Post by Stacey Walker. Stacey mostly works behind the scenes for Walker Woodworking, managing day to day operations, and marketing. Stacey has helped many clients create their dream space.

More than just a Workspace

Kitchen islands are often the focal point in a kitchen and dictate the main flow of traffic. Plus they have grown into more than just a place where dinner is made with some saying it is the main hub of activity in the home. Typically described as a freestanding cabinet and seen as a large countertop with maybe a place to eat dinner on occasion, the kitchen island provides much more. Some designers state that because it can be utilized for a variety of tasks such as storage, buffet, and even house extras such as a dishwasher, stovetop, and sink. The versatility of the island means it brings value to the home with some designers incorporating more than one into the kitchen. Let’s discuss the other benefits of a kitchen island as well as the many functions it is capable of handling.

Extension of the kitchen

Of course this is seen as one of the most obvious functions of the kitchen island, it truly is an extension and can be unified with the design or used as a contrasting piece through different color choices. Designed to work in harmony with your kitchen space, it also creates a pathway through it and makes it easy for several people to be in there at once. Remember that the kitchen tends to be the main hub spot in the home so having that extra space matters. This is also a great perk for morning routines that involve kids needing to eat breakfast and parents who want to fix a cup of coffee or make to-go lunches at the same time. They also give you more counter space to set certain appliances such as the coffee maker or mixer as needed and then neatly stored beneath. Having a kitchen island means you gain extra square footage in your design that can be utilized for a variety of everyday tasks.

Dining table

Seating is an important aspect of kitchen design since we tend to gather here to grab a snack or even a full meal. This is where the kitchen island shines bright since it can be adapted to serve not only as a work space but also as an official dining area. There are several ways to accomplish this such as having the counter extend beyond the island itself which is often the standard, but more homeowners and designers have become creative in their approach. One such project was creating a large t-shaped island that allowed the owners to have the traditional function of an island but also an extension that enabled the family to sit across from each other. Some have also lowered the countertop height so that it is suitable on one end for cooking and prepping but then perfect for sitting down at the other. This is also a great option for those holiday gatherings as well.

Work station

This is considered the other key traditional purpose that comes to mind with a kitchen island. It increases your prep area, allows several people to work at once, and lets you have mini stations set up as you cook. You can have rinsed veggies ready to be chopped on one end and dessert being put together on the other side. Having your sink in the kitchen island also means access to water for easy clean up as well as an ingredient or rinsing food and hands. This large, flat surface is one of the best industrious features in your kitchen plus it is multipurpose too. Serving in this capacity makes a kitchen island almost an essential feature in the home which is why so many designers consider it a standard element in their proposed renovation design and why contractors include it in new home builds.

Buffet and entertainment area

As we mentioned before, kitchen islands work well for an eating area for not just family dinner but gatherings as well but it can do much more. A kitchen island also makes the perfect buffet area for those large celebrations with family and friends. You can easily set out all of the main dishes with plates, napkins, and utensils at the start of the line making the process of grabbing your food a breeze. Depending on the size of your island, there is the possibility of including the drinks and desserts in their own section. This also makes clean up easier since spills can be wiped up and the fear of possible stains on a carpet or rug are minimized. Plus extra glasses and plates are just a step away. Your kitchen island can make your next gathering simpler and more enjoyable and efficient for everyone.

A place of connection

The atmosphere of our home often impacts our ability to connect by creating places where we can gather and converse. The kitchen island is built for connection because it is an open space in the heart of the home where we can pull up a chair and just talk. The kitchen is also a relaxed and comfortable area in the home which is one reason we find ourselves meandering toward it multiple times a day. We can grab a quick snack, enjoy a morning coffee, or just take a break from chores to catch our breath. Creating a place of connection can take intention but it is always worth it. Consider having comfortable seats permanently there and little extras like some napkins and cups within easy reach so that you are always ready for that next conversation with loved ones and friends.

Extra storage

We all know how important storage is in the home but especially in areas like the kitchen which serves a variety of purposes from cooking to housing snacks and cleaning supplies. This is another area where the kitchen island shines as it can house a significant amount of additional cabinets, in fact there is practically no wasted space due to its shape and ease of access on all sides. Many designers enjoy incorporating cabinets with a push latch on the same side as the barstools since it remains hidden but functional. Both sides of the island can be used as a narrow storage area for smaller items such as canned goods, spices, and even sandwich bags. Custom cabinets let you maximize on another level since you can opt for drawers that fit directly under your sink’s plumbing. Working with a designer will ensure that you gain the most out of your kitchen island for all of your specific needs including storage.

More than just a workspace

A kitchen island may have begun as a way to expand the kitchen workspace but over the last few decades it has become so much more. It is a place of connection as we gather together to celebrate and converse with our loved ones, it has given us more capacity for storage, and created a way to host a better party. Having a kitchen island is more than just a pretty focal point in the kitchen, it is also a functional element that benefits everyone in your home so talk to your designer as you prepare for your kitchen transformation.