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Do I Have Room For A Kitchen Island?
In recent decades, kitchens have become the most important rooms in our homes. Known now as the heart of the home, kitchens have transformed from small basic rooms dedicated just to making meals to larger multi-purpose rooms where families gather to socialize and relax as well as cook and eat. Kitchen islands have become a popular feature in modern kitchens, providing an additional workspace for cooking and offering a casual dining spot, but most kitchen islands do require a substantial amount of floor space. If you are considering installing a kitchen island, read on to find out if there is enough space in your kitchen.
How kitchen islands became popular
If we look back at early kitchens, we can see the very earliest forms of kitchen islands in 1800s European kitchens. Whereas most kitchen furniture stood around the edge of the kitchen, a table before the hearth stood more central in the kitchen, taking a prominent position for working in the room. It would be over 100 years until what we recognize now as kitchen islands became popular in the 1950s in the US. Whereas US kitchens had previously been small rooms, during the mid 20th century, Americans wanted their kitchens to be larger, more spacious rooms. Kitchen islands were included in kitchen designs to add an extra workspace and seating/eating area, and the island was often used to separate the kitchen area from the living space in the room.
What can a kitchen island offer a room?
It wasn’t until the 1970s that kitchen islands became really popular. In the 1980s, with advances in technology, it became possible to integrate appliances and cooking equipment into kitchen islands. No longer just an empty workspace, the island became a real focus of the room, including vital kitchen equipment such as stovetops and sinks on the top and housing appliances such as dishwashers underneath. Islands offered a useful and attractive way to fill the space in larger kitchens, linking the cooking and living areas and helping to create a unified multifunctional space.
How big is a kitchen island, and how much room does it require?
Kitchen islands tend to vary in size from very large units that can comfortably seat a whole family for an informal meal to much smaller, more basic units. An average kitchen island usually measures around 4 to 6 feet long and is somewhere in the region of 2 to 3 feet deep. This kind of unit will provide sufficient space for people to sit, eat or work at the island, provide adequate workspace and make a decent-sized focal point for the room. However, for an island of this size, your kitchen would need to be around 12 to 18 feet by 8 to 12 feet in size, but the exact measurements would depend on several factors. You will need to consider the layout of your kitchen, including where your internal and external doorways are, the setup of your kitchen cabinets and other appliances, and the style and function of the island.
Access around the island
Kitchen islands that have integrated cooking equipment do need more floor space as it’s essential to be able to move safely around the island. Think about how you will need to move around comfortably and safely with hot pots and pans in your hands; you need to ensure you have sufficient space to step back and move freely. If the island is housing storage cabinets or a dishwasher, for example, you will also need to consider the space required for the doors to open fully and you will need adequate space to be able to unload the dishwasher and re-stock cabinets.
Not all kitchens are big enough for the larger-style kitchen islands, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out completely as there are other alternatives. Consider small kitchen islands as an alternative to the average or larger-sized islands. A square-shaped island can be considerably smaller yet still look attractive and offer some useful space. Square-shaped islands are particularly effective in smaller, squarer rooms that do not offer the space for longer units. A peninsula is also a good option for those with smaller kitchens. As the name suggests, a peninsula is fixed to the wall on one side but free on the other three sides. It takes up significantly less room than an island as it doesn’t require space all around it, but a peninsula can still provide a useful working/seating/eating area.