An island is more than just part of the kitchen, it is a centre-point. Long since a staple in kitchen design, islands are still highly sought-after components of a cooking space.
Islands play a leading role in the kitchen, from acting as a catalyst for sociability to supplying additional storage, and ultimately creating a more user-friendly space.
Well-known benefits of islands include the additional surface space they offer. This provides an area for food prep and creates room to spread out when cooking, removing feelings of confinement or restriction. Islands are another opportunity to implement storage solutions. No matter the layout of an island, there is always a chance to include storage, whether it be in open cabinets or carefully organised cupboards.
Islands at Work
Working islands can be created with the inclusion of appliances. This provides more scope when implementing the working triangle, as the kitchen can be designed around the three points of the oven/hob, fridge and sink with more opportunity for other appliances to be within easy reach.
With careful thought around the design of an island, partnered with the right worktop, a more formal dining space can be created. Islands can be designed to incorporate seating space or even morph into a table if the space is available. One way this can be achieved is by shaping the worktop to form a lower level which would be accompanied by surrounding chairs. Islands can create interesting shapes and be tailored to the space, with options such as curved barrel units, or open structures which appear more like substantial tables. Breakfast bars are another option for social seating and dining spaces, as they are a simple, yet very effective option. To emphasise the presence of the breakfast bar, a contrasting worktop can be used.
For smaller kitchens, where islands are not a viable option, peninsulas can alternatively be included. Peninsulas offer the same benefits as islands; however, they differ in design. Peninsulas are not freestanding, they are attached to one side of the room, fitting more easily into a range of differently sized spaces. Another substitute for islands in small kitchens are freestanding pastry benches, which can be used as a simple, central point to prepare food or help organise the space.
Bridging the Gap
An island can also be used to bridge the space between the kitchen and living area, specifically for open plan designs. Islands form a social point for people to gather around, allowing the cooking area to be kept free and making sure the living space and kitchen aren’t isolated.