Unless you have an open floor plan or a very large kitchen, an island with cabinets can take over the kitchen. Islands that are open on the bottom leave open visual space while still offering plenty of storage and a significant amount of workspace. So what should you look for?
Make sure it’s strong. The island will be a kitchen workhorse so make sure it can hold up to heavy duty usage. Here’s a favorite example from our Houzz website (a great resource for remodeling and design ideas by the way). It has sturdy legs that can take more then one large appliance, a baking center, or whatever the kids can dish out, with out wobbling or moving.
It doesn’t have to match the cabinetry. Often the island offers a great counterpoint to the other finishes in the kitchen. In this instance, the wood legs contrast with the cabinetry and the marble countertop, adding interest and balance to the overall kitchen design.
You’re not being superficial. When it comes to kitchen islands, surface matters. Look for something that is easy to clean, and functional. If you’re not ready to replace all the cabinetry or match the counter top, there are plenty of options like solid butcher block or stainless steel (to tie in with the appliances).
Size matters. The island needs to leave adequate space to move around to get from stove to fridge to sink and back again. 42 inches of clearance is a good rule of thumb. Any less then that and the kitchen will begin to feel cramped. But consider where it’s going to live. You will still need to move around the dishwasher and oven doors when they’re open.
Make sure the island is well lit. Adequate illumination is important for the task at hand, so think about what the island will be used for, plating, chopping & dicing, another eating area, homework? Windows might be enough during the day but not very helpful at night.
Keeping these important considerations in mind will ensure your end result is not only great looking, but super-functional as well.