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.