Bon Appétit: How a Kitchen Island Will Make You a Better Chef

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As the hub of your home, your kitchen holds the secret key to any guest’s heart: food. Whether you need to prepare, cook, or serve food in your kitchen, the task is made easier with the help of an island. If you’re thinking about incorporating an island into your precious kitchen space, consider this:

  • Islands offer easy cleanup
  • Islands offer storage
  • Islands offer prep, cooking, and dining space

If you’re a novice chef looking to master new cooking skills, let your island stand as your culinary helpmate—you will stop worrying about messes and space and devote more attention to the art of cooking. Once you rely on your kitchen’s island, you can count on every guest to rave about your latest dish.

Space

Unless you live in an already-crammed apartment, it’s wise to consider an island addition. Islands are typically two feet deep and four feet long, but require more space for prepping and dining in comfort—do you have room that is at least 10 feet deep and 14 feet long in your kitchen? If not, shy away from incorporating an island into your kitchen until you have the space for it.

Storage

No matter how ritzy or run-down your kitchen is, an island addition helps you utilize space and offers more bang for the buck. Whether you plan on selling now or in the future, most potential home buyers consider a kitchen island as a necessity. The storage space your island offers is a huge selling point for potential homeowners—you can find storage on both the shallow and deeper side of cabinets.

  • Shallow – Usually facing guests, shallow cabinets hold trinkets, dishware, napkins, cutlery, and platters.
  • Deeper – Usually facing the chef, deeper cabinets hold all preparation items , including pots, pans, knives, small appliances, as well as garbage and compost bins. Depending on your island’s size, the deeper cabinets might also hold essential cleanup items, including dish towels and detergent.

Long gone are the days of scurrying frantically from one side of your kitchen to the other rummaging through endless cabinets—the introduction of the kitchen island eliminates hassle and makes for easy, clean, stress-free cooking.

Lighting

When considering a kitchen island, it’s important to consider how you’ll light it. If you intend to become a better chef, appropriate, ample lighting is bound to improve your culinary experience. Most homeowners choose recessed lighting for kitchen islands—the immediate light comes straight down to illuminate the entire island.

Since most bulbs project light outwards, kitchens with higher ceilings (the distance between the ceiling and counter exceeds 6 feet) need specially-designed bulbs to project light down. If you don’t like the look of recessed lighting, consider using pendant lights. Since pendant lights hang from the ceiling, make sure you don’t hang them low enough to get in the way of your culinary pursuits.

Ventilation

Is your island dedicated to cooking? If so, you can’t ignore ventilation. Most cooks understand the importance of ventilation and install a downdraft fan behind the cooktop to reduce the visual problem of bad sight lines (rising steam and smoke tends to get in the way of conversation). If you want to eliminate bad cooking odors, install an exhaust fan on the ceiling and keep your windows open for ventilation.

Height

Cooks generally love having dual-height islands so they can engage their guests while prepping a meal. Have you considered a dual-height island? If not, consider these benefits:

  • It provides an eating area
  • It hides dishes
  • It protects guests against splashing and splattering
  • It adds a flair to the kitchen

Having a dual-height island allows you to make your mess and hide it, for the most part, from your guests. When choosing the height of your island, start with seating.

  • Chair – Choose an island height of 28 – 30 inches
  • Low stool – Choose an island height of 36 inches
  • Bar stool – Choose an island height of 42 – 48 inches

The more comfortable your make your family and guests, the happier they’ll be with your meal. Choose comfortable seating and a suitable height before you prepare to say bon appétit.

Style

Do you dislike the look of kitchen islands, but still want the space and storage it has to offer? Here’s how you can create the illusion of an island-free kitchen:

  • Extend the out-facing side (shallow cabinets) 5 inches above the counter and cover it in same surface material as interior walls.
  • Fashion your island to mimic the rest of your kitchen (choose same cabinet finish from same manufacturer).

Once you’ve performed your island magic, you can keep cooking in style and comfort. Don’t let your culinary dreams go to waste—keep them alive and cooking in the comfort of your own kitchen. It doesn’t take much to incorporate a kitchen island into your kitchen, and once you do, you’re cooking skills will skyrocket.

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