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Get the most out of your kitchen island

Custom dual kitchen islands

Adding or improving an island can make a huge difference in the aesthetics and utility of your kitchen. A well-designed island will allow a smooth workflow and provide space for food preparation, dining and storage.

According to a recent Houzz study, more than half of homeowners are adding or upgrading their kitchen island when they remodel their kitchen.

Whether your existing kitchen has an island or you’re considering adding one, the experienced designers at T.W. Ellis can help you make the most of your kitchen island.

Will an island work for you?

An island won’t work in every kitchen. The National Kitchen & Bath Association [nkba.org] recommends work aisles of at least 42 inches for one cook and 48 inches for multiple cooks around the island. If you need wheelchair access to the island, allow at least 60 inches of clearance.

Once you and your remodeler have determined you have the space, here are some of the best features to include in your new kitchen island or to upgrade the existing one. Work with an experienced remodeler to make sure you don’t make any of these mistakes!

Lighting your kitchen island

With kitchen islands used for everything from cooking to homework, choosing the right lighting can be a challenge. Pendant lighting is the most versatile, especially if you outfit your switches with a dimmer to adjust light levels. Lighting that delivers 30 lumens per square foot should be sufficient for most tasks without being glaringly bright. For the average 3- by 6-foot island (18 square feet) that comes out to about 5,400 lumens. That can be delivered by a single fixture or multiple ones. Obviously, the larger the island, the more lumens and more fixtures required.

Kitchen island cooking options

Many homeowners opt to add cooking appliances to their island. This can be a great way to add cooking capacity or free up some of your countertop space on the main surface. Keep in mind that if you’re adding a cooktop, you should have countertop clearance of 9 to 12 inches around the back and sides of the cooktop to avoid burns. It will also require venting. If it’s an oven, be sure there’s room to open the door without creating a hazard.

Sinks installed in a kitchen island

Prep sinks for washing fruits and vegetables make sense for many islands as they won’t take up as much room as a full kitchen sink. The addition of any sink will raise the cost of the remodel if additional pipes need to be run to the island. Also think about if the size or height of the faucet will get in the way of moving around the island and whether or not the extra sink is worth the loss of countertop space.

Seating & eating around an island

Don’t forget about seating, either. NKBA recommendation is that seats be at least 24 inches wide, with knee depth of 15 inches for a 36-inch-tall island or 12 inches for a 42-inch-tall island. Think about a comfortable seating situation when laying it out. Two people seated next to each other can have an easy conversation. Six lined up like at a bar? Not so much.

Whether it’s your kitchen, a new deck or any place in your Maryland home that needs an upgrade, T.W. Ellis is here to help. Contact us today to discuss your remodeling needs!

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