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How to plan a kitchen island | Hammonds

Blue and Oak Handleless Kitchen

Wondering how to design a kitchen island, or how to add storage to a kitchen island? Our guide to all things islands will help you get the best from your design.

How to plan a kitchen island

If you’re looking to make a nuanced addition to your kitchen design, there are few better options than a kitchen island. Providing an additional outlet for both aesthetic and practical use, a kitchen island can take centre stage in your kitchen design in more than just a literal sense.

Below you’ll find a guide on everything you need to know about kitchen islands, their uses and how to stylishly incorporate them into your layout.

What is a kitchen island used for?

Before we get into the uses a kitchen island can offer, it's perhaps best we explain what one is. For the uninitiated, a kitchen island is a freestanding cabinet that is typically positioned in the middle of your kitchen. Installing a kitchen island comes with a variety of potential practical and aesthetic benefits that can be tailored to suit the user accordingly, which has made them extremely popular in modern kitchen designs.

Here are some of the key themes your kitchen island can be used for:

  • Food preparation
  • Dining
  • Socialising and hosting
  • Additional storage

Of course, an island cannot be all of these things at once – although it can potentially be more than one – but the beauty of a kitchen island lies in its versatility to you the user, so is completely malleable to your priorities. Before installing a kitchen island, identify the biggest need(s) within your kitchen right now and use it to define what features you add in ie an additional workspace for expanding cooking possibilities or kitchen stools for a breakfast bar area.

Essentially, you can treat your kitchen island as a blank canvas, and turn it into whatever suits you and your needs best.

How much room do you need for a kitchen island?

You’d be forgiven for assuming that kitchen islands can only work in larger spaces, however that isn’t the case. Kitchen islands can actually work in most kitchen sizes and layouts thanks to being easily customisable in their depth and height. Fundamentally, as long as there is enough clearance around the island to allow for free, comfortable, practical and safe movement around the kitchen, then you should be good to go in terms of adding one to your design.

Of course, an island will take up a notable chunk of what was once open space in your kitchen layout – the question you need to ask yourself when considering your design is whether you’d rather have that open space or the practical benefits of an island in its place.

How to add storage to a kitchen island

If you are looking for some additional storage as a priority, the good news is that you get that from a kitchen island alongside another feature, for example a food prep area or an extra dining spot. That’s because storage options on kitchen islands are incredibly versatile and can be as subtle as you want them to be.

Smart storage features such as mini-larders, integrated bins and push-to-open drawers and cupboards can all be incorporated into the cabinet design without sacrificing space on the surface. Likewise, you can add additional features on top of the island if you wish, for example a wine or knife rack, or another unit that otherwise might not have been afforded space in the rest of your kitchen design.

This adaptability means you can devote as much or as little of your kitchen island as you want to storage.

How to design a kitchen island

The most obvious, simplest and likely sensible design choice to go with on your kitchen island is to keep it consistent with the wider theme of your kitchen, particularly if the rest of the kitchen is already installed. This means using similar materials for the cabinets and worktops to ensure uniformity.

You can, however, utilise your kitchen island as a harmonious feature to the rest of your design rather than a simple extension of it. Consider experimenting with contrasting but complementing colours to create a standout central design feature. Alternatively, or additionally, you can look to incorporate some low hanging lighting over the island – think a collection of pendant lights or similar.

Depending on your approach, you can either make your kitchen island a rank-and-file feature of your already established kitchen design, or the cornerstone of the aesthetic.

How to dress a kitchen island

Kitchen islands are perfect for accessorising with features that accentuate the island’s primary purpose in your kitchen. That means if you’re using it for dining or hosting you could look to add some central ornamental or artistic features, or some recipe books and a chopping board for a food prep area. You can also add more all-purpose items like a fruit bowl or a vase of flowers – again it’s up to you what you want to promote the most with your kitchen island.

So, how do you plan a kitchen island? The good news is: however you want! Because of their versatility and ability to tick numerous boxes at once, a kitchen island is the perfect installation for those looking to add some multi-purpose value to their kitchen design. If we’ve tempted you to consider getting your very own kitchen island, why not book a design visit with us? Our experts will be happy to walk you through the various ways we can incorporate a kitchen island into your space and find a theme and layout that works for you.


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