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The kitchen island has come a long way in design over the last 30 years. The latest configurations work harder than ever before in terms of aesthetics and practicalities.
A highly multi-functional part of the kitchen, a cleverly designed island can be a hub for storage, cooking, cleaning and preparation work, add invaluable worktop space and provide a place to entertain and dine.
Designers will agree that the most important thing to assess when choosing an island for your kitchen is the ergonomics and space. It’s key to tailor the island to fit the kitchen footfall, rather than planning your kitchen around the island. Think about how much space you will have to walk around it, in particular when you have the drawers and doors open – on the island and its surrounding units too.
The Kitchen work Triangle
The most stylish designs can include useful features such as a chopping board, hidden storage units, a spice rack and a secondary prep sink and hot water tap. Appliances such as a dishwasher, induction hob or wine chiller can also be incorporated. Statement lighting, rack for pots and pans or extractor fan above are also sophisticated additions. An integrated breakfast bar and stools or lower level built-in table with chairs add a sociable element to the island.
An island in the same color as the kitchen creates a seamless look, while choosing a contrasting hue can make it the perfect focal point
Coffey Architects, London, GB
How to plan your island
Think carefully about the ergonomics of your island.
It’s a good idea to keep the ‘entertaining’ section slightly higher than the cooking and preparation area, and keep a safe distance from any hobs or hot taps when designing your kitchen.
Chelsea Island Typical Kitchen – ArcMedia CGI
Use different surfaces on the island to suit the function.
If your island is to be used for entertaining as well as cooking and washing, contrasting materials will help define ‘work’ from ‘play’ areas. Timber can also be used for a chopping area in the main prep zone, while a softened textured wood is perfect for sectioning off the entertaining area.
Consider the functionality of the island.
A wet area can work well in an island, either as the main sink or a secondary one, but you’ll need to consider plumbing. Plan your electrics right and you can even add a cooking appliance, such as an induction hob, which is a great way for the chef to stay involved in what else is happening around a room while meals are being prepared.
Using the same colour throughout your kitchen creates a seamless extension to the units but choosing a contrasting colour or texture, such as high-gloss or exotic veneers with a stone or a wood worktop, can make a kitchen island the focal point. You can be smart with storage solutions by incorporating wine racks, an overhead saucepan rack or shelving.
Cover Image © ILB interieur – keuken te Wijnegem
Galjevica Residence by GAO Architects
” As a highly multi-functional part of the kitchen, a cleverly designed island can be a hub for storage, cooking, cleaning and prep work, add invaluable worktop space and provide a place to entertain and dine. “