Kitchen islands are not only a wildly popular addition to new living spaces, but they serve as incredibly functional live, work, play areas. They can be great for monitoring the kids as they do their homework, planning your morning over coffee, or entertaining. As a practical way to add a wow factor to your kitchen, it makes sense why their popularity is growing so quickly.

When designing your own island for your kitchen, there are important considerations to factor in so that you get the best use out of your island. Below, we will cover some of the first questions you should be thinking through when designing your island.

1. Do you want seating

Having seating around a kitchen island can be a great way to create a social hub in the kitchen. This is perfect for chatting to someone while you cook, or having the kids sit and do their homework.

If you want seating, this can influence the size and shape of your kitchen island.

The length of the island will be dictated by how many people you would like to be able to seat.

A good general rule to go by is 60cm (24in) per person. This allows for enough elbow room to sit comfortably and not feel like you are on top of the person next to you.

If space is at a premium, you could go a little less at 50cm if you don’t mind getting a bit close, or the seating is primarily for kids.

If you don’t have the space for the number of seats you want all in one row, consider having an L-shaped seating section and using one of the ends to also seat people.

2. Do you need a power supply

The answer is probably “yes.”

Whether for charging phones and tablets while spending time in the kitchen, plugging in laptops while the kids do work, or avoiding extension cords during the active holiday season, it is always better to have more power than less.

You are always going to need power wired into your kitchen island if you are having any larger appliances on or in it. This could include an electric hob, wine cooler, dishwasher, etc.

Aside from needing power for appliances, having sockets on the island to plug in small appliances of charge phones and laptops is a must. You might also want this for your kettle, toaster, espresso machine – any small appliance that migrates onto the island.

You could achieve this in three ways: 1) having pop-up sockets cut into the countertop, 2) having sockets cut into the ends of the island, or 3) tucking sockets underneath the seating overhang section.

3. To sink or not to sink

Having a sink on your kitchen island is another popular option. If you can’t fit both your hob and sink on a wall run, then one of these usually has to go on the island. If you don’t like the thought of the hob or any of the extractor options, then the sink can be the better choice.

Be aware that sometimes the sink can become a bit of a dumping ground for dirty cups and plates. We all do it. So if you’d rather have a nice clean island or just don’t want to see the washing up on there, then this isn’t the best option for you.

Keep in mind that you will need to get your water feed and waste to the island. This means chopping up the floor and plumbing these bits early in the renovation process.

4. What shape are you looking for

Kitchen islands can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, so it is important to think through what will be the best option for your space. When deciding what it could look like, try starting with the shape and size of the kitchen itself. This will dictate not only the size, but also the orientation, curvature, and overall geometry of the island.

That being said, it doesn’t have to match exactly. An L-shaped or curved island can add the wow factor to your kitchen – if you have space.

Just don’t try to squeeze in a large curved island in a rectangular kitchen without the space to walk around.

Another thing to consider is the placement of your doors (internal and external). You’ll need a bit of extra space between these elements and the island to make sure it’s comfortable and appealing to the eye.

5. What type of countertops will you use

The type of countertop you pick for your kitchen island may influence the size and shape you can achieve.

Most stone (quartz/granite) worktops come in slabs of approximately 3m x 1.4m. However, some slabs are jumbo-sized and are available a little larger at around 3.2m x 1.5m, but this is only a selection.

This can limit the size of your kitchen island. Be safe – don’t plan anything bigger than three meters without first checking if the worktop of choice is available in the size required.

If it’s not, you will have to have joint lines in the worktop, which can spoil the look of an island. Ideally, you want to create it out of one clean slab of material.

On the other hand, if you pick an acrylic countertop material such as Corian, you can create whatever size and shape kitchen island you like. Corian countertops can be joined together seamlessly and made into all kinds of curves and shapes.

If you have questions about materials or combinations, please feel free to reach out to the team at Kansas Granite Mart and we can help answer the questions you need to design the perfect island.