Kitchens are the showpiece of the house, where we spend most of our money and time. As result they are often considered the heart of the home.

Islands are most commonly the centrepiece of any kitchen so you can understand why people are so determined to design the kitchen island of their dreams!

However, although islands are a fantastic addition to your kitchen, they can’t just be hastily plonked in. There are a great many factors to take into account before a kitchen island can be considered. Luckily, however, kitchen islands can be customised in a wonderful variety of ways and be personally adapted to suit your home.

Factors To Consider

The first things to asses before considering a kitchen island are:

  • How big is the house?
  • How is the kitchen space currently being used?
  • How many people live in the house?
  • What are dimensions of the kitchen?

Islands come in all shapes and sizes so having a small kitchen doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t find space for one. It largely depends not on the room but how and by whom it is being used. Is it used for cooking, preparing and socialising? Or perhaps just for preparing? Do you have a dining room elsewhere where you eat and socialise? How many people occupy the kitchen at a time? Is it used for breakfast as well as dinner? Would an island overcrowd the kitchen even if its dimensions are plausible?
It is widely suggested that islands should only be considered if one can be placed at a minimum of four feet from the nearest counter. This is generally agreed by experts but the situation is not always so clear cut: There are a great many factors to consider when thinking about installing a kitchen island.

In this blog, we analyse the many options you have.

Customising a Kitchen Island Image 2 - This Is Stone

Surface and Material For Your Island Countertop

One of the first things you need to decide is what materials your island should be made from.

If you already have a dining table most of the eating will be done there, so the kitchen island will likely be a place of preparation. Fixing a butchers block to the top of the island provides an ideal cutting surface and also provides a rustic aesthetic.

Alternatively, you may want it to be more heavy duty. Rock, such as marble and granite, or stainless steel surfaces can be used to provide a practical solution. These types of materials are heat resistant, durable and require less maintenance than wood. However, they are not an ideal cutting surface and you will need to use chopping boards while preparing food.

For smaller kitchens, in which the island will be multi-functional, it is best to find some middle ground. If the island will be used for both preparing food and eating it, it is best to go with a varnished wood top. This makes for both a lovely dining table type surface and a sturdy kitchen counter.

It is also important to consider that kitchen Islands certainly add value to the home but equally so do kitchen countertops. Consider which material is best for the long run.  

Is Seating Possible? Do You Need It?

If you have the space and it suits your kitchen, breakfast bar style seating can be a fantastic addition. Kitchen islands are perfect for grabbing a quick breakfast, whilst dinners or more formal occasions can be held in a dining area. Its also a great place for guests to perch and chat while you prepare dinner, tidy up, brew some coffee, etc.

breakfast bar style seating - This Is Stone

Islands With Wheels: Maneuverability and Versatility

People often think of kitchen islands as blocks: fixed stations of heavy rock or wood that are located smack bang in the middle of the kitchen. This is by no means the case.

Having a kitchen islands on wheels means it can be moved around the kitchen, allowing it to suit a range of purposes. Perhaps it can be moved towards a kitchen counter or a particular place while you are preparing food, only to be moved aside 5 minutes later to make room for a party or other occasion.

It is important to make sure you have wheels with locks on for this sort of island, meaning they can be steady when needed and maneuverable when not.

Adjustable Island Surface Size With a Drop-leaf Top

An island does also not necessarily have to be one set size. Drop-leaf tops are unbelievably helpful for smaller kitchens.

With remarkable versatility, drop-leaf islands offer more surface area wherever you need it. They also tidy away neatly and can be propped up quickly for extra space when all the family come round. The folding portion of the island isn’t always very steady, however, and you should avoid using it for chopping or resting heavy objects. Keep these to the central, more stable part of the island.

Taking Advantage Of The Extra Storage Opportunities

The kitchen is the one room in the house where organisation is absolutely essential. There never seems to be enough storage or work surfaces. Enter the kitchen island…

Incorporating storage into your kitchen island can be wonderfully effective, but whether or not it is the right option for you depends on what other purposes your island is serving.

Extra cupboards and draws within the island can make for excellent areas to store things but they also get in the way of foot space. You need to assess how much room you have and if having extra storage creates a health and safety hazard.

Another option is open shelves. These can provide easy access to crockery, pots and pans, utensils, wine or recipe books and offer a great way of utilising the underspace of the island.

Overhead Space

Installing a kitchen island opens up possibilities above as well as below.

If you decide you want your island to be the location of your cooking hobs you are likely going to need to install an extractor fan above. Another option is a hanging rack: This makes for a great place to store pots and pans while also adding a fantastically authentic look to your kitchen — no more rummaging through cupboards!

Hanging lighting above kitchen islands is another beautiful addition, especially if it will become a frequently used spot — perhaps where the kids go to do their homework. Lighting can also be incorporated into a hanging rack if you can’t decide between the two!


This Is Stone - LogoThis Is Stone are a team of interior designers and stonemasons based in Notting Hill, London.  Boasting over 20 years experience, they pride themselves on delivering unparalleled professionalism and efficiency. Possessing an expert understanding  of  granite, quartz, marble,  and other materials.  

For more information or consultation, This is Stone can be contacted on 0203 816 0449 or emailed at info@thisisstone.com.

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