Islands for Kitchens – What Should You Know?


Islands for kitchens continue to be a popular kitchen feature that prospective homeowners want in their kitchen. Statistics show that about 80 % of them would like their kitchen to have some type of kitchen island. Kitchen islands are a handy feature that allows more work space in the kitchen area and also provides some extra storage areas if your island has built in drawers and cabinets. One feature to consider is to have a kitchen island with seating. You will find a lot of helpful information in this article to help you plan your kitchen island.

General Information on Island Kitchens

An island kitchen can be a very attractive piece to add to your kitchen decor. This is especially true if you have a nice stone countertop, or cabinets made of a nice finished wood. You can also install outdoor kitchen islands that are great for entertaining outdoors. Many of the recommendations given for indoor islands will also apply to outdoor kitchens as well.

"Islands for Kitchens"

Elegant Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island Placement

Before you get too far along in your planning, you should first decide where you are going to put your island kitchen. Make sure that you get one that fits the area and doesn’t take up too much of your work space. They are traditionally placed in the middle of a kitchen area so that it can be reached easily. These center islands for kitchens are centrally located and helps the work flow, as well as, balance out the room while allowing space for traffic on all sides.

Island kitchens can be either permanent or stationary. Each type of island has its advantages and disadvantages, and will again depend on the size and amount of use it will get.

There are also perimeter islands that are used in areas that have a more open floor plan. Many of them may have a stove or sink in them and will be facing toward the incoming traffic flow.

Kitchen islands provide a great way of having multiple cooks and helpers in the kitchen at the same time. If your island is located correctly, it will provide cooking and socializing in the kitchen much easier and stress free.

"Kitchen Island with Bench Seating"

L shaped island with bench seating

Choosing the Perfect Island Kitchen Shape

The hardest thing you have to do may be trying to select the type and size of island for your kitchen. The prices will be comparable to the materials that you use or have in your island.

The size of your island is crucial to your overall design. It should be practical, but look great. The proportion should fit in with your complete kitchen sq. footage. The best way to approach this is to use a guide that designers often use. They try to figure out the clearances and dimensions of the space available.

Designers have given a suggested clearance of around 42” to 48”, depending on how many cooks you have at one time. You don’t want your kitchen to be too crowded, and you don’t want your cabinets and drawers on your island coming in contact with anything else as they are being opened. The countertop space should be at least 36” across, and if you have more than one cook, you should double that number.

The shape of your island should also be determined by the layout of your kitchen. There are four basic shapes that island kitchens come in. The basic shape are the L, U, Y, and V shapes. You will find that these designs are more complex and will cost more to build, but might be just the perfect shape for your kitchen. (The picture with bench seating is by Edmonton)

"Island Kitchen in Contemporary Styling"

Contemporary Kitchen Island

"Portable Island Kitchen"

Portable Island kitchen with Butcher Block Top

Materials for Island Kitchens

Homeowners will find that a kitchen island can be made of many types of materials. The price tags will also vary with the type of material that you choose. Some of the more popular materials are butcher block tops, stainless steel, stone, tile, travertine and marble tops. A determining factor here will be if your island is portable or permanent. It is much easier and lighter weight to have a wood top on portable islands for kitchens. The heavier stone types do better on permanent islands.

Adding a Cooktop or Stove to Your Kitchen Island

Many homeowners will decide to add a cooktop, sink or stove into their island. The stoves and cooktops will require a venting system of some sorts to be put in. If you have a cooktop installed into your island, you will need to make sure you allow a venting system. There are two basic ways to vent and island cooktop: the standard overhead vents, and downdraft vents.

-Downdraft ventilators are always placed as close as possible to an exterior wall with the ducting material kept as short as possible. Make sure you keep the ducting is straight, and try to follow the manufacturers suggestions so that your warranty will stay in effect.

-Your ducts should be made of flexible ducting, but not the spiral types that will clog up with grease. Use straight galvanized steel or stainless steel ducting for most jobs. However, use PVC with any type of concrete.

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