How to Design a Kitchen Island for Your Needs

By Luster Custom Homes Posted Friday, August 19th, 2016

The kitchen is often looked upon as the heart of the home. It’s a gathering place. A dining spot. And, the focal point in the home for families to cook together, and so much more. It’s the space our clients get most excited and hands-on in designing. With abundant options and styles, we consistently hear two main concerns that clients are looking to achieve in their new kitchen island. First, that it needs to maximize storage and function, and secondly that it creates an architectural statement. It’s really important when considering a kitchen remodel or new build to work closely with a quality contractor who can help you think through your island’s design and how best it will work for you.

Below, we’ve identified a few of the things you should consider before beginning your island plans.

  • Form or function? Will your kitchen’s island be used mostly for storage, cooking and prep work or for entertaining? Knowing what you want to use your island for will help guide its design, including the size of counter space. For example, if it’s function you’re looking for then you might consider adding a work sink, a dishwasher, or possibly even a butcher-block top or trash compactor. Are you a big baker? Did you know you can create custom drawers that integrate all your baking essentials in one spot? This includes built-in containers for your beloved sugar, flour and other baking needs. Maybe it’s incorporating your fruit and vegetables into easy-to-open basket pantry drawers. The options are endless.
  • Maximizing space. When you work with a contractor, make sure you communicate your needs and what you are looking to achieve. Create an island that is unique to you and your family, with all the right nooks and spaces that integrate your needs. Do you want open shelving or lots of deep cabinetry to store odd size appliances and cookware? Do you need a large work space? A well-designed kitchen island that is not only practical and functional can be a time saver when entertaining or preparing meals.
  • Dining in? If your island is also going to serve as a gathering place or serve as your main seating area, you will want to ensure you have plenty of leg room and the appropriate counter height for matching barstools. All things you need to discuss in advance with your general contractor before you get started.
  • Set the mood with lighting. Lighting frames the center island and should not be an afterthought. No matter how your large your kitchen island and how it will function, ensuring you have the appropriate amount and type of lighting is a must. From recessed lights to statement chandeliers to wall sconces, lighting will set the right mood and can really can add that special touch of elegance or rustic charm you are looking to create.

No doubt the most important part of your island design is how it will fit and enhance the rest of your kitchen. When you meet with a general contractor, make sure to ask for photos of past work and client references to ensure you have a comfort level before embarking on your kitchen island process.