Kitchen Island Design Ideas for DIY Enthusiasts


How to Design a Kitchen Island From Start to Finish

Should you hire a professional to design a kitchen island?

Hiring a professional designer is always a smart idea. Homeowners often try to delegate too many responsibilities to contractors and other types of professionals. 

Just as you would not ask your mechanic to detail your vehicle, you should not ask a contractor to design a kitchen island. Contractors may have motives that may not always be in the best interest of the homeowner, which is just one of the reasons you should work with a professional kitchen designer to create the kitchen of your dreams. 

What are the different types of kitchen islands?

If you are looking to complete a full kitchen remodel, one of the first things you may need to consider is the layout of the kitchen and whether or not you want to include an island in the floor plan. 

A kitchen island offers homeowners several benefits. They can provide additional counter space, while allowing you  to integrate more cabinets and storage space into your kitchen. A kitchen island can also provide additional space for cooking, by including a gas range into the island’s design. 

The type of kitchen island that you choose is completely up to your preferences. The only limiting factor that you will need to take into account is figuring out which kitchen island designs work best for the overall shape and size of your kitchen. You will want to make sure you do not choose a kitchen island design that is too large or too awkward of a shape for the space that you have. 

Here are 11 basic kitchen island shapes that you may want to consider when you are in the design stage of your kitchen renovation:

  1. Full island: A full island is a large built-in island that can contain a cooking station and/or a kitchen sink. It could also have seating space, additional counter space for chopping vegetables, and cabinets for storing a wine rack, dishes, or small kitchen appliances. 
  2. Double-tiered island: A double-tiered kitchen island is pretty much the same thing as a full island; , however, there are two different heights of counters. The shorter side of the island typically contains a sink or gas range, while the taller side can provide elevated seating space for dining, working from home, or simply enjoying a cocktail after dinner. The double-tiered island is a good choice for someone who likes to cook and entertain their guests simultaneously. 
  3. Peninsula island: A peninsula- style kitchen island is extremely popular and common for people who may be a little tight on space. A peninsula island is part of a counter that contains an additional perpendicular counter space. The additional space could be used as a breakfast nook or it could contain a kitchen sink with more surface space for cooking. 
  4. Portable island: A portable island has wheels that allow you to move the island around the kitchen as you see fit. The rolling caster wheels then can be locked, to secure it in the desired location. Portable islands are popular because they are affordable and versatile. If you are looking for an island that can create a large amount of additional storage and cabinet space, then you may want to consider a different option. 
  5. Galley island: A galley island is a simple design that is straight and fits well in an open-concept kitchen design. Galley islands also can provide plenty of additional storage and cooking space while offering plenty of seating for dining and entertaining. 
  6. Circular island: A circular-shaped island is one that is not commonly used;, however, when used properly, it can bring an elegant and unique look to your kitchen. Circular islands can be used as a bar when entertaining guests, as a breakfast nook to enjoy a morning cup of coffee, or as additional cooking and food prepping space. 
  7. L-shaped island: L-shaped islands are another common island type. They are popular with homeowners because they can be quite large and they provide all the additional space anyone would ever need. The only downfall is that L-shaped islands do not work with open-concept kitchen designs because they can partially close off a portion of the kitchen. 
  8. U-shaped island: By adding a third counter to an L-shaped kitchen island, you create the U-shaped island. There will be all the same great additional space, but just with a little more room to work with. The third counter can house a kitchen sink or create additional dining space. 
  9. Butcher block island: If you cook a lot, you may enjoy having a butcher block island with a wooden surface at which that you can prepare your meals with. These islands are typically smaller, and they do not provide much additional seating or storage. 
  10. Table island: By adding a table to a smaller island, you create a versatile space that can be used for dining, cooking, or working. 
  11. Base cabinet island: By taking two base cabinets and adding a stone countertop, you can make a simple island that is inexpensive and that contains bonus storage space. 

With whichever island style you choose, remember that you will want to make sure the style you choose is the correct size and shape for the space you have in your home. 

Do kitchen islands increase the value of a home?

Overall, kitchen islands may not give you a 100% return on your investment, and the chances that you make a profit after installing a kitchen island are small. Kitchen islands, however, can help you sell your home by providing a highly desirable design feature. By having a functional kitchen island that can provide additional seating, cooking space, and storage, you may attract more buyers when you decide to sell your home. 

When is a kitchen not suitable for an island?

Anytime there is an island in a kitchen, you will want to make sure that there is at least 42 to 48 -inches of open space on each side of the island. Also, if your kitchen is less than 13-feet wide, you may want to opt for a portable island that is small enough to clutter the entire kitchen. With a portable island, you’ll have the option to move it around to accommodate different occasions and to provide different functions. 

Why do islands improve the functionality of the kitchen?

Kitchen islands improve the functionality of the kitchen by providing a gathering space, additional workspace, and increased storage. Kitchen islands are not only beneficial for functionality, they often become the focal point of any kitchen design layout.

How much do new kitchen islands typically cost?

The total cost for a new kitchen island depends on how many custom design features you add, and which what kind of stone countertops you decide to purchase. A new built-in kitchen island may cost a homeowner anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000. The price can increase drastically if a person opts for custom cabinets, expensive materials, and built-in appliances. 

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