Get the look... Island Living

This month we are focussing on the amazing transformative qualities of the kitchen island.


Nothing changes the atmosphere and functionality of a kitchen more than a well thought out kitchen island. An island unit can completely transform the way you work and play in the space. A well considered island acts as the perfect link between the kitchen and living or dining areas. So it’s not surprising that a kitchen island unit is at the top of people’s ‘most-wanted’ list when planning a new design scheme. But what makes a great kitchen island?

What design will work best?

A kitchen island should offer dual benefits. A well-planned island should have an outwardly facing ‘work side’ and an inwardly facing ‘play side’. When choosing your island design, focus on how you want to use it and your reasons for wanting an island. 

For example:

Do you want more storage? — Build the unit around cupboards and drawers.

Do you want to create more work surface? — Plan for as deep an island as you can. The extra depth is liberating, especially for managing complicated recipes.

Do you want to create a baking area? — Choose a marble worktop it’s cooler temperature is perfect for pastry making.

Do you want to create a more sociable space? — Then add your cooker to the ‘work’ side of your island and create seating on the ‘play’ side.

The obvious answer is let the style of your kitchen dictate the style of your island, but that is not always the best solution. — Image Credit – Light Locations
The obvious answer is let the style of your kitchen dictate the style of your island, but that is not always the best solution. — Image Credit – DeVol
The obvious answer is let the style of your kitchen dictate the style of your island, but that is not always the best solution. — Image Credit – Light Locations

What style should I go with?

The obvious answer is let the style of your kitchen dictate the style of your island, but that is not always the best solution. Mixing and matching is very on-trend at the moment. A modern kitchen for example might be paired with a minimal island made completely from Carrara marble or the more exuberant Calacatta marble. A traditional shaker might be paired with an island in a similar style but with a contrasting colour. It’s a question of what suits your taste and practicalities. Be bold and brave. An island is a statement so embrace it!

When installing an island in your home consider it an opportunity to be creative with lighting. — Image Credit – DeVol
When installing an island in your home consider it an opportunity to be creative with lighting. — Image Credit – Light Locations
When installing an island in your home consider it an opportunity to be creative with lighting. — Image Credit – DeVol

Centre stage lighting.

When installing an island in your home consider it an opportunity to be creative with lighting. The tried and tested method is three pendant lights directly above, but don’t be afraid to get creative. Adding LED Strips around the bottom of the island can create a floating effect that is both elegant and decorative. Hanging large overhead pendant lights can almost act as a canopy to make the island more intimate.

Venting.

Installing a large extraction unit over the cooker on your island creates a real statement and helps keep smells and smoke to a minimum when socialising. Brands like Falmec offer a wide range of Italian designed extraction units in a selection of materials and finishes that look like beautiful pendant lights. Check out the fan noise before you buy. Some models are quite loud, which is not ideal if you like to talk as you prepare food.

Smaller kitchens.

In a smaller kitchen, try replacing the wall that divides the kitchen and dining space with an island. This opens up the space creating a one larger, more practical space, with a softer visual divide between the two.

Installing a sink in your kitchen island means you don’t have to turn your back on your guests whilst you do the dishes. — Image Credit – Light Locations
Installing a sink in your kitchen island means you don’t have to turn your back on your guests whilst you do the dishes. — Image Credit – Light Locations
Installing a sink in your kitchen island means you don’t have to turn your back on your guests whilst you do the dishes. — Image Credit – Light Locations

Creating a sink station.

Installing a sink in your kitchen island means you don’t have to turn your back on your guests whilst you do the dishes – and our new Shaker 600 would work really well here. The Shaker 600 is a compact 60cm wide (smaller than our Shaker Single, which is 76cm) but still deep and highly practical. A sister to our famous Butler, but with a slightly squarer, more contemporary shape, the Shaker sink blends seamlessly with modern schemes. It would work especially well in an eclectic kitchen design, anchoring the different styles around an iconic sink with a heritage that stretches back to Victorian England.

It is also common to use your island to house a second smaller under-mounted sink for easy access whilst preparing vegetables. The Shaws Square fireclay sink can be either under-mounted or inset into the work surface of an island giving you flexibility within your space.

Adding seating to the ‘play’ side of the island creates a social hub that people naturally gravitate towards. — Image Credit – Light Locations
Adding seating to the ‘play’ side of the island creates a social hub that people naturally gravitate towards. — Image Credit – Light Locations
Adding seating to the ‘play’ side of the island creates a social hub that people naturally gravitate towards. — Image Credit – Light Locations

Sitting Pretty.

Adding seating to the ‘play’ side of the island creates a social hub that people naturally gravitate towards. It’s amazing how adding a few stools transforms an island into a place to ‘pow-wow’ when hosting parties, or for a casual dining space at breakfast. This dual functionality means that the kitchen is no longer a purely functional ‘working space’ that’s isolated from the ‘living spaces’. Islands transform any kitchen into the heart of the home and create a practical hub for family activities. We love the timeless ‘Bum Stool’ by DeVol for its handcrafted elegance.

Whatever approach you take, you’ll find that a well-designed island will not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen, it will revolutionise the way you and your family use the space everyday.