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Is the kitchen island part of a solution?

The kitchen is one of the most complex spaces to design in a house, and adding a kitchen island can be confusing. Don’t just add an island just for the sake of having one. No matter how unique your island idea is – if it doesn’t serve the purpose, it can be an eye sore or just in the way. Several questions need to be answered before including an island in your kitchen.

Is your kitchen the right size?

If your kitchen is big enough to include an island that will add to the functionality of the space, only then can you start thinking of adding the island.  Ask yourself … Will an island create a new traffic pattern in the kitchen, or will it become an obstacle? Will it make sense with the rest of your kitchen? Can it complement the work triangle of the cooking (stove/oven), storage (fridge) and sink? Make sure that your island isn’t too big that it obstructs the walk-ways and flow of the room. Typically, leave a space open of between 900mm and 1200mm all around the island.

What is the island’s function?

Decide what your island’s main function is going to be before you start adding different elements to it. What activities will you use your island for? Prepping, cooking, eating / entertaining or a combination of different activities? Will the room allow the island to be a sufficient size to include all the elements you want to add to it? If you want appliances and prep-bowl in your island, you’ll need more space. If you decide to use the island as a cooking or preparation area; will there be enough work-surface left between the hob and prep-bowl? Also think about the electrical / gas and water points that needs to be added and if it will be possible to do so. If you’re incorporating the hob, take into account the space needed for the extractor as well. Does the seating / eating area need to be raised to increase the work surface of the island? Or can it be lowered, because there’s enough walking room around the island? Make a list of everything you want in your island, in order of priority. You may not be able to get everything in your island, but try to include at least three features.

How much storage do you need?

After deciding what elements or activities you are including in your island, you need to think about the storage that goes hand in hand with these activities. This mainly depends on your kitchen layout. Island storage may not be top priority when your kitchen has enough space for storage cabinets. But these are some of the storage solutions you might need to include in the island:

  • Hob, oven or stove – pot drawers, utensil drawers, spice fitting
  • Prep-bowl – bin cabinet, vegetable drawers, utensil drawers
  • Seating area – utensil drawers, crockery cabinets

Just ask yourself … Is the kitchen island part of a solution, or will it create more problems?

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