Home Sweet Home: Create Your Own Island

kitchenislandBy: Cathy Osoria

A kitchen island is a relatively modern addition to the kitchen. It is named an island as it is a free standing area typically at the center of the kitchen that is used to add a little additional working space to the kitchen. An island can be the heart of the kitchen whether square, L shaped or rectangular, and it can bring an entirely new appearance to the kitchen. Islands can be secondary cooking and prep stations, and surfaces selected for the island top can make cooking less complicated.

Chopping vegetables on a butcher block top or making pastries on slick marble makes for a quicker clean up after the food prep.  Everyone can use more area to serve their guests food and beverages when entertaining. The main entree, desserts or veggies on serving trays and platters can all fit and be displayed on the newly created island top. Seat space is consistently short in a kitchen so the kitchen island is a method for adding working space, appliance stations and maybe even bonus storage. Kitchen islands with seating add a great deal of convenience.  They even may be used as a dinner table and are great places for kids to do homework.

It is a good idea to consider the kind of seating that is preferred before the island is installed as different kinds of seats will need  different heights and overhangs of the island top. An island can bring in other accent materials into the kitchen space to inspire a more interesting look.  The base of the furniture can be reclaimed wood orshelves with baskets or crates or a contrasting paint color from existing cabinets. The island top could be stainless steel, marble, granite, concrete or wood and can coordinate yet be different from existing counter tops to add interest.

There are portable and fixed kitchen islands.  The fixed model is built into the kitchen floor and after installed cannot be moved or modified easily.  It is built into the home so it can be shaped to be more customized to the kitchen size and offers the option of having plumbing or electricity built into this structure. Plumbing can accommodate a dishwasher, main sink or a smaller vegetable sink.

Electricity comes in handy for plugs and appliances that can be an island addition like a microwave, warming drawer, oven or stove.  Installing pull out trash cans,cooking utensil and spice drawers and pop up mixer cabinet will make one wonder how he/she made it this long without an island.

The portable kitchen island is an island that can be moved to different locations possibly when entertaining or moved nearer to the stove or sink when prepping food. It is an excellent alternative when there is limited space in the kitchen. It can be wheeled wherever it is needed. It can have the exact same characteristic as an island that is fixed such as an excellent table top made of wood, stainless steel or marble. It provides extra storage for wine, cook books, dishes, cooking utensils, linens or pots and pans. The bonus feature of a portable island is the possibility of moving it outside when entertaining.

Portable islands can be custom built to your specifications just like a fixed island or pre built ones may be purchased at a furniture store or online.  Even if pre built, they can be modified by adding towel bars for kitchen towels or painted an accent color or a different top may be purchased to add to the standard island but customized to make it fit the current space and needs.

Islands are functional, attractive additions to the home that can be the center of attention and family gatherings.

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