Today’s kitchen island is a far cry from the basic medieval food preparation table, but still serves the same purpose. It is now a significant item of kitchen furniture that can accommodate sinks, faucets, waste disposal units and even racks, drawers and cabinets for your cooking utensils and tools.
Even in smaller kitchens people are examining the possibilities that could arise by clearing away the traditional kitchen cabinets, and replacing them with kitchen islands that offer the same amount of walking space if not more. Here are some ideas for a kitchen island that is not plumbed in to serve a sink, but that offers a great deal of storage space and can effectively make your kitchen appear larger.
The following are just a few of the benefits you can get get from a kitchen island:
• Increased workspace
• Storage for cutlery and cooking utensils
• Seating and eating areas
• Provide a working surface for food preparation
• Incorporate a waste bin
There are many more benefits according to how you use this type of kitchen furniture. However, before making the decision to purchase a kitchen island, you have some important factors to take into consideration, not the least of which is space.
Space and Design are Important
You need around 3 feet of walking space around the island unit, and you must be sure that the drawers and doors in the cabinets have room to open. If you maintain the three feet, them that should be fine. The only dimension that must be stated is that of the counter height. Ideally it should be the same as the rest of your kitchen units. It’s not a complete disaster if levels vary, but it can be a bit disconcerting at times when working on surfaces that vary in height.
Another problem you might face if you buy your kitchen island as a separate unit, and not as part of the overall kitchen, is matching it to your existing cabinets. This might not be as easy as your think, but if you purchase a solid color, such as black, white or red, then you should get away with it.
Regarding colors and designs, kitchen islands can be made from a number of different materials. The framework of the island is generally wood, although the counter surface can be metal or even granite – granite is a popular substance used for counter tops. While stainless steel is another excellent material for a counter top, aluminum is too soft – it may be OK for a sink, but it is easily scratched and dented, so avoid it for kitchen counter tops.
Consider the Services
If you need a power supply for appliances, you can run it up through a pipe or conduit up to the ceiling, or even better, run a line below the floorboards up into the kitchen island. Make sure your installation conforms to local and national regulations. You should use an proper electrician for this an not try to do it yourself.
Many islands are fitted with burners and sinks with a hot and cold water supply, but this is not essential if you already have a traditional sink and stove. There are many different designs of pot hooks or racks that can be used on or above your island. Many people fit hooks to the ceiling to hold cooking pans of different types, but that will depend on the height of your ceiling.
Mind Your Head!
If you have hooks on the ceiling to hang pans and other items from, make sure that you have enough head room to avoid people banging their heads on longer items such as frying pans or skillets! Clearance is all-important with kitchen islands, because there is not a lot worse than having a kitchen that is severely restricted in space just to accommodate an island. The island should complement your kitchen, not dominate it.
You are better off without it if you are using up all the free space in the room. You should always have a good traffic space in your kitchen, because it can sometimes be dangerous if you are cramped for space – in fact it can be dangerous if you are. Yes, a kitchen island is good to have, but not if your safety and freedom of movement are compromised to accommodate it.
A kitchen island can be a useful item of kitchen furniture, but it must serve a purpose and must not be restrictive. With these comments in mind, a kitchen island can transform a dull kitchen, and you will certainly love showing your friends an neighbors your new item of kitchen furniture.