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Functional Kitchen Island Ideas

POSTED ON Thursday, January 27, 2022 IN Kitchen

The heart of the modern kitchen may very well be the island. More than just extra storage space, these kitchen islands are the true workhorse of meal preparation.

Woodbridge large kitchen islandSo many modern kitchen designs include an island in their layout, that it’s become one of the most asked-for features in new kitchen builds and remodels. The kitchen island is more than just a beautiful feature of your home and a place to prepare food. In today’s busy family home, the kitchen island is a gathering place for friends and family, a place for kids to do homework or eat an after school snack, a makeshift office when working from home, and so much more. 

When thinking through the design of your kitchen island, whether remodeling an existing home or building new, consider the ways you’ll use your kitchen in order to plan your island in a way that makes the most of your space. Design your kitchen island to accommodate all of your personal needs.

Large Kitchen Islands

Large kitchen islands have become almost standard in new home construction. To accommodate a large kitchen island, ensure the space around the island itself is ample enough to have room for walking, meal prep, and other regular kitchen functions. 

Rainier Kitchen Island A sizable island can house many functional aspects of the kitchen. If meal preparation is a main function of your planned kitchen island, consider adding a prep sink onto the island itself. Built-in recycling centers are helpful if you plan to use this space to chop vegetables or roll out cookies. Some kitchen designers even include appliances such as cooktops, dishwashers, microwave drawers, or a wine fridge within the island. Incorporating appliances or sinks allows you to enhance your kitchen aesthetic while maximizing its functionality. When planning functionality like this, keep in mind that proper plumbing and electrical will need to be outfitted.

Depending on the size you’re planning, consider your choice of countertop material to keep in mind any seams that will be necessary. Many homeowners desire a large kitchen island for entertaining guests or family. If entertaining is a main function of your kitchen plans, consider both the surface area of the island itself and also seating around the island.

Large Kitchen Island with Seating

Blue kitchen island with seating

Seating around a kitchen island can help you create a social space. A large amount of seating on a kitchen island requires ample overhang to be seated comfortably. Remember that seating on an island requires countertop overhang of at least 12-15 inches. You’ll want to add your overhang into the kitchen floorplan as it will impact your walkway. To calculate the total size of your island, you’ll need to plan for seating overhang, additional functional worktop space, and any built-in features like sinks or cooktops. 

Kitchen Islands with Storage

Built-in storage and kitchen cabinet accessories can be a game changer in the functionality and efficiency of a kitchen. Storage within island cabinets can be customized to incorporate any element needed to make your work and entertaining areas more functional. Kitchen islands with drawers can serve many purposes for storage and organization. Large drawers can house dinnerware while smaller drawers can store utensils, spices, or even a charging station. Adding an electrical outlet inside a drawer allows you to hide your family's electronics and charging cords while keeping them close at hand.

For a kitchen island with seating and storage, plan for a larger overall size. Also consider the outswing of cabinet doors, drawers, and any appliances that open like a range, dishwasher, or microwave drawer. Consult with a designer to create your overall floorplan and ensure your room is large enough to accommodate the features you want in your island.

Small Kitchen Island with Storage

If you don’t have space for a larger kitchen island, consider adding storage to the ends of the cabinets to store cookbooks, often-used small appliances, or even integrate bins for food storage. Open shelving can also function as a “grab space” for serving pieces, cake stands, or baskets.

Newman Arch Kitchen with End Storage

An island doesn’t have to be large to offer functionality. Maximize space by choosing a workhorse surface like butcher block to offer cutting and serving space. 

Designing a functional kitchen island is no small feat. Make the best of your options by visiting a Bertch Dealer to browse available layout options and talk through the needs of your family with one of our experienced designers.


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  1. cabinets
  2. island
  3. storage


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