Whether you’re lucky enough to own a large kitchen or you’re simply in need of a central hub to store all of your kitchenware – a kitchen island might just be the ticket
Use it to store your pots and pans, baking supplies, mixing bowls and jugs, or as an extended pantry where the breakfast things and vegetables live. Islands also serve as an extra worktop for preparing and plating meals
Where space allows, stools can turn your island into a multi-functional breakfast bar that’s also great for family meals or enjoying snacks with a tipple when entertaining. As well as being functional, kitchen islands are fast-becoming a central feature in their own right and can add character to one of your favourite rooms of the house.
Here are 7 savvy ideas from The Leisure Lounge for making the most of your space with the perfect kitchen island…
If you want to entertain guests while you cook or if you’re looking for a place to perch with the morning paper, a breakfast bar offers a great solution. Usually quite slim, these structures are more likely to suit smaller homes or apartments in need of extra dining space.
Choose from a range of styles to harmonise with the rest of your kitchen, such as an old country house vibe paired with colourful mismatched stools or a retro look with matching swivel chairs. Breakfast bars can also double as hidden cupboards for extra storage space.
Quick tip: To create affordable ambience with modern touch, suspend a single pendant lamp above your breakfast bar (or a row of lampshades in bigger kitchens).
From tiny kitchens to open-plan designs on a grand scale, any space can benefit from the smart addition of a freestanding island.
Go grand with a central landmark in granite and varnished wood, or create smaller, imaginative islands if your kitchen craves worktop space. Create an impressive focal point with the use of reclaimed materials, such as old crates, wooden planks and railway sleepers.
Kitchen trolleys with worktops can be pushed together to create neat freestanding islands – an ideal alternative if you’re always rearranging or wishing to take your islands with you.
Quick tip: Kitchen trolleys can also double up as nifty shelving units for saucepans, drawers for your vegetables or as freestanding wine racks.
From the forest
Wooden-topped kitchen islands can act as striking, sophisticated pillars in your kitchen area, using the same materials to match your current worktops or as a separate entity entirely.
Keep these islands clean and clear for minimalistic chic; decorate with a simple fruit bowl or vase of flowers and it’s as though you’re eating at the dining table. To make an impression, fuse eye-catching walnut, maple or a cherry wood finish with white cupboards.
Iroko, often called African Teak, is also proving popular and is a cheaper alternative to expensive oak worktops.
Quick tip: For durability, oil your wooden kitchen islands a couple of times a year so as to preserve a finish that’s good as new.
If you’re looking to splash out with a touch of retro glam, you might be interested to hear about the revolutionary Corian surface from DuPont. Versatile, easy to clean and available in a range of funky colours, from Blueberry Ice to Luna White, the Corian trend is certainly designed to turn heads.
This statuesque, round-edged island is best suited to larger, open-plan kitchens where space is at a premium and there isn’t an evident need for extra storage.
Instead, why not make your appliances go further by integrating an induction hob for double the cooking space? Alternatively, a modern sink with sleek taps also gives this type of kitchen island a whole new purpose.
Quick tip: Illuminate your Corian kitchen island with colourful lights to create the illusion of an island floating in mid-air.
Who said kitchen islands had to be square?
Experiment with curvaceous designs to complement your space and make a statement with imaginative shapes – from circular to kidney bean.
Take control over the design of your kitchen island and build a breakfast bar with attitude or a shapely, freestanding cooking pod for more than one chef in the kitchen.
Plan what you want from your kitchen island in advance and build it around your requirements, whether that’s cupboards, shelving, basket drawers or purely for show as a place for your guests to pull up a pew while you whip up some delicious dishes.
Quick tip: Never assume your kitchen island has to be big; like drop-leaf tables, even half a kitchen island is better than none if you have space to install it.
If you’re feeling the Scandi vibe or if your kitchen is so futuristic it resembles something from Star Trek, opt for a modern kitchen island to enhance the mood of your space.
To complement a darker floor, white quartz worktops work well without the risk of looking cumbersome (as some wooden-topped islands would do). If opting for storage below, add a splash of colour to your cupboard doors or brighten the surrounding area with a pair of colourful chairs.
These modern islands work especially well when coordinated with the rest of the kitchen, so go for matching worktops and edges, whether round or straight.
Quick tip: For storage, use glass doors. These will reflect the light and your kitchen will appear a lot bigger.
Cuckoo for kitchen islands? Who says you can’t have more than one?
If space allows, a set of two can work just as well in your kitchen, each with their own particular functions. Use one as a freestanding hob or sink unit and the other as a breakfast bar with stools; the choice is yours.
Matching designs are advised here, although feel free to be adventurous with your shapes in order to use space to full capacity.
Open-plan kitchens with a bigger central space will benefit from twin kitchen islands, however this may prove too much for smaller kitchens without the risk of looking claustrophobic, which is the last thing you want.
Quick tip: Include an extractor fan over freestanding hobs or an overhanging shelving unit over these islands to help enforce the focal point of the kitchen.
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