Remodeling experts will be the first to tell you that a kitchen island comes with many benefits, but the perfect kitchen island is one that checks all the boxes in terms of both function and aesthetics. Today, we’ll walk you through exactly what design elements to include in your kitchen remodel to turn an average island into an extraordinary one.
The Perfect Kitchen Island Includes These 8 Essential Features
#1. Designated Seating Space
Today’s kitchens are a hub of activity for many families. As such, the island plays a central role in the room’s overall function and traffic flow. Having at least some of the island devoted to seating is an absolute must for most kitchen designers. How you anticipate using that seating area, though, will ultimately influence the island’s design.
For example, the perfect kitchen island may include space where children can sit to do homework while someone else is preparing a meal. In this case, bar seating along one edge of the island could be sufficient.
If you anticipate using the island for informal family meals, however, seats opposite each other or seats on two adjacent sides can make mealtime conversation easier. This Dana Point kitchen showcases this idea perfectly.
#2. Customized Storage
One of the essential design features in any kitchen remodel is having plenty of storage. Even if you have plenty of cabinets elsewhere in the room, your island offers yet another space to include more storage. Depending on the island’s size and shape, you may need custom cabinets, drawers, or pull-outs to hold exactly what you want where you want it to be.
Since most kitchen islands are used at least in part for meal preparation, having garbage or recycling pull-outs right in the island itself can be a smart use of the space. Pull-out stands for mixers or other small appliances and slide-out cutting boards are also popular options. Lastly, don’t forget that storage can sometimes be included on both sides of the island if it’s large enough. This is especially useful if a dining table sits across the island from the main work area of the kitchen.
In this Irvine kitchen remodel, storage is on the back side of the island – simply move the stools out of the way and the cabinets can easily be accessed when needed.
#3. Built-In Outlets
Depending on the size of your island, multiple outlets may be required to conform to local building codes. However, at least one outlet is essential. Having easy access to an outlet makes it easy to store small appliances and use them all in the same area. Your kids will also find it helpful if they need to charge their phone, laptop, or other electronic device while sitting at the island to do school work.
#4. Island Refrigeration
While the perfect kitchen island is NOT the place to put a full-size refrigerator, it IS an ideal location for a mini fridge or beverage cooler. When situated correctly inside the space, a second refrigerator, albeit smaller in size, is perfect for housing snacks or drinks that can be accessed without interfering with the kitchen’s normal traffic flow.
For example, picture your dinner guests being able to easily reach inside a beverage cooler for a refreshing drink while you’re wrapping up meal prep on the other side of the island. Drinks can be poured, conversation can be had, and meal prep can continue … all without interruption!
#5. Durable But Stylish Countertop
While remodeling your kitchen can be an exciting time, it’s not something you want to have to do every few years. That’s why we recommend choosing an island countertop material that’s functional (think easy to clean!) and durable so it can stand the test of time and everyday use. Durable doesn’t have to equate to boring or ugly, however. There are a variety of countertop materials on the market today that offer both durability and beauty, the perfect combination for a functional but stylish kitchen that you want to last.
#6. Main or Prep Sink
Depending on your kitchen floor plan, your island may be the perfect place to hold the main sink. If the primary sink is elsewhere, however, consider including a prep sink in your island to help complete your kitchen work triangle. This is especially useful if your refrigerator is located in close proximity to the island. You’ll be able to retrieve fruits and vegetables from the fridge, set them on the island countertop, wash or rinse them, and then prep them as needed … all within a small amount of space and without dripping water on the floor.
#7. Layered Lighting
Lighting is a critical kitchen design feature that can make or break the entire room. The best kitchens utilize a layered lighting approach that includes different types of lighting based on each space’s function. Talk to your kitchen designer about the lighting type that makes the most sense for your island based on how you anticipate it being used.
#8. Stylish Design
Contrary to what many people think, a kitchen island doesn’t have to be a boring, rectangular structure. While many do have a square or rectangular shape, they can be adorned with other design elements that make the island a statement of beauty. In this luxurious Coto de Caza kitchen remodel, for example, the island cabinetry becomes a stunning part of the room’s overall design.
Get the Perfect Kitchen Island With the Orange County Kitchen Remodeling Pros
At Sea Pointe Design & Remodel, we believe you don’t just need the perfect kitchen island … you deserve it! And, our professional kitchen designers know exactly how to make that happen. For over 35 years, we’ve been meeting the remodeling needs of Orange County residents and we’d love to help make your ideal kitchen become a reality, too.
For examples of our work, feel free to browse our online portfolio of completed kitchen projects. Or, for more remodeling inspiration and know-how, register for one of our upcoming remodeling webinars where you’ll learn helpful tips right from our remodeling pros.
Then, when you’re ready to start planning your own remodel, simply give us a call at (949) 861-3400 or fill out the form below to schedule your complimentary design consultation.