NORTH COUNTY – Homeowners planning a kitchen remodel may be considering whether to include a kitchen island in their new design. When the space allows, an island can be a fine way to enhance the look of a kitchen and impart an upscale appeal.
Interest in kitchen islands has grown steadily over the past several decades. Introduced in the 1970s, islands became a popular place for guests to congregate and provided extra counter space for meal preparation and entertaining. The suburban migration led to bigger homes with larger kitchens. Through the 1980s and 1990s, homes grew even larger, and islands became a popular feature of kitchens across the country.
The increase in food-based programming on television has also contributed to the popularity of kitchen islands. As more people dabble with preparing their own gourmet meals, kitchen islands have become more convenient.
Although there are many benefits to an island in the kitchen, there are also some disadvantages to kitchen islands. Weighing all the options can help homeowners design a kitchen layout that is functional, affordable and practical for the space they have.
Arguably the most significant advantage to having a kitchen island is the added space it provides. Many times islands are built with cabinetry that matches the rest of the kitchen design, and those cabinets provide storage space for pots, pans and other kitchen tools. Islands may double the storage space available in the kitchen.
Kitchen islands are also advantageous when preparing meals. Kitchen counter space can be easily gobbled up by toaster ovens, rotisserie cookers, microwaves, coffee makers, and various other countertop appliances. These appliances can take up valuable real estate that’s sorely missed when preparing meals. An island can be used solely for cooking and preparation, and some homeowners have incorporated cutting boards and a prep sink into the design of the island.
Islands also can be customized according to a homeowner’s needs. Instead of simply having cabinetry beneath the counter, some opt to have a wine cooler or even a bookshelf for keeping cookbooks within reach. An additional small dishwasher or beverage refrigerator may be tucked into the design of the island. For others, the island may be a makeshift kitchen office space.
Expense is a leading negative factor with regard to a kitchen island. The additional material necessary and the labor involved in installation may bust some homeowners’ budgets. Stationary islands can cost several thousand dollars to install, and this is money a homeowner may be better off investing elsewhere.
In smaller kitchens, an island may be impractical because of the space limitation. Islands are typically at the heart of the kitchen and may interfere with walking space or cause clearance issues when the refrigerator door or cabinet doors are open. For homeowners who find space is at a premium in the kitchen, an island may not be the best idea. However, a rolling island that can be moved into position when needed, then stored in a convenient, out-of-the-way location might be a viable option.
Depending on the complexity of a kitchen island, its installation may extend the amount of time required to complete the kitchen renovation. This can prolong the length of time needed to complete the work. Running a gas or electric line and plumbing to the island may require a major overhaul and demolition.
Kitchen islands are popular components of home designs. Before homeowners engage in any kitchen renovation that may include the incorporation of an island, they should know the advantages and disadvantages.