Most kitchens have always had some type of kitchen island in it. The only difference is back in the day the term it went by was “kitchen table.” Of course, kitchen islands today are usually more than just a table, although by definition it may well be just that.
At any rate, kitchen islands are becoming much more important to homeowners as they serve many functions. They extend the workspace, expand the storage capacity, and provide a place for eating, entertaining, or hanging out. Having one in your own kitchen is a great idea.
That said, what type of kitchen island should you choose? That depends primarily on your own lifestyle. Many types of kitchen islands are available, from the simplest (the aforementioned kitchen table) to one with all the bells and whistles.
There are two general types of kitchen islands. One is a permanent structure, such as a full kitchen island with plumbing and electrical wiring. The other is portable, which of the kitchen table is an example.
Your choice will also depend on your budget. As you might easily imagine, a full kitchen island with built in appliances and its own plumbing is going to cost a bit more than a kitchen table. You might even need a special permit to build some kitchen islands as they will have a significant impact on your structure, power consumption, or plumbing requirements.
That is not to say that one is better than the other; it is just that they have very different coolness factors. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so keep your feet on the ground.
Here are some kitchen islands to inspire you.
Rolling cart islands
One of the simplest and most useful type of kitchen island is the rolling cart. As the term implies, it is a cart on wheels, so you can move it easily from place to place. Most people use it as a temporary workspace when a lot of food preparation is happening at the same time. It is also useful as a portable bar, dessert cart, and serving cart.
One type is the butcher-block rolling cart, which comes in a variety of sizes, configurations, and materials. The cheapest type is a metal or wood cart available from stores ready to use or ready to assemble. Some of the pricier types of these carts are stainless steel and have several levels.
All rolling carts have wheels, but some have locking mechanisms to keep them from rolling around. Others have none, so you need to be careful when using them, or they might get away from you!
Small kitchen islands
Small kitchen islands may be about the same size as rolling carts, but they will not have wheels. They may or may not be attached to the floor, and function as a multi-function island in that it has a countertop and storage areas.
In most cases, the working surface of small islands are nor more than four feet in length, and built at the standard height for food prep, which is 38 inches from the floor. You can easily find these types of islands from the store as an RTA product. It is the ideal type of kitchen island for small kitchens as they do not occupy a lot of space, but they perform many functions.
Some small islands come with extension that folds away when not in use. These might sound like a good idea, but these are not particularly sturdy, and may easily collapse with the lightest pressure or smallest weight. In most cases, you will not want to use it for anything more than a conversation piece.
As discussed earlier, this is the oldest type of kitchen island. It is just an ordinary table set in the middle of the kitchen and may serve both as food prep and eating area. Since it is just an ordinary table, it does not have storage spaces unless you consider the space under it as a repository for boxes and other stuff.
However, kitchen tables are still very useful, and they are easy to come by. You can designate any table as your kitchen island, and you can remove it at will and use it someplace else as an extra table.
Freestanding cabinet island
By the same token, you can also designate any freestanding base cabinet as a kitchen island if you put it in the middle of the kitchen and use it as such. Of course, you would have to put on some type of work surface on it, and granite or marble slabs fit the bill beautifully.
Ideally, you will want two or four freestanding cabinets together to form a larger kitchen island, and it has the advantage of providing storage space. If you have old base cabinets, you can repurpose them to serve this purpose as well.
That said, cabinet islands are not as portable as kitchen table or rolling carts. Although not fixed to the floor, they are quite heavy and unwieldy, especially if they are full with stuff. In fact, if the total area of your cabinet island exceeds 2 square feet, it fits the definition of a fixed island. In that case, you may be legally required to put in electrical outlets in it.
Full kitchen islands
The king of the kitchen islands is the full kitchen island, and you have probably seen a number of them featured in design sites and magazines. A full kitchen island is indicated when you have a large kitchen and you entertain a whole lot.
In most cases, it has a second sink, cook top, storage space, and refrigerator. In many cases, it plays host to many small appliances such as a microwave or food processor, so it must include electrical outlets with enough power to supply all these gadgets at the same time.
Most families with a full kitchen island typically designate it as the breakfast and homework area, so it plays a very important role in everyday life. Putting one in may be a serious investment, but the return on investment is very good.
Kitchen islands take many forms, and one is sure to be an excellent choice for your available space, budget, and lifestyle. When considering putting one in that requires some type of professional installation, you want to make sure you do it right the first time. Consult with a reliable remodeling contractor in your area.
Mimosa Kitchen and Bath is just the company you need if you are in Ellicott City, Maryland. We sell only the best products from the top manufacturers and suppliers in the country.
When you contact us for your planned remodel, the first thing we will do is give you a free design consultation and quote, so you are already ahead without spending a dime. We can promise the best customer service, expert fabrication and installation, and speedy execution of any project so that you stay on budget and the project stays on deadline. You will never get that from big box stores.
Contact us today to get a free quote for your kitchen island and other remodeling needs.