When visualising your dream kitchen, what do you see? Chances are, you see a kitchen island.

Kitchen islands have risen in popularity recently, and for good reason. It is a freestanding counter that provides a kitchen with added interest, workspace and storage.

With this in mind, it is clear that this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But before you embark on designing your kitchen island, there are a number of things you must consider.

5 Things to Consider When Designing a Kitchen Island

Kitchen island design is no easy feat. But it can be if you do your research. Many people see an island as an aesthetically pleasing surface to prepare food. However, with the right intentions, it can serve as so much more.

Here are 5 things we recommend thinking about when it comes to your future kitchen island.

1: Functionality

Believe it or not, kitchen islands are not just pretty counter blocks. They can be used for a wide range of purposes. 

In our experience, we have custom built kitchen islands with seating, sinks, shelving, cupboards and cookers. The list of possibilities is truly endless.

We advise that you look at how your kitchen functions now, and consider what you would like to change. If you have the space to separate certain elements, then try thinking about which ones would be better suited in the form of an island.

This way, you will better understand the flow of your kitchen, and how this may be improved before you start designing.

2. Appliances

We understand that islands are super stylish. However, you do need to consider the necessities. Appliances don’t have to interrupt your design. Instead, they can help you create something totally unique and interesting. 

That being said, you should liaise with your builder as early as possible to ensure all plumbing and electrical work is in the necessary position. This will not only save you money in the long-run, but will also be a great informer of what you can and cannot achieve with your island. 

For an island, you can have the following main appliances:

  • Sinks
  • Hobs
  • Ovens
  • Microwaves
  • Dishwashers
  • Wine coolers

For smaller, transportable appliances, you should consider socket placement. Luckily, these can be discreet, either at the side, underneath tables, or in the form of a pop-up. This way, you can have blenders, toasters, and even charge your phone or laptop while you cook.

It is also important to note that if you are installing a hob or oven, you should consider what type of extractor fan to integrate. This could be either an overhead, or a downdraft. 

kitchen island with stove and hob
For a kitchen island, first think about the purpose it will serve. Image credit: Pinterest

3. Storage

Island storage is actually very versatile. If you decide to keep your appliances where they already are, then an island can give you double the space than your kitchen cabinets.

Often, people are more concerned with the counter space of an island. When really, it is below the worktop that provides the most value. 

To ensure you’re making the right decision, try and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of items do you need stored?
  • Are they bulky? (E.g. mixers)
  • Are they compact? (E.g. pasta jars)
  • Are they delicate? (E.g. expensive tableware)
  • Will they benefit from cupboard storage, or shelf storage?

This should give you a better idea of how you want your kitchen island to look and serve.

4. Shape and Placement

The usual shape of an island is rectangular. Yet, this doesn’t always have to be the case.

How you design your island depends on a number of factors. Including access routes, location of windows, and the shape and size of the kitchen.

For example, if your room is rectangular and you want a rectangular island – this would typically follow the same orientation as the room, with the longest edge running parallel with the longest wall.

If your room size permits it, you could create an L-shaped island to optimise space and give your kitchen some serious wow factor. 

Other island designs include round, oval and curved, as pictured below.

You should also consider the social aspect of your island. It is one of the key reasons people get one fitted, so they don’t have to cook with their backs to their guests. Imagine yourself standing at your island, what do you want to see? It could be that you want to face your open-plan living space, your TV, or back towards the kitchen.

curved kitchen island
Opt for an island shape that will suit your kitchen’s layout. Image credit: Home Design Lover

5. Style

After considering the above, now you get to the exciting part. If you’re an avid interior lover, you may have already collected your ideas, but have you looked in the right places? 

We recommend using social media sites with tailored searches, like Pinterest and Instagram. Or, you can use handy visualiser apps, like Houzz and TapGlance to have a go at creating your own digital island.

With kitchen islands, every style is beautiful. But you need to factor in your bigger kitchen ideas, as well as your personality so that this is all reflected in your island.

To determine this, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • What worktop finish would you like your island to have? (E.g. glossy, wood or stone)
  • What colour will work with the scheme you have in mind? (E.g. neutral or bold)
  • What type of handles do you want? (E.g. handle-less, bar or cup)
  • What seating do you want to accompany your island? (E.g. swivel, leather, wood)

By considering each of these 5 points, you should have a clear idea of how you want your island to stand out, as well as complement the rest of your kitchen. 

When it comes to kitchen design, we understand that it can be a complex process. You may find yourself asking questions that not every blog will have the answer to. That’s why we offer free initial consultations worth £250 to all our clients. With this time, we can discuss plans and ideas for your kitchen island, as well as provide you with helpful advice, logistics and next steps.

At Kitchen Design House, we also offer bespoke kitchen island design. Over the last 20 years, we have been creating kitchens, bedrooms and islands from concept right through to production, with our client’s wishes at the fore. 

If you’re ready to get started, or just want to chat, do not hesitate to contact our team of specialists today.