The remodeling process is one that is full of decisions. Building, too, requires a lot of brainstorming and weighing of pros and cons. One decision that shouldn’t be too difficult is whether or not to include a kitchen island. Islands add functionality and class to any kitchen, and the options on what to include are extensive.
As you decide on the features you want to include in your kitchen island, consider the amount of space you have available and the functionality the island will need to provide. Ultimately the choice on what to include comes down to the goals you have for your kitchen and your personal sense of style.
Appliances to Include in a Kitchen Island
A sink is a common addition to a kitchen island because such a central appliance almost deserves a central location. When you include a sink in your island design, frequent hand washing or rinsing is readily available; it makes washing produce and dishes without dripping everywhere more plausible; and the bioproducts of cooking like crumbs, scraps, and dirty dishes can go right into the sink without any fuss.
If you choose to include a sink in your kitchen island, consider putting in a dishwasher at the same time. They can share some of the plumbing, and it makes cleaning up after a meal more streamlined. If you opt for an island dishwasher, you have a few design options. Conventional dishwashers may create traffic jams depending on how much space you have around the island. Slide-out units are also an option and have several sizing options, including one- and two-drawer configurations. Their biggest drawback is that they generally cost a pretty penny.
If you spend a lot of time at the stove, putting a stovetop in your kitchen island is almost a must. Having the stove in a central location improves the experience, both because of the views and the accessibility. It means did you have access to all of the island’s counter space and all the cabinets and counters surrounding it. It also means you can engage with guests or watch the game or the little ones play instead of the backsplash.
If you add a stovetop to your kitchen island, you will also need to add a vent. The two options are overhead and downdraft. Overhead vents release smoke, steam, and smells through the ceiling, while downdraft vents are less conspicuous and release through the floor.
If you want to add a microwave to your kitchen island, know your audience. Having the unit lower down can be helpful if you prefer to remove hot food from lower down, but it may not be a good fit if you have small children running around. Little kids are liable to put non-food items like toys and books inside of a microwave within reach, and even though many units are equipped with door-locking features, kids are smart. It only takes observing the lock pattern a few times before a fire hazard is at hand.
If you, like most people, plan on having a full-sized fridge in the kitchen, including a mini one in the kitchen island may be redundant. However, if you are installing an island in another room, like the basement, a small refrigeration unit may be the perfect fit. Even if you do have a full-size fridge, you might choose to include a unit in your kitchen island that is specifically for wine. While wine racks—which is another option for any kitchen island design—have a mediterranean charm, they are not helpful for storing bottles that have been opened.
Do you have a lot of cookbooks? A few shelves to store them close at hand also add a decorative element. You can also keep magazines or other material within reach.
If your island is especially tall, consider adding a space for some barstools so you don’t always have to cook on your feet. If spacing in your kitchen is limited, a kitchen island can replace the need for a kitchen table.
A butcher’s block is a great addition if you don’t want to pull out the cutting board every time you need to slice up some apples or cheese. Butcher’s blocks preserve the edges of your knives more than granite countertops do, and any scratches and nicks in the woods can be sanded out relatively easily.
Hidden Storage or Garbage
Instead of cluttering up the floor with unsightly garbage cans, make a giant drawer for them in your kitchen island. These can slide out or open on a hinge, and your island’s storage capabilities are not limited to just the rubbish bin and recycling.
As you design your kitchen island, leave yourself open to the possibilities. If you need help deciding which elements to include, or if you need professional island installation services, give us a call at Lloyd’s Remodeling and Cabinetry.