Kitchen Design – Functional Islands

Sep 29,14 Karen Zieba
Kitchen Design – Functional Islands

The kitchen island has evolved beyond providing extra prep area or place to pull up a bar stool for a quick meal.  With the right planning, your kitchen island can greatly improve the functionality of your kitchen and give an opportunity to add custom design touches to your kitchen remodel.  Answering five key questions will help you design the kitchen island that looks fantastic and works best for you.

  1. What function(s) will it serve? Will you be using the island for preparing, cooking, or serving meals? Do you need to incorporate seating space? A kitchen island can become a multi-purpose area and can handle the task well if you plan accordingly.
  2. What type of storage to you need to include? Take a look at your wall cabinets and drawers. Are there enough to handle all of your storage needs?  Your kitchen design could include customized drawer storage for dishes, pots and pans, linens, spices and other seasonings. Click on the image below for more kitchen organization ideas from Pinterest!

    A customized kitchen design that places everything within reach.  Photo Credit:

  3. Will you be placing any appliances in the island?  Dishwashers, cooktops, wine refrigerators and microwaves can be easily accommodated in a kitchen island. When placed here you free up valuable counter and wall space for food preparation or cabinetry.  You may even choose to add a second sink or dishwasher if you have more than one person working in the kitchen at one time.

    Placing your cooktop in the island can free up valuable counter space in a galley kitchen design

  4. How tall do you want the counter height? Islands are usually 36 or 42 inches tall, and in some cases, a two-tiered island works best.  Most people choose 42″ to accommodate bar stools, but if you would prefer table height seating you may want to lower a portion to 36″.
  5. Where should it be placed? For maximum functionality, there should be a minimum of 42″ of aisle space on all working sides of the island.  Remember, the placement of the island will define the traffic pattern as well as your visibility into other connected rooms.


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