How to Choose the Right Kitchen Island

The kitchen island is an amazing feature in today’s modern kitchen because it is so functional. It adds countertop space, storage, seating, and is even utilitarian when used as a cooktop, sink, or both. In large kitchens, the island serves like the axle, with all supporting features radiating out like spokes in a wheel. In small spaces, a rolling island adds versatility. It is a focal point from a design perspective, usually the spot where your eye rests first when you walk into the kitchen. Because it serves so many uses, choosing the right features really helps distinguish custom kitchens and generic ones.

Kitchen Island
This versatile island includes seating, a small sink, and a wine cooler. Photo Credit:

Fixed or Moveable

Measure your kitchen’s open floor space and determine whether a fixed kitchen island will inhibit traffic flow or help it. In very small spaces, a rolling cart that can tuck into a closet or hallway often makes more sense. If configured like a rolling cabinet, you could actually leave space under your countertop and move the island in and out of the space whenever the additional workspace was needed.

Cooktop or Countertop

A fixed kitchen island allows all kinds of great customizable options. First, carefully consider your desired workflow. Will the island be a part of your work triangle? If so, what features should it incorporate to optimize that triangle? Will it include your cooktop, a sink and disposal, or only be used as an additional countertop space? If incorporating a cooktop into your island, plan to install a hooded vent overhead. You can also think of your island as a separate workstation. Do you want a marble-topped baking station? Or would you prefer a butcher block for slicing and dicing? Are you going to need seating around your island? Can you leave enough room to fit leather bar stools underneath?

Seating, Storage, or Both?

Do you want your kitchen island to double as dining space? Many of today’s islands double as a workspace with space for seating. Counter height chairs and stools are sold in most furniture stores. Since the American kitchen is such an important gathering place in the home, an island with built-in seating lends itself to entertaining, family gatherings, and weary cooks needing a break from standing.

Kitchen Islands Make a Statement

When you invest in a new kitchen you want it to be functional and beautiful. The kitchen island is one area where you can splurge a little and make a design statement. The countertop material, task lighting, or even display items will be front and center, making it the perfect place to treat the eye!