Kitchen Island Design Mistakes You Definitely Want to Avoid

In large and small houses alike, kitchen islands have become essential features for adding counter space, storage, dining options and style to what is perhaps the most important room in the home. Kitchen islands come in all sizes and shapes, and their look and function are limited only by the imaginations of the kitchen designer.

However, it is important to note that not all kitchen islands are created equal. If homeowners want their islands to add feng shui value to their kitchens, they need to be careful to avoid the following devastating design mistakes:

Ignoring Proportion With the Rest of the Room

Islands can look attractive and function well in kitchens of any size — as long as the island is in proportion with the size and layout of the space. Islands that are too large will interfere with the practicality of the room, making it much more difficult to cook, clean and enjoy time in the heart of the home. Likewise, islands that are too small for a space will look odd, interrupting the balance of the kitchen’s design. Designers tend to recommend building an island that is no more than 10 percent of the kitchen’s total area.

Neglecting Space to Move Around the Island

The kitchen island might be a dominant design feature, but it is not the only component of a functioning kitchen. Homeowners need to be able to navigate easily around the island to access other countertops, cabinets, appliances and fixtures. What’s more, there needs to be enough space between the island and surrounding features to allow cabinet doors and drawers to open fully. Experts tend to recommend maintaining at least 1 meter of space between the island and any surrounding walls or cabinets.

Minimizing the Seating Space

A breakfast bar is a convenient and cozy addition to a kitchen island that invites family and friends to get comfortable as homeowners cook and clean. However, islands must be designed with the breakfast bar in mind. First, the bar needs to be tall enough and with sufficient overhang to accommodate kitchen island stools and the legs of visitors. Generally, deeper overhangs are better, as they make the breakfast bar more usable for a wider variety of body types.

Forgetting to Define Areas of the Island

Kitchen islands tend to be multipurpose zones where one can socialize, prepare food, cook, wash dishes and more. However, it is a good idea for designers to determine where these different tasks will take place during the design process. This reduces the likelihood of unfortunate overlap in areas, such as a seating zone that is too close to a cooking area and results in discomfort for visitors or a sink that lacks sufficient space for drying dishes.

Overlooking the Importance of Outlets

Modern kitchens rely on electrical appliances to make cooking and cleaning easier and more enjoyable. Therefore, it is important that all kitchen outlets have a sufficient number of electrical outlets to power kitchen gadgets. Individuals must think critically about how many appliances they might need at one time and where they might prefer to use those appliances around the island. Generally, installing more electrical outlets is wise, as it provides extra flexibility in the kitchen.

Disregarding Diverse Lighting

The kitchen is a space that requires many different kinds of lighting. Because homeowners are accomplishing an important task at their kitchen island, they need task lighting that provides bright illumination. However, the rest of the space should feel light and bright, which means ambient lighting matters, as well. Freestanding lights, like countertop lamps, can also add visual interest and warmth in the kitchen. Designers should invest in many different types of lighting around the kitchen island — and each light should be completely controllable, so homeowners can always achieve the right lighting look.

Focusing on Current Island Trends

Kitchen renovations tend to be expensive, and many homeowners cannot afford to complete more than one kitchen update in their lifetime. Thus, it is remarkably important that designers avoid overindulging in passing trends. Instead, designers might take inspiration from the architecture of the home and the aesthetic preferences of the homeowner, which will help the kitchen island remain cohesive with the interior design and attractive in the space for decades to come.


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