Kitchen Islands can add valuable counter space, storage, and work space to any kitchen. Whether you're looking to start from scratch or add on to your existing kitchen, including an island will increase the worth of your kitchen, both now and at resale time.
What features should you look for in a kitchen island? A lot will depend on your budget and space restrictions, but here are some ideas.
If you're working with an existing kitchen and an existing space (and not looking to do major renovations), a stand-alone island
may be your best bet. You can find a wide variety of styles, sizes, and finishes to match any decor. Many kitchen islands come on wheels, which is nice for versatility, but look for models with lockable wheels for when you don't want it to move on you.
If you've got the room, the planning time, and the budget, however, a built-in island may be the way to go. You've got a lot of decisions to make along the way, though - here's a few features you might want to consider:
The counter top: Choices abound for counter top surfaces. Think about choosing something that contrasts with the counters in the rest of your kitchen for that extra special touch. Maybe the kitchen island counter top is also where you can splurge - granite counters for the whole kitchen might be price-prohibitive, but the much smaller area of the kitchen island might allow you to choose a higher-end material. Other possibilities include choosing a marble kitchen island counter top if you're a big baker or pastry maker or a butcher-block wood counter if you'd like to use your kitchen island as more of a prep space.A sink
y kitchen islands include a smaller sink for cleaning vegetables and other food prep tasks. If your island is closer to your stove than the main sink, this water source may also be useful for filling pasta pots. Another sink-like feature to consider is an ice trough - a long, narrow sink that can be filled with ice for chilling and presenting drinks while entertaining.An ice maker
: Speaking of chilling drinks, how about an ice maker in your kitchen island? If you do a lot of entertaining, the ice maker in your freezer may not be enough. A wine/beverage fridge
: One of the most popular appliances for including in a kitchen island is a wine refrigerator. Choose a capacity suitable for your needs and includ
e space (and power supply) for it in your plans.
Power supply: Make sure your island is wired for power (will likely only be allowed by code in kitchen islands that are fixed in place). You'll need it to power any appliances housed within your kitchen island, but also for blenders, food processors, bread machines, etc., that you'll want to use on your kitchen island as well.Seating
: If it is appropriate to your space plan, consider adding seating to your kitchen island as well. The kitchen is the heart of the home and there's nothing family and guests like better than to hang out all together in the kitchen.