For a lot of our clients, no new kitchen design is complete without an island at its center. Besides looking great, they help people better enjoy the busiest room in the home and are loved for many reasons. They add counter and storage space right where they’re needed and are often the kitchen’s hub of activity.
Modern kitchen islands are used for cooking, cleaning, and food preparation. Some are even outfitted with fixtures and appliances like a sink and cooktop or seating for dining.
Modern Kitchen Islands
Adding an island as part of your kitchen remodeling project offers more bang for your buck than just about any other upgrade. Today, islands are taken for granted, but in the history of kitchens, the ones we use today are a relatively new concept.
While some form of an island has existed for centuries, this kitchen element has come a long way from its humble beginnings. The first ones in this country date to the colonial era, when simple worktables positioned by the fireplace were used for meal prep before sitting down to break bread.
The modern kitchen island was first introduced in the 1950s. Up until that time, it remained a freestanding piece of furniture with a style distinct from the rest of the kitchen. Contemporary islands often continue that tradition, integrating materials, colors, and design elements that set them as the focal point of the room, but in the 1960s designers began to match the island to the existing countertops and cabinets.
The ideal island should be the perfect blend of form and function with enough counter space to meet your needs while being proportional to the kitchen, and with plenty of room to maneuver around.
Types of Modern Kitchen Islands
Kitchen islands take up a good amount of space – at a minimum, they should be four feet long by two feet wide and should have plenty of room for people to move around them. For kitchens smaller than 8×12 feet, there are creative solutions that offer the convenience of an island without crowding the room.
- Working kitchen islands are styled after classic worktables. They typically have open shelves and drawers. Visually, they make a room appear larger.
- Storage islands provide cabinet and counter space but do not feature sinks or cooktops. They can be built-in, but movable units are perfect for smaller kitchens, as they can be pushed against a wall when not in use.
- Prep and wash islands include a small sink, usually in one corner, that makes food preparation easier. Often they include seating and also great for party bartending!
- Dining islands have an additional overhang counter that makes for a casual eating or homework spot. Combo storage/dining units offer the best of both worlds.
- Cooking islands are loved by cooks who’d rather not have their back to the room, especially when entertaining or watching small children. Some cooking islands include a dining area that, unlike dining islands, sits higher than the cooking area.
- L-shaped islands work best in large kitchens. They have multiple activity zones (cooktop, bar sink, etc.) which are often set at different heights.
- T-shaped islands are composed of a prep island with attached dining table that can be used for additional food preparation but also accommodates traditional seating.
- Double islands also work best in an open concept kitchen. People often use one that has seating to visually define a room separation and the other for food preparation.
Many older homes in the Greater St. Louis area were built before kitchen islands became a must-have. For kitchen remodeling clients who remove a wall to gain kitchen space, an island lets them gain the storage space and preparation area they lose by opening up the room.
Modern kitchen islands can house dishwashers and wine refrigerators, come with countertops that range from stainless to butcher block and stone, control clutter by stowing smaller appliances like microwaves, and even include unique add-ons like pet stations!
Many clients also request LED panels under the island countertop to add a thoroughly modern touch.
There are literally hundreds of options for kitchen islands and our in-house designers would love to show you how easy and fun it can be to incorporate one or more into your kitchen design. If you’re ready to move forward with a kitchen remodel for your Greater St. Louis area home, get in touch with us today. We look forward to meeting with you!