your storage needs to your family as well. If you bake a whole lot, the island may want to be dedicated to mixing bowls, silicone molds, decorating tools and so much more. As a family of 4 or more, you may have board games or other items that could be incorporated into storage on the backside of an island that veers into the living space.
Envision the overall look, style, and feel of your kitchen. If you have a very open concept kitchen with upper shelving instead of cabinetry– another source of enclosed space will help to keep the clutter at bay as well as provide some continuity among the ‘lower’ cabinets. For those wanting to display collections or interesting goods, an open island would double up as an interesting focal point.
Do you want to add some seats for quick meals at the counter? Or seats for a bar gathering? What about a bar sink or electrical outlets to use any of your kitchen gadgets for crafting any homemade meal, pastry or cocktail. Plumbing is especially important for island items such as dishwashers and sinks. Having refrigerator drawers or a lower microwave for kiddos could be an important aspect for your home, or a wine fridge might be the focus.
Don’t forget that while not physically connected to your entire kitchen and home, your new (or remodeled) kitchen island should still connect with the look and feel of the rest of the space. Incorporating little architectural details– whether it be crown moulding, small carved designs, or pops of coordinating colors; remembering that this island is potentially what is tying it all in can help to keep things cohesive.
Finishes should be of course coordinated with the kitchen, although there are some successful ways to intermix a bright color into a more neutral palette and vice versa. Keeping things clean and light is a safe way to go, but if you feel like getting more bold and want the island piece to stand out, really spend some time selecting a finish that will be classic enough to last for a few years at a time, and have a surface finish that is a safe neutral that will work with a change in island color.
If you’re not working with an architect or designer, be sure to check your calculations and work multiple times. Creating an island entirely too large or way too small can be a costly mistake if you’re on a tight budget. And not ordering enough tile or calculating the correct amount of granite for the surface can mean unsightly seams or unusable material. As the old saying goes, ‘measure twice, cut once.’