Make Sure You Design Your Kitchen Island Based On Its Intended Use

Kitchen islands have become quite common in today's kitchens. One of the reasons for this is that they are so versatile. You can use a kitchen island for storage, as extra food prep space, or even as a breakfast bar. If you're planning on adding a center island during your next kitchen remodel it's important to know how you plan to use it. This way, you can choose the design features that are best suited for your intended use from the very start.

If you plan to use your kitchen island for storage...

Make sure that you incorporate cabinets and shelving in the most space-efficient way possible. This may mean not including seating on one side of the island so that you can use the space for shelving and cabinets instead. It's often nice to use a combination of closed cabinets and open shelves, allowing you to hide unsightly items like stained cookie sheets and old vases, and display the ones you use regularly, like your fancy cookware and custom dishes.

You can add more storage to your kitchen island by incorporating hooks on one side of the counter. Use these to hang your pots and pans within easy reach, or even to hold your measuring cups and oven mitts.

If you want to eat at your kitchen island...

You should focus on designating one long side of the island for storage shelves or cabinets, and the other for seating. Make sure that the counter juts out, leaving space for your knees when you scoot your chair or stool up to the island. Start looking at chair and stool options at the beginning of the kitchen island design process, so you can be sure to get ones that match your island. Usually, choosing chairs in a color similar to the island countertop results in a balanced, attractive look.

Also, keep height in mind when designing an island that you plan to eat on. With the average bar-style stool or counter-height chair, you'll want your island a bit taller than your kitchen prep counters.

If you want to prep food at your kitchen island...

Choose your countertop and features wisely. It's nice to incorporate a butcher's block into part of the island counter so that you don't have to pull out a cutting board each time you slice. A sink built into the island makes washing veggies handy. Some islands even have holes in the counters; you push scraps through the hole, and they fall into a trash can below.

An island designed for prep should be a comfortable working height. Most people find 3 feet to be a comfortable counter working height, but if you are taller or shorter than the average person you may wish to have your island built to a different height.

Most people use their kitchen islands for a combination of storage, prep, and eating. However, identifying which of these uses will be your predominant use will help ensure that your design lines up perfectly with your needs.