A kitchen island, best defined as an unattached counter situated in the middle of a kitchen space and accessible by all directions, is a common trend in new builds. Since islands are useful, folks with older homes may wonder if installing a permanent or portable one is a good idea. The short answer is “yes.”
Kitchen islands are extremely desirable as they expand work, storage, and entertaining spaces and add value to a high use area of the home – the kitchen. Not only are they attractive from a design standpoint, but they are useful in homes, particularly those lacking adequate countertop or storage areas. There are two basic types of kitchen islands – built-ins and portable. Built-in units are attached to the floor and remain stationary, whereas portable ones can be moved and used when needed. Kitchen islands are available in many sizes, shapes, styles, and price points. Both types can have specialized features such as closed or open storage shelves, drawers, hooks and more. Built-in islands are generally larger than portable units and can be so spacious that they even serve as homework or working stations or provide additional eating spaces. Portable units can expand food prep areas and increase a kitchen’s functionality.
Folks seeking to add a kitchen island to their home should search for one to fit their space and needs. Here are some examples. Ideal for a cook with a small kitchen is a mini chef-style stainless steel and wood block kitchen cart. Helpful features include a space saving drop-leaf top and wheels to move the unit. Homeowners with a larger kitchen may seek an upgrade with a spacious stationary solid wood island featuring inlaid granite and sporting storage to include an overhead 10-hook pot rack. People who entertain will likely benefit from a fully equipped island with stemware racks and shelves to hold wine bottles. Some moveable islands are sold in sets with accompanying stools that neatly tuck underneath. This can turn a small non-eat-in kitchen that cannot adequately fit a table and chairs into an eat-in one. Super tiny kitchens should skip the kitchen island, especially in cases where entrances and exits would be blocked.
Fixed islands are typically more expensive as they need to be built and professionally installed. Portable islands may require assembly but do not need professional installation. The latter can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand depending upon size and quality. Secondhand ones may be purchased for less. Aside from cost, a main factor of what to buy depends upon the size of the kitchen. As a rule, per most design experts, a free-standing kitchen island should be 4 feet long at minimum and a little more than 2 feet deep. However, a fixed island of this size may even be too big for small kitchens. If so, portable islands may be the answer.
Overall, one can enhance a kitchen space with the addition of a kitchen island that is attractive and functional. They offer extra space to chop and prep food, store dishes, cookbooks, glassware and more. In addition to offering food prep space and storage, they can do triple duty serving as entertainment spaces such as being a buffet area, coffee bar, or liquor station. When looking for a kitchen island, pay particular attention to size and aesthetics. Moreover, consider useful features that can turn your space into the highly functioning kitchen of your dreams.