Place an island ingeniously and it's possible to separate the food preparation zone from an intimate dining area, whilst also preserving that all important open-plan feel. In this fabulously modern space, the creamy cabinetry and luxe hi-gloss textures bring a sense of cohesion to a wonderfully spacious, light and airy kitchen-diner, with colour and design leading the eye past the confines of the interior to the outdoor space beyond. Look closely at this classy, understated kitchen island and you'll discover it serves a multitude of purposes – a place to wash, prep food, with a neat breakfast bar to eat at with tucked-under stools. It has integrated power points so you can plug in any kitchen appliances you need and even sports matching-wood alcove shelving for displaying pottery and books.
Add a worktop overhang to create a breakfast bar seating area, or a stepped-down surface for an informal dining table. To make the design more functional, position ‘working' elements along one side of your island so you don't waste time constantly walking around it. ‘Most people allow 900mm between a wall run of cabinets and an island,' says Nicholas Goldman, MD at Goldman & Rankin. ‘However, it should really be 1,100mm minimum to create a spacious feel, especially if you have more than one cook in the kitchen, so you can move past each other with ease. Get the layout right and you're a long way towards creating your perfect kitchen. Our kitchen island ideas will help you choose the perfect central unit. With the move towards larger, open-plan kitchen extensions, the kitchen island has become an essential feature. It can be long and slim, running parallel to the work area; neat and round in a compact room; or big and broad, housing a sink and appliances.
Be inspired, how you want your kitchen to look is, of course, a very personal choice. It really helps to collect images and magazine tear sheets and put together a scrapbook or mood board. Also, make a note of surfaces, materials or accessories you've seen that work well together. Even something as simple as a pretty plate, tile, piece of furniture or scrap of fabric can be a great starting point for choosing a theme or colours. Don't worry too much about cost at this point, just focus on things that inspire you, and soon you'll be able to identify styles you are drawn to. Consult a kitchen designer. To get the absolute maximum from your space, input from a professional kitchen designer can prove invaluable. Their experience and expertise will offer you plenty of simple ideas – as well as innovative ones – that you might not have even considered.
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