If you have the space, a kitchen island is the perfect combination of practical and ornamental. It gives you extra cabinet space, extra counters for working, and sometimes extra seating.
It also creates a visual focal point where you can show off your countertop. Whether you are adding an island to an existing kitchen layout or adding it to your new kitchen layout, there are a few things you should consider before getting started.
Big Pictures Goals
The most important things to consider before any home improvement project are your big picture goals. What are you hoping to accomplish with the addition of a kitchen island?
Are you more concerned with adding seating for kids or guests or is extra storage space in the kitchen a bigger priority? Will you be counting on the island to provide more working space for food prep or will it serve as more of kitchen table stand-in?
You may just be trying to balance out a disproportionately large empty area in the middle of the kitchen or to create a sense of separation between the living room and kitchen in an open floor plan.
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. The best kitchen design is one that takes your unique lifestyle needs into account. Once you know what the primary functions of your island will be, you can more easily choose an option that both meets those needs while fitting in your overall style.
Size in Relation to the Rest of the Kitchen
Just as even the most expensive designer clothes won’t look good if they don’t fit well, it’s really important to make sure your island is the right size for your kitchen.
You should allow at least 36″ between your island and other counters. Placement of your dishwasher and oven may necessitate more space so that you can easily use them when their doors are open. If you plan to have two adults working in the same aisle, you should consider aiming for 48″ between perimeter and island counters.
A good way to test how much space is comfortable in the kitchen is to cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the planned island, then set it on tall chairs and walk around to see if you’ll have enough space.
If you don’t have enough room for a standard island width (at least 24″), there a few ways to still give yourself some working space in the center of the room. If you can comfortably fit 18″-21″ of counter in the center of your kitchen, then you’ll still be able to add some extra working countertop, but you will have to be creative with your island base.
Custom cabinet or furniture makers can craft you a custom island with legs and open shelves instead of cabinets to fit your dimensions. A piece of granite on top to match your counters, and you are good to go.
A less-expensive alternative is to buy a small two-person table that is at least as high as your counters (standard lower cabinet height is 34 1/2″) and have a small piece of your granite fabricated to fit.
Another option for a size-challenged kitchen is to get a small roll-away island that can be moved if you need to fit a lot of people in the kitchen at one time (during the holidays, for example).
Choosing the Right Cabinet and Granite Colors
Last, but certainly not least, you need to consider the colors and patterns you choose for your island cabinets and your countertops. Whether you are adding to an existing space or starting from scratch, there are a lot of design options.
Will you keep your cabinets and counter consistent across the whole kitchen or will you try to set off the island with a unique granite or cabinet color?
If you have chosen a granite with any significant features (such as a large quartz vein or other bold part of the pattern), you may want to talk to your fabricator about whether it’s possible to cut the stone so that the bold part of the granite ends up on the island, where it will be a visual centerpiece.
A popular option is to choose a more subtle granite on the perimeter counters, such as Absolute Black Granite or Brown Antique Granite, and a bolder exotic stone on the island, like a Delicatus Granite, Calacatta Marble, or Super White Quartzite.
Some choose to keep use the same granite on all counters, but set off the island with a contrasting color on the cabients. For example, you might have black counters on the perimeter cabinets, but white on the island or light white cabinets on the perimeter and a cherry or espresso finish on the island cabinets.
If you are adding an island to your kitchen and you already have granite on the existing counters, we recommend finding a nice complementary or contrasting granite instead of trying to match your stone.
Since granite is a natural stone, you will have trouble finding two slabs at different times that have the same exact pattern and hue. Rather than having two pieces that are a bit off, it’s better to choose intentionally different counters.
Most of the natural stones like granite and quartzite look very beautiful as standalone slabs. Real challenge it to visualize them as fully installed kitchen in your home. You as can always seek the help of your granite fabricator to make a risk free decision.
At Arch City Granite & Marble, we always study the results after the installation of our client’s kitchens. We see the installed countertops ourselves to study the results and we also take the home owners feedback on the installation.
Based on these experiences, we come to pretty reasonable conclusions about what stone matched well and which one was not a great choice.
You do not have to put all the burden on yourself, you can always seek the opinion and advise from your stone fabricators who might have experienced thousands of stone installations.
Stone experts at Arch City Granite & Marble in St. Louis, Missouri will be able to help you in selecting the right stone for your kitchen countertops and able to offer matching stone colors for your kitchen islands.
You can call 314-426-3100 to set up a free and no obligation stone design consultation in the granite showrooms of St. Louis or O’Fallon, Missouri.