Creating an Island Oasis Year-Round

  Kitchen trends come and go, but one trend that looks like it’s here to stay for the long-term is the kitchen island. While not every kitchen can accommodate an island, for the ones that can, it’s an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy everything from high-end design and finishes, to the utmost in functionality. Determine Use Island design is one of the most important factors for many homeowners when they begin the creation of their dream kitchen, but with the ever-expanding options, the best course of action is to determine what an island will be used for, before planning its design and finishes. The three primary options include:
  • Dining and entertaining. An island can provide a unique in-kitchen dining and entertaining opportunity.
  • Cooking. Many islands are the place where cooking appliances are included, such as microwaves and cooktops.
  • Food prep. An island can be a great way to enjoy additional food prep space, maximizing the functionality of a kitchen. Many islands now include items like sinks that make food preparation and clean-up a breeze.
Technical Considerations Aside from the primary use of an island, homeowners also have to give thought to a number of other practical considerations. One of the biggest is the size of the island. An island needs to be large enough to provide the capabilities a homeowner is seeking, but not so large that it limits the space in the rest of the kitchen. Before leaping into the installation of an island, other practicalities will also have to be considered, including plumbing, seating, storage and electrical components. The Finishes Now, for the fun part—finishes! When designing a kitchen island, there are two primary routes a homeowner can take with finishes. One route is to go safe, and incorporate the design of the island with the rest of the kitchen, creating a neutral, cohesive effect. For example, if a kitchen is primarily white, with luxurious, white marble countertops that would just be continued on the island. Another option is go bold with the island design, and choose materials that contrast the other colors and design features in the kitchen. For example, pairing a bold, black, natural stone countertop on the island, to juxtapose a sleek, white kitchen. Another idea is the use of a deeply veined, richly patterned natural stone on the island, which draws the eye immediately to that area of the kitchen. For a large island, one of the biggest trends in home design right now is combining several different materials, such as butcher block and natural stone. The butcher block side of the island is clearly designated as a work space, while the natural stone area becomes the entertaining and eating area of the island, ensuring it serves double-duty. Island Waterfalls Aside from contrasting materials and colors, designers are increasingly using the waterfall countertop style on kitchen islands. Using marble, granite and other high-end natural stone materials, the waterfall design feature allows for the stone to be carried down vertically, over the edge of the countertop and to the floor. A waterfall island adds a unique element of vertical lines to the otherwise horizontal lines of the rest of the kitchen’s countertops, and also increases the feeling of elegance and high-end luxury. Versatility and Functionality Whether a homeowner’s style is modern or traditional, a kitchen island is one of the premier ways to make a space as functional and versatile as possible. It’s become not only part of many homeowner’s dream kitchens, but has also proven to be a great selling point and an easy way to improve the value of a home.