Everything You Need to Know About Kitchen Islands

The National Association of Homebuilders says that over three fourths of home buyers believe that a kitchen island is essential to have in the layout of any kitchen. Just the name sounds like something you should definitely be excited about: kitchen island. An island in your kitchen might just be the next best thing to a tropical getaway, creating your own personal “getaway” space that makes your cooking life so much easier and so much more enjoyable.


The kitchen is the hub of your home.  A kitchen island adds so many possibilities to your kitchen that you want to be sure you are maximizing every opportunity it can offer. Get your kitchen island right and you have centralized your space even more for dining, socializing, and cooking all in one. 


Before you get started with your kitchen remodel and add that kitchen island to your new space, here are all the tips you need to know about kitchen islands to be able to hone in on your own personal kitchen “getaway”: 


All About the Work Triangle

Never forget the all important kitchen work triangle. Those are the functional lines thoughtfully designed to connect the refrigerator to the cooktop to the sink, all in a triangle. These are the most important parts of your kitchen, where you are going to be moving through, using and working at most often. When you are adding a kitchen island to your design, you will want to respect the kitchen work triangle so that your workflow does not get interrupted. No point of the triangle should cut through the kitchen island by more than a foot, meaning you will want to allow for a foot of space on all sides of the kitchen triangle around your island.


Front and Center

Or, not center. You want the spot you select for your kitchen island to be perfect. You might think that is the center of the room - which sometimes, it is - but that is not always the case. If your kitchen island is mainly being used to prepare foods, it typically should be situated more closely to your appliances and outlets for convenience and ease of movement. You can also opt to have plugs installed into the kitchen island itself, which can help sort out any spacing problems.


Pull up a Chair, or Two, or Three...

It is not just for work you know! Your kitchen island can be made into a secondary kitchen seating area if you opt to use chairs or stools around it for additional seating options. Whether it is stools or chairs with backs, be sure that the seating aligns itself to the height of the island so you can sit comfortably at. Adding a second height and countertop to the design of your kitchen island can give you even more seating options and keep people away from food prep or other activities.


Get in Shape

When you think of a kitchen island, you likely gravitate to the vision of something that is either square or rectangular in shape. While it is true that traditional kitchen islands usually come in this standard shape, it may be that your kitchen is not the standard kitchen. If you really want a kitchen island, you can play with the shape in order to make it fit in. Oval kitchen islands, T-shaped or L-shaped islands can often work off of a larger or trickier space.  If your kitchen is really small, you can consider using a rollaway kitchen island. Even though it is not technically considered a true kitchen island, it might give you what you need in an island when you need it.  


Living in a Material World

The material for your kitchen island is one of the most important decisions that you can make. If your island is in the center of the kitchen, it is often going to be one of or the focal piece of the entire room. You should be thinking about the look as well as your needs for the kitchen counter. Maybe you are chopping up a lot of food and want to go the butcher block route. Or maybe you cook with pans often and need to cool off your pans, so you are going to opt for something that can better handle the heat (with a trivet of course!). At the same time, materials like granite, recycled glass, and marble add a visual appeal all their own. Ask your designer what they think the best decision is overall for your kitchen island materials.


Ask Some Questions

Your kitchen island is going to be a very functional space in your kitchen, so ask yourself some questions about how you are going to use it. Do your kids like to do their homework in the kitchen? Is it where you end up paying a lot of bills and doing paperwork? How about baking? Will you need storage space? If you use your kitchen as a workspace, your kitchen island might be even more helpful if you opt for a two-tier countertop. This design allows for one level that is used specifically for preparation, cooking and kitchen functions. The other level can be used for whatever you want, like a desk, so that the surfaces and work area are separated from one another and not a free for all of books, spices and the potential mess when they come together. 


Make Space

We talked about the kitchen triangle, but how is the rest of the space around your kitchen island? If you are using your island as a primary dining space and adding chairs to the area, you and your guests or family will be the most comfortable with at least 24 inches of width, or two feet, between each person. As far as leg room goes, it is optimal to leave about a foot of clearance between the bottom of the counter and a person’s knees.


Reico Kitchen & Bath does not just know kitchen islands. We know kitchens (And, you guessed it, we know bathrooms too!). When it is finally time to start your kitchen remodel and design that kitchen island you have always wanted, or you are ready to redo your bathroom, contact us. We are able to start your remodeling project virtually or in store. From your dream bathroom or kitchen to a weekend bathroom remodeling project, we are here to help.

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