Island Kitchens

Island kitchens are the most coveted kitchen design today. They create that open floor plan most of us love.

They're stylish and efficient.

They add more counterspace and storage.

And they're friendlier - you can visit with Grandma while whipping up a Thanksgiving feast...or help the kids with homework while making dinner.

The kitchen island can be any shape and size, include an eating area, act as a prep station or contain the stove, sink and/or dishwasher.

Islands can be made from many things - regular kitchen base cabinets, narrower wall cabinets, or pretty much anything! The unique island pictured above was created from an old wooden desk that had spent years sleeping in the garage!

Are you suffering from island envy?

Islands can be added to or created from all basic kitchen layouts...

L-shape, U-shape or galleys.

L-shape and galley kitchens can become island kitchens with the removal of a wall (or even two).

The U-shape needs to be wide enough to accommodate the addition of an island - or you can have an island when you need it, one that slides out from its storage area under the countertop.

Island kitchens can have drawbacks...

If a kitchen is too small, an island will make it even smaller. A too narrow space won't work well either. Opening fridge, stove and dishwasher doors can be a problem.

The solution? Create or buy a rolling island - one with a butcher block or solid surface countertop is ideal. It can be moved out of the way to accommodate appliance access. Use it when necessary and then roll it into another area - a corner of the dining room, for instance - to get it out of the kitchen.

There are few drawbacks to most well-planned kitchens with islands, but here's a common complaint:

In this U-shape kitchen, the island becomes an obstacle. The cook has to sashay around it to get from the stove to the fridge and back. Dizzying!

A great solution is to install a cooktop in the island. Shorter steps for the cook, yet the space remains open and efficient.

A wall oven has been added to the wall where the stove once was. The dishwasher has been moved to the right of the sink to get out of the way of the newly condensed work triangle.

For ventilation, the cooktop could be a downdraft, or add a hood over the island.

ADDED BONUS: You'll frequently be facing the room open to the kitchen, better connecting the two spaces. And you'll spend less time with your back turned, wondering what Junior's doing behind you making that awful noise.

Galley Kitchens

L-shape Kitchens

U-shape Kitchens

Back to Kitchen Layouts

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Adding an island?

For comfortable seating around an island, make sure you have a 14" overhang.

Longing for granite countertops?

Have granite installed on your kitchen island.

One piece is less pricey than a whole kitchen full of granite, and it can turn your island into a real showpiece.

Thinking of remodeling?

Keep a notebook or scrapbook of notes, clippings and ideas.

Kitchen magazines are expensive - look through them in the grocery checkout line. If you see pix of a kitchen you really like, buy that magazine.

Stop in at home centers and pick up any free cabinet manufacturers' catalogs.