Kitchen Islands are extremely beneficial in a modern kitchen. With a well-thought-out, quality island in your kitchen, you can gain additional storage, more seating for eating and hanging out, another sink, or more surfaces to cook on! If you are looking to build a kitchen island, you will first want to ensure it works with your kitchen layout regarding navigation and workflow. An island this is too large or provides an obstacle for you when you are cooking or baking can be a bad investment and a pain for you and anyone you might sell your house to down the road.
When you think of a kitchen island, the first thing that pops into your head is probably a rectangular granite countertop with kitchen cabinets underneath it that match the cabinets that line the perimeter of the kitchen. Just as you can have different layouts for a kitchen without an island, there are other variations in kitchen island shape and style that you can explore that other Pittsburgh homeowners have installed in their kitchens. If you want to make a statement in your kitchen and go against the norm, here are some kitchen island design ideas that you may not see as much and the most common kitchen island you will see in a home. Take a look at these options and use them for inspiration in your kitchen remodeling project, or use the idea directly!
Let’s start with a style of kitchen cabinets that is less common. Circular kitchen islands are great opportunities to include more seating and keep it separate from the working area. You also don’t have to have a full circle. You can do a half circle with a sink or other appliance on the flat side or even have a thermometer-shaped island with a circular end and a rectangular main surface. If you have other rounded elements in your kitchen, this is a great way to introduce continuity for a slick overall kitchen design.
Circular islands will stand out and be a welcome addition to any kitchen island that can accommodate them. A circular island can often accommodate more seating with the added benefit that guests or family that sit there can all face each other for a better-flowing conversation that doesn’t involve putting stress on their necks, moving back and forth from their plate to the person they are talking to. This option is unique and functional, but it does have its drawbacks.
The bends and curves on a circular island may make it a bit more difficult to efficiently utilize all of the space underneath the countertop for storage purposes. To effectively maximize storage space, you may need to have rounded kitchen doors or have a more significant overhang on the countertop and keep your cabinets rectangular. If your kitchen has no other round, organic elements, a circular kitchen island may stand out in a less-than-desirable way.
U-shaped kitchen islands offer a lot of space and can be a faceted geometric U-shape or even a rounded U-shape, depending on the rest of your kitchen’s layout. If you have an L-shaped or U-shaped kitchen cabinet layout, a geometric U-shaped island can be functional and fashionable, with a sink in the middle surrounded by cabinets and bar stools to seat family and guests. If you have the concave side of the U on the same side as the cabinets on the walls, you can have a great walled-off area, free of traffic. If the concave side is opposite the rest of your cabinets, most space will go to the people not preparing the meal. It all depends on your needs!
This shape of kitchen island is typically large in size, and offers great flexibility. If you have a large kitchen with an existing island that you want to change or simply a wide open space with a table and chairs in the middle. This could work for you. From tons of extra storage space and room for more appliances to a potentially optimized workflow, this option leaves little to be desired. Depending on where your kitchen’s entrances are, you can keep through traffic away from the kitchen working area, and have everything you need to prep your meals a couple steps away, in an order that makes sense.
Since U-shaped kitchen islands take up quite a bit of space but offer so many other benefits, many homeowners may be tempted and even give into the temptation to try to stuff one into a kitchen that isn’t big enough. If there isn’t adequate elbow room or enough space for two average-sized people to walk next to each other on the outside, things can get a bit cramped. Even if only one person needs to be in the kitchen regularly, the holidays and large gatherings often need to accommodate more than one cook.
Since there are extra corners on a U-shaped kitchen island, you may have to think creatively to maximize the space and retain access to all of your cabinet surface area. You could have these become lazy susans or cutouts for more legroom on the other side, the choice is yours, but it is certainly something to consider.
Galley-style kitchen islands are the standard island type, but they still have many possible variations.
Just because a galley-style kitchen island is more straightforward in nature does not mean it is limited by style options. You can apply endless personal touches to make it your own and suit your needs in the kitchen. Galley-style kitchen islands have only four corners and are more efficient with storage space, ensuring that space is not wasted. Appliances installed in larger versions this kitchen island type are easily accessible, and walkways are straightforward.
In most kitchens, the galley-style island is smaller and may not be able to accommodate some larger appliances. These kitchen islands are also often considered uninteresting to people with specific tastes who want to get ahead of the Joneses, but in the end it comes down to how creative you are, and how your kitchen is laid out.
L-shaped kitchen islands take up less of your kitchen than U-shaped ones but are still space hungry. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and disadvantages of this kitchen island shape.
This type of kitchen island offers more than the standard rectangle and is best utilized with the right angle being parallel to the cabinets in an L-shaped kitchen. This grants adequate walking space on both sides without having more than is needed in the prep area, granted your kitchen is large enough. This style easily permits multiple people to work in the prep area simultaneously, as they each have a leg of the kitchen island to themselves.
The corner on the outside of the 90-degree angle on an L-shaped kitchen island can be a limiting factor regarding space maximization. If you have enough space in the room, you can indent this a bit and put a sink there, but cabinet space will be awkward and not as useful. You could even put shelves there, but regardless of your choice, the corner is in the middle, and if space is tight and someone is using this area, you will have to walk around the outside or wait, and as anyone who has worked in a kitchen knows, limiting steps is key.