Importance of a Kitchen Island and How to Make the Most of it

A wooden kitchen with island overlooking a leafy garden

Nordic Nature Kitchen with island from Magnet Kitchens

Kitchens are the heart of a home, which is why, according to a report by Houzz, they are both the most popular interior room to be upgraded and the room that commanded the highest spend at £12,000. The kitchen is so much more than somewhere to simply cook food; it also functions as a gathering place, workstation, and entertaining space. Many people don’t realise how important kitchen design is until they start hosting dinner parties on a regular basis.

A baby pink kitchen island with marble work top  and herringbone floor

Contour Baker Miller pink kitchen from Wren Kitchens

The design of a kitchen is a reflection of the personality and lifestyle of its owner. There are many different styles and designs, but one addition that is becoming increasingly popular among homeowners of both modern and traditional properties is a well-placed kitchen island. So why is the kitchen island so popular in today’s kitchens? What makes it so special? Keep reading to learn more about the kitchen island unit and how to make the most of it.

What is a Kitchen Island?

A navy blue kitchen with a plywood kitchen island and yellow bar stools

Bulawayo kitchen with Island from Wood Works Brighton

Kitchen islands are freestanding cabinet units placed in the centre of the kitchen. They can be made from granite, wood, concrete, or any other durable and attractive material. The main reason to have a kitchen island is to make more efficient use of the space by creating more work and storage space. The unit creates an additional work surface area where items placed on it can be easily accessed while cooking or cleaning.

Many people also choose to use an island as a “workstation” where children can do their homework and read while you are cooking dinner or doing other household chores. A kitchen island can also serve as extra seating when entertaining if you have stools included in your island design.

The Increase in Popularity of the Kitchen Island

A wooden kitchen island housing double oven, hob and sink

Cucina Colore Kitchen with Futura Feature Island from Mereway Kitchens

The popularity of kitchen islands has increased a lot in the last decade. According to the 2022 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, more than half of renovating homeowners (57%) either upgrade or add an island.

Islands make your kitchen more functional and efficient as well as aesthetically appealing, so it’s no wonder that so many people choose to add or update them when renovating a kitchen.

Furthermore, kitchen islands are getting longer. Nearly two in five islands are more than seven feet long, a
significant increase from 2021. This could be due to the fact that we saw so many lifestyle changes due to the pandemic.

Why is the Kitchen Island So Important?

A navy blue kitchen with kitchen island, vaulted ceiling and exposed brick wall

Masterclass Ex-Display kitchen from Used Kitchen Exchange installed in a self-build

The kitchen island unit is made for convenience, so it has several functions that will be very useful in your everyday life.

First of all, the kitchen island unit is a perfect tool for adding counter space to a smaller kitchen. This is especially true if you are short on space and need to maximize every inch of the room. An island can double your countertop space which can be used as a handy food preparation station. But kitchen islands are becoming increasingly important for activities other than cooking.

Bespoke handmade painted kitchen by Murdoch Troon

Your Kitchen’s Heart

Your kitchen island is the heart of your home because most daily activities happen around it. The island provides a foundation for your kitchen, and it also serves as a reflection of who you are as an individual. The size, design, and overall look of the island can be adjusted to complement your home’s interior style. It’s a piece that will reflect the personality of its owner, so think about its placement carefully when building or remodelling a new kitchen.

More Storage

Kitchen islands provide much-needed storage space in any household that uses them. Whether you need extra storage for your pots, pans, dishes, and utensils, or you want an area to keep your recycling, a kitchen island is an ideal spot for such items.

Bespoke handmade painted kitchen by Murdoch Troon

A Gathering Place

Kitchen islands are often used as a place where guests can spend their time while visiting. They provide a place where people can sit comfortably with stools and mingle while watching TV or preparing food together. This layout can be especially useful in households with small children who don’t like to sit on the couch alone if they have other family members at home.

A Workstation

An island can also serve as a functional working space for doing homework or other tasks that require flexibility and movement. If you have a lot of extra space in the kitchen, it’s the best place to create a comfortable workstation.

The 2022 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study found that doing work is the top activity at the island for 1 in 5 renovating homeowners (20%), up by 4 percentage points from 2021. This is obviously due to pandemic-related changes in work arrangements.

An Entertaining Space

The Houzz study also found that more than half of renovating homeowners (52%) use the kitchen island primarily for entertaining, and nearly half (44%) use it primarily for socializing. If you often host parties in your home, an island provides extra seating for your guests. People can sit around it and chat with each other while eating or drinking.

A black shaker style kitchen island with wine rack.

Battersea Dark Shaker Island from Brayer Design

The Bottom Line

Kitchen islands have several functions, making them an important part of any well-designed kitchen. The higher price tag compared to standard kitchen cabinets is justified by an island’s convenience and extra functionality but also the materials used for a quality design and fit.

As you can see, the popularity of kitchen islands is growing, and it’s easy to understand why. They are great additions to any modern or traditional kitchen design because they provide more storage space while increasing the room’s aesthetic appeal. If you want your home to look beautiful and functional at the same time, then a kitchen island is definitely something worth considering when designing your dream kitchen.

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