Tuesday, July 17, 2012

No Man is an Island

At the end of the summer I will be spending a week on a semi-tropical island. Until then, I am doing some island hopping around the design world. Here are five kitchen island options and what I like (and don't) about them.


This kitchen island has great storage for cookbooks built into the side. The overhanging counter top on the long side can provide space for seating. While it is very pretty, I think that the built-in stovetop makes the island less functional for the parent preparing dinner while junior does homework. I see flames and burned math homework. The solution is to either design the island without a built-in stovetop, or the counter could be raised or lowered on the seating side.

pendant lights!! 
Via Houzz 
This island provides lots of great storage space with the four cabinets on the bottom. If the other side of the island has an overhanging counter top, then you get the bonus of being able to add stools for additional seating. I also like that the designer included lighting above the work surface, which is often overlooked.

go for a primary color!

This kitchen has just the right amount of storage space and extra seating built into its island. There are at least three drawers and three cabinets as well as some nice display shelving. Be careful what goes on the display shelves, though, as it could be easily damaged by kicky feet hanging from the bar stools.

lovely turquoise and yellow kitchen!

This is a good example of a non-fixed kitchen island. It provides some extra storage and additional counter space (and in this case, a nice pop of color). Carts can be relatively inexpensive to purchase from stores like Crate and Barrel, Target, or IKEA, and can be taken with you if you are moving on. You could add one or two small stools to the cart for extra seating, depending on the material. Lucite, thin wire, or backless would be good choices for not creating a visual obstruction.

In a similar vein, a kitchen desiring more seating, counter space, and/or storage, but without a center island, could add a long table with bench seating that opens to provide storage (depending on what you are planning to store inside and how active your family is). Puzzles and games, table linens, small appliances that are not often used = good storage. Your best crystal or fine china = maybe not-so-good storage.


In all but one of the featured kitchens above, the kitchen island was a different color than the rest of the cabinetry, either through paint or the use of natural materials, which appeals to me. The contrast creates visual interest in the room and sets the island space apart (just as a real island is separate from the mainland).

My final caution when designing your kitchen with an island is to be aware of the difference between counter stools and bar stools. Counter stools are typically about 26-28 inches high whereas bar stools are 30-32 inches. You want the one that will allow you an 18" clearance between the tops of your legs/lap and the underbelly of the counter or bar. When in doubt, use your measuring tape.


  1. Love the colors in the second one. The first concept is something similar to what I'd like to do with my kitchen space...but with drawers for storage instead of cupboards.

    Aunt Sally


Thanks so much for commenting! I love to read what you have to say. ~Carrie


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...