Kitchen islands - Top ideas
With the move towards larger, open-plan kitchens, the island has become an essential feature. It might be long and slim, running parallel to the work area; neat and round in a compact room; or big and broad, housing a sink and appliances. From a functional perspective, it provides extra prep space and forms a boundary between the cooking zone and the living/dining area. A shaped unit can also help direct the flow of traffic away from busy hotspots.
Almost all islands incorporate seating — even the smallest space can usually accommodate an overhang of worktop and a pair of bar stools, although more of us are opting for long islands with integrated low-level, table-style seating at one end. Functions aside, the change of pace offered by an island often encourages a variation in material. You can afford to be braver here with a bolder finish or colour, or perhaps a more expensive material that would be prohibitive across an entire room. ‘An island tends to define the kitchen, forming a division between the dining and living space,’ says Laurence Pidgeon, director at Laurence Pidgeon. ‘For this reason, at least the facing part of the island should be in warm and welcoming materials to make a transition from efficient kitchen surfaces.’
For a show-stopping centrepiece, look to luxury materials, from deeply veined marble and mottled granites to exotic timber veneers and gleaming mirrored glass or burnished metal. ‘There’s a trend towards more textured materials — think raw or rough-sawn wood, honed or flamed stone tops — as well as a contrast of colour or finish between the island and the rest of the kitchen,’ reveals Laurence.
For inspiration, take a look through the gallery of some of our favourite islands units...