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How to Design a Kitchen Island :: 3 Questions That Guide Design


By Jane Dagmi for Home Sweet Solutions

The kitchen was once strictly reserved for cooking and other chores. Technology, however, gradually took the drudgery out of the kitchen, transforming the space into a welcoming multipurpose room open to all family and friends. Daily life unfolds here and can revolve around a versatile kitchen island.

The kitchen island is a social hub, an additional work surface and a storage facility. When designing a multi-functional kitchen island, consider fit, form, and function. Assess your wants, needs and budget, and exercise your personal style.  How to design a kitchen island may be found with the answers to these three questions:

Question No. 1: How will you use a kitchen island?

Your kitchen’s central station can be as simple as a farm table and a couple of chairs used for eat-in dinners, homework and craft projects, or as elaborate as you can conceive and afford. Typical kitchen island functions include food prep, cooking and baking, eating and entertaining, storage, work and play. As you determine what will work for your lifestyle, the island will take shape. Keep in mind the following functions a kitchen island can fulfill when designing your own:


Question No. 2: What size and shape are best for a kitchen island?

The size and shape of a kitchen island depend on the square footage and layout of the existing room. Traffic should flow freely around it, and appliance doors should open fully. Kitchen islands are typically rectangular or square, but don’t be afraid of trying a different shape such as an oval or arc, or creating a perpendicular shape to suit the proportions of the room.

Make a life-sized template of your desired shape of kitchen island out of paper or cardboard, tape it down on the floor, and live with it for a day or two. As you continue to plan, keep these standard measurements in mind:

Question No. 3: Should the kitchen island match the existing kitchen decor?

The kitchen island is the centerpiece of the kitchen, so it should stand out. The work surface, base cabinetry and hardware of the island don’t have to match the existing materials, but they should coordinate. Since the kitchen island is a self-contained furnishing, take the opportunity to splurge on upgraded materials if your budget allows, introduce a bold accent color and try something new.

As you page through magazines and websites for ideas, consider the following options for designing a multi-functional kitchen island:


The ideas for designing a multi-functional kitchen island are endless, so when planning yours, give plenty of thought to your needs, lifestyle and decor to come up with a design that works best for your space.


Jane Dagmi is a lifestyle journalist and stylist who has worked on the editorial staff of Country Living and contributed decorating stories to Victoria, Real Simple, and Southern Living magazines. She produced a series called “Real People, Real Kitchens” for and can be found hanging out in the kitchen at most dinner parties.

Notes from the hosts: For more on Kitchen Design and Kitchen Remodeling, stay right here @ ~jb

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