An island unit has lots to bring to a kitchen design. It can provide extra prep space and form a boundary between the cooking zone and the living/dining area. A shaped island unit can also help direct the flow of traffic away from busy hotspots. Functions aside, the change of pace offered by a kitchen island often encourages a variation in material. You can afford to be braver here with a bolder finish or colour, or perhaps a more expensive material that would be prohibitive across an entire room. An island will define a kitchen, forming a division between dining and living spaces. For this reason, at least the facing part of the island should be in warm and welcoming materials to make a transition from efficient kitchen surfaces.
How do I control the flow of people in a kitchen? The workspace may be crucial, but the movement of people around the kitchen space as a whole also needs careful thought. The main aims are to keep children away from danger spots and stop guests from getting in your way. Look at placing the fridge at the threshold so children can access drinks and snacks without straying into your path. In open-plan spaces, make sure the route through from the entrance to the garden is unobstructed and think about how best to direct your guests to seating areas. An island can act as a useful shield for the cook – position bar stools along the opposite side to give guests a place to perch at a safe distance. ‘in a large space, consider using two islands to create multiple-flow possibilities,' says Graham Barnard, MD of Matrix Kitchens.
Inject refined rustic style into your kitchen with painted wooden cabinetry. In a traditional space, use painted wood to co-ordinate kitchen cabinets with walls and architectural features; in a contemporary scheme, to soften the sharp edges of minimalist design. Go for a mid to deep grey shade, like this one, as it oozes easy elegance and sophistication. Where space isn't an issue an L-shape ending with a central island unit provides informal dining space for the family or a place to chat with friends over coffee. Keep the cooking and kitchen chores tightly together in an L and let the rest of a large room be given over to family life. Add personality and character with quirky signage and curios. Lack of size does not have to mean lack of style.
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