What to consider when choosing a kitchen island, with expert advice from Life Kitchens

Topping the kitchen A-list, an island unit is widely reported to be the most frequently requested feature in a new kitchen.

Islands provide eye-catching, versatile additions to any kitchen, however homeowners often find it difficult to know how to incorporate one into their kitchen layout and the different options available. These kitchen island ideas will help you to make that all-important decision.

HOW TO CHOOSE A KITCHEN ISLAND

Head of Retail & Commercial Design at Life Kitchens, Graeme Smith shares with his top tips to consider when choosing the perfect kitchen island.

1. ENSURE THE LAYOUT IS RIGHT

Adding an island to a kitchen is a great way to increase food preparation areas and storage options. However, when looking to incorporate an island to a layout, it is essential to consider the available circulation space. The desired amount of room is approx. 1200mm between fitted cabinetry and the island, but it is important to bear in mind that extra floor space may be needed in areas like the hob that typically experience high-traffic.

How to choose a kitchen island

Luxe Kitchen, from £25,000, Life Kitchens

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2. DO YOU WANT YOUR KITCHEN TO BE FITTED OR FREESTANDING?

Fitted or moveable islands are both functional additions to a kitchen but deciding on what style to go for depends on how multifunctional the kitchen needs to be. A moveable island is valuable to those who need furniture to act as a preparation-based room divider during the day and pushed aside at night to make way for entertaining. Fitted islands are a permanent fixture that prove more functional in larger kitchens with extra floor space.

How to choose a kitchen island

Relaxed Kitchen, from £25,000, Life Kitchens

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3. PRIORITISE LIGHTING

The kitchen island is naturally the focal point of a room, so it is important to choose the right lighting that enhances it practically and aesthetically. Pendant lighting is an elegant addition that will bring an extra layer of interest to the kitchen’s design. The low hanging bulbs will offer extra light for everyday tasks without overwhelming the space. For a more visual effect, plinth lighting can be integrated to add an aspect of drama and luxury to a scheme.

How to choose a kitchen island

Relaxed Kitchen, from £25,000, Life Kitchens

4. MAKE IT MULTIFUNCTIONAL

Islands are a versatile piece of furniture that can be designed to provide maximum efficiency when cooking. Whether it is the addition of a hob, extra built-in storage, an integrated chopping block or a seating area, the island will encourage the kitchen to be a socially connected space that allows meals to be prepared with ease.

How to choose a kitchen island

Refined Kitchen, from £25,000, Life Kitchens

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5. WHICH SURFACE WORKS BEST?

Subject to size, quartz and granite used in their entirety work well to give a seamless finish. Larger islands may require a joint, so there is the opportunity to experiment with the design and choose a complementary material, colour or thickness. Adding timber elements such as chopping blocks to a breakfast bar can be a good way to subtly zone an island whilst also disguising the joints.

Timeless Kitchen, from £25,000, Life Kitchens

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