Bespoke Islands are a great addition to any kitchen and can perform many functions depending on your needs. Of course, there are a few basic rules that you need to follow to ensure you get the best out of yours when you’re planning your luxury kitchen island design.
Firstly, however much you dream of one, if the space just isn’t big enough to fit it comfortably, then it won’t feel nearly as luxurious or lovely as you might have imagined. A good metre of space around an island – to allow you to easily open cupboard and appliance doors, let people pass each other when walking around it and provide comfortable room to push back chairs if you want to include seating – is essential in ensuring it not only looks good but performs well, too.
How you intend to use your island will also dictate the shape, design and what you include in it in the shape of appliances, seating options and an important but often forgotten essential, plenty of plug points.
A place to prepare and cook
If you want your island to function as a preparation and cooking space then you need to plan everything at an early stage to make sure you have all the right plumbing – if you want a prep sink – and electrics for ovens, hobs, extraction and even wine fridges. This not only includes what might need to be done in terms of plumbing and electrics for the floor but also space for ducts above if you’re planning to install a ceiling extractor.
It’s very easy to plan in a super-duper flush ceiling extractor, only to find there’s not enough space or beans blocking the way to fit in the right size ducting. Don’t be tempted to overcrowd your island either, leaving space between each function to ensure more than one person can work comfortably at a time if necessary – always helpful at Christmas time for instance.
If your island faces towards a kitchen diner, then place the hob on the working kitchen side and keep all appliances such as ovens and dishwashers on the same side so the cooking area is contained. A prep sink is always a good addition but make sure it’s not so small it performs no real useful function. You need somewhere to pop things that need cleaning a t a later date as well as somewhere to was veg and fruit before you prepare it.
If you’re planning a seating area on the facing side for children to eat or guests to sit then an induction hob might be a safer choice than a gas one, as with no naked flame, there’s less chance of accidental injury.
A Place to gather
A multi-functional island doesn’t have to be one that’s packed full of kit. Somewhere just to sit and be with family and friends is a great use of an island. If you’re after a relaxed seating area for casual meals, then consider a smaller island base with a worksurface overhang on one or more sides so people can sit at it comfortably. An island with a lower surface attached that serves as a small dining table is also a solution but, in the same way as you would check bar stools sit neatly against an island, make sure that there’s plenty of room for people to sit back from the table comfortably without obstructing walkways.
A place to work
Kitchens are becoming such social spaces now, that it’s often at the heart of the home and at the heart of that sits the island. With so many of us using phones, tablets and computers not just for work but for keeping up with social media, modern island design needs to take that into account. Adding plenty of plug sockets with integral USB chargers for instance. A clever way to keep unsightly leads and electrics out of sight is to conceal sockets inside dedicated drawers or cupboards, which are designed specifically to hold tablets and phones while they are charging or, if you prefer, worksurfaces that include integrated wireless charging points.
A place to store
While an island will aid in compartmentalising a kitchen diner, using it for storage will also help increase its functionality. Think about where it is in relation to your dining table and plan in plenty of storage on the side facing out from the cooking zone to ensure you have linen, glassware and china to hand when you’re laying a table. A kitchen that’s been built for entertaining will benefit from a drinks cupboard or wine fridge where guests can help themselves without hampering movement in the prep and cooking area of the kitchen. If the island is used regularly for children to sit at, then drawers holding board games, or for homework paraphernalia will ensure it’s easy for them to tidy up after themselves – always a bonus.