One of the most common requests from people renovating their kitchen is to complete the design by adding an island, however this addition is not always the best solution for every kitchen. There are many factors to consider before deciding on an island design, the most important question being; is the space available?
The “NKBA” (National Kitchen and Bath Association) recommends that you have a minimum of 42” of space between your working counter and island for a “1 cook kitchen” and when you are designing a kitchen for 2 cooks, you should allow 48” of space for the 2 chefs to move comfortably throughout. Many people think that 36” is the minimum required space and it may well be fine for some- but the most important thing is to measure it out for yourself so you know you will be comfortable working in your kitchen. Consider the opening of appliance doors i.e. a 36” wide single door fridge or opening your dishwasher door- will there be enough room for someone to pass by or are your completely blocking off the walkway? Consider how you work in your kitchen and how many people are in the space at one time? If you have a large family or like to entertain, consider …what it will be like to work in the kitchen when it is full of family and/or guests.
An island can be a great solution for added counter & storage space and an opportunity for an appliance location, for example a sink or cook top, but make sure your island is going to be an improvement to your kitchen and not just an obstacle to work around!
It has become quite common to see huge islands in homes that overpower the space, so large that you have to get on top of them just to clean them!! A general rule to keep in mind; an island should not take up more than 10% of your kitchen floor space.
Also consider seating – this is also another great bonus with islands incorporating “bar” or “table” seating, again considering the space around your island, when someone is seated will there be enough room to move around them or will they be blocking the space.
An island can be a great accent piece to a kitchen, with the ability to bring large rooms together, create extra seating/entertaining space or make it the main focal point to the design, as long as the addition works for your space. It is always a good idea to discuss all of your options with your designer to ensure that an island is a good addition to your new design and most importantly will compliment your room and lifestyle, not complicate it!