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The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s an area that provides much needed alone time while you prepare a meal or try a new baking recipe, or serves as a space for entertaining guests. With such versatility, it is important that your kitchen mirrors your passions and preferences.

One of the most important parts in the design of your kitchen—the kitchen island—requires strict attention to detail if you are going to get the most use out of this structure. Understanding the design, utility, and functionality of a kitchen island can improve the time you spend in this room.

In Part 1, we will discuss what factors need to be taken into consideration during the design phase of your kitchen island. At Splendid Kitchens, we offer complete interior design services and construction consultations for the do-it-yourself builder. We can help alleviate the stress of designing your kitchen island!


Before You Begin

            It’s tempting to dive into a new project; however, the kitchen island is one that you want to take your time with during the planning phase. With a plethora of styles, designs, and elements available, it’s important that you slow down and stop to actually think about what it is that you truly want. Here’s how to begin the selection process:


            Make a List

What do you use your kitchen for mostly? How would you primarily utilize your kitchen island? What are the most important features? Questions like these can help to narrow down the options for your kitchen island. For example, if you love to cook or bake, a kitchen island might provide additional counter space for food prep as well as additional storage for pots, pans, and cookbooks.

Think about the key features that you want your kitchen island to consist of. Consider whether the sink will be a part of the kitchen island, whether the dishwasher or an additional oven will be utilized in this space, or if you want a built-in mini fridge for drinks or other items. If storage is your main goal, try and envision open shelves, closed cabinets, and drawers. Do you picture a mix of these three elements, a combination of two, or just one medium? Are you going to want a space for trash and recycling?

What goes on the counter is also important. From towel bars and hooks to a countertop range and butcher block, each of these features will impact the way you use your kitchen island and how the design and layout will fit together.


            Consider Your Preferences

Not everyone utilizes their kitchen in the same way. Some like to cook, while others like to bake. While the two might seem to go hand-in-hand, cooking and baking require different features and materials. People that enjoy cooking might need additional burners or more sink space. People that like to bake might prefer to have an additional oven and more counter space. If your main goal is to entertain, then consider utilizing your kitchen island as a bar. This is where the additional fridge comes in handy.

Keep in mind such concepts as height and seating. If your kitchen island will double as a prep area and a place for additional seating, the idea of tiers might prove beneficial. That way, you’ll have two different height levels and won’t have to worry about crouching over during food prep or not being able to reach the counter if seated at a lower barstool.


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            Proper Material Selection

All kitchen islands are utilized in the same way, which means that it is important that you know exactly what you want to use your kitchen island primarily for. Whichever category you prefer to work within will ultimately impact that materials recommended for your kitchen island.

Most likely, your preferences will fall into one of three categories: baking, cooking prep, or bar-style entertainment. For the person that loves to bake, consider a countertop made of marble or butcher block. Stainless steel is ideal for cooking prep. For a bar, granite or butcher block would provide the perfect surface.

Keep in mind that these are only recommendations. If you are not fond of these particular materials, Splendid Kitchens can help find a better fit. It is also beneficial to consider the materials used in the rest of the kitchen. Using similar design elements in your kitchen island will tie the space together quite nicely.


What’s Next?

Once your list is made and you have figured out what it is that you want, the primary elements that make up a kitchen island will be the final choices you will have to make. The primary elements will most likely be the hardest decisions in which you will have to make regarding your kitchen island. These elements include sizing & spacing, seating, storage, and shape & style. For more information on these aspects of kitchen islands, visit Part II of “Kitchen Island 101” to better assist you in the design of your ideal kitchen island. Don’t hesitate to call Splendid Kitchens at 970.403.8577 with any questions you encounter throughout the process. We want to ensure that you get the best final product possible!


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