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Kitchen Island Ideas for Great Custom Kitchen Islands

Use kitchen island ideas to better understand how to create a more functional and comfortable kitchen. Using custom kitchen islands means having the most appropriate island for your home and kitchen area based on your kitchen space and your needs. Kitchen island ideas take us back to the farmhouse kitchen, even back to medieval times when a large worktable was used to do most of the preparation work.

Besides meal preparation, the kitchen can become a gathering area for family and friends if there is enough space. Since so much happens in the kitchen on a regular basis, getting the layout right is important. The kitchen island can serve as an additional eating area, and food preparation can easily be done there. In a large kitchen, the kitchen island can shorten the distances within the working triangle (sink, refrigerator and range or cooktop) and make it more efficient.

Here are kitchen island ideas to consider when planning your kitchen:

1. Kitchen islands work best in larger L, U or G-shape kitchens. If the kitchen is too small, the kitchen island will become an obstruction and hinder easy movement. The best custom kitchen islands for small to midsize kitchens are a portable butcher block or kitchen cart for food prep or extra storage.

2. Include a ventilation hood overhead to eliminate smoke, steam and cooking odors if your kitchen island is going to have a cooktop. The range hood should extend beyond the cooking area by 3 inches or more on the sides for proper ventilation. Using the correct fan size will ensure that removal happens as intended. Have a fan capacity of about 50 cubic feet per minute (cfm) for each square foot of cooktop area.

3. A second kitchen sink can be included on the kitchen island. Use a sink that is deep enough for washing large pots and pans, and consider equipping the kitchen island with a trash compactor, garbage disposal, recycle bin and even a dishwasher. Cleanup will be much easier when these appliances are close by the sink.

4. Allow adequate countertop space on both sides (left and right) of the kitchen island if a sink or cooktop will be used. Include at least 15 inches of countertop space on each side, and if your kitchen is large enough, allow even more space. You can never have too much countertop space in a kitchen. Also, rounded countertop corners help protect everyone from bad bruises -- this is true about all kitchen countertop corners.

5. Additional kitchen island ideas are to consider using shelf space on the sides of your kitchen island for cookbooks, collectibles or storage. A built-in TV works here, especially if it faces the family room. Or a microwave may work well for heating up after-school snacks and cooking foods quickly.

6. Countertop material for the island doesn´t have to match the rest of your kitchen countertops as long as it is harmonious with the room´s overall design. You may want to splurge on solid surfacing here, for example, and use laminate on the other countertops. A butcher-block countertop is ideal for chopping, while granite or marble works well for baking purposes and for rolling pastry dough.

7. Maximize natural light by having windows and skylights, and keep kitchen wall surfaces light in color to reflect daylight. Custom kitchen islands work great by using pendant or recessed fixtures to direct light onto the kitchen island and other work areas. Electrical codes will likely require that electrical outlets be located on the sides of fixed kitchen islands, not on the top, to prevent electrical shock.

Use custom kitchen islands ideas to help you know how to create an attractive area that will perform a variety of useful functions. Designed correctly, kitchen islands will make your work area more functional and efficient and will be enjoyed by everyone for many years. Read as many kitchen island ideas as you can on using an island to improve the functionality and comfort in your kitchen -- after all, your kitchen is most likely the most popular room in the house.

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