The kitchen is the heart of your home and a well-designed and functional island is key. Here’s the dos and don’ts of designing a kitchen island from four kitchen-design experts to find out exactly how to achieve it.
1. Do Choose A Tough, Easy-Care Benchtop Material
Kitchens are places of heavy traffic flow and productivity, so a good durable natural or reconstituted stone for the benchtop is crucial. You’ll also want it to be scratch-resistant and easy to clean – and the same goes for your joinery and skirting board materials. Choosing good-quality fixtures such as sinks, tapware and handles is always a preference of ours as they get so much use and need to last.
2. Do Get The Proportions Right
Getting the proportions of your island correct lets you work efficiency in the space and ensures that traffic flow is maintained. Some key measurements to follow are:
- You want a minimum clearance of 1,000 millimetres circulation space around the island.
- The overall height of the island should be between 900 and 940 millimetres.
- The minimum island width would ideally be 900 millimetres and length would be 1,200 millimetres.
- The benchtop should be between 20 and 80 millimetres thick.
- If you want to include bar stools around the island, you’ll need 300 millimetres of under-bench space.
3. Don’t Forget Power Outlets & Appliances
There’s nothing worse than a beautiful piece of stone ruined by ill-considered power outlet locations. Make sure power outlets and appliances are well-placed so they do not dominate the appearance of the island bench, are easily accessed and make the functionality of all sides of the island bench work really well. Think about how both sides of the island can be ‘working’ sides and not just the ‘kitchen’ side of the bench. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful piece of stone ruined by ill-considered power outlet locations. Think about what will be plugged in – it probably won’t just be hand mixers, but phone chargers, laptops and the like. A charging drawer for items such as these can be a smart inclusion.
4. Do Consider How You’ll Use The Island
If you like entertaining or eating everyday meals at a bench, then an island with more overhanging area and less cabinetry or storage underneath might be for you. Make sure you think about how you envisage using the bench both every day and on special occasions. We are very realistic with many clients who have families in pointing out that children will often sit at the bench and talk with parents, complete homework, use devices and eat (sometimes all at the same time) – I call this the ‘mission control’ island bench. Think about whether the sitting area needs to be closer to the fridge and pantry – this is another way of managing who is walking in and out of the kitchen, and who can be kept on the outside edges of the island bench – for safety as well as to avoid overcrowding in the kitchen. Some people like to drop down part of the island to table height (around 740 millimetres) rather than the standard 920-millimetre-high bench. This can work really well in some kitchens, but do be careful that you don’t inadvertently limit your storage and appliance options by having a really large table section on the island.
5. Do Mix Materials
Too many kitchens have enormous island benches that might provide a lot of bench space, but effectively take over the space and look like a big lump in the room. Using different materials can break down the scale of an island bench. But balance is key; too many materials and details start to look messy and fussy. When you’re choosing materials and colours for your island, make sure they harmonize with any hues in the adjoining rooms.
6. Do Make The Island As Long As Possible Without A Join
Slabs of stone come in a range of lengths, but if your kitchen is big enough for one measuring around 3,000 millimetres x 900 millimetres, you’ll have the perfect-size island for preparing food and entertaining. The maximum length of some brands and materials is 3,000 millimetres, so if you choose such a brand/material, keep the length at 3,000 millimetres or less, so the benchtop can be made in one piece without a join. Joins on islands are not aesthetically pleasing, so avoid this if you can. A minimum width of 900 millimetres will enable you to have seating stools on the back side of the island, so your family and friends can sit up at the island to eat or marvel at your cooking!
7. Do Integrate Generous Drawers & A Pull-Out Bin
For functionality purposes, it’s imperative to have your cutlery drawer on the island and potentially your bowls and plates too. This gives easy access to the important everyday items you usually use an island for, such as serving up food. Having your bin integrated into the island just below your work surface is another important functional element – it allows you to simply scrape the scraps straight into the rubbish. It also helps you stay part of the action with family or friends when cleaning up the kitchen and helps keep your floor mess-free.
8. Do Prioritize Functionality
Think about how you will be working in the space and include functional fittings and storage to suit. If this is going to be your main preparation area, include a minimum of 1,000 millimetres of clear bench space and easy access to knives and chopping boards. Also ensure that your bin and sink are close by.
9. Do Consider Alternatives If You Haven’t Got The Room
An island bench that is too small will result in a cramped workspace, rendering it useless, so ensure you have enough space for it. If you’re working with a smaller space, a better option may be a peninsula bench.
10. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Bold
The island bench can be a great place to make a statement, so if you’re eyeing off some feature cladding or a bold benchtop surface then consider this your place to use it.
Here at Hurst Homes we offer complete customised homes that can be as individual as the owner. We guide your through the entire process including your selections to ensure you create your dream home. Just another reason why we are considered Waggas best builder. With over 30 years in the industry as a Wagga Builder you can trust Hurst Homes with your dream home. For a free no-obligation preliminary estimate contact us today on 0438 692 962 or fill out the contact us page on our website.
For more tips from the Houzz experts visit Houzz.com.au