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.
If you're planning a larger refit or build, you may also need Planning Permission or Building Regulations approval. Visit the Planning Portal (planningportal.gov.uk) for further information. Often your budget will dictate how much project management is needed. If you're buying off the shelf from a DIY store you'd expect to have to employ and co-ordinate an variety of craftsmen including builders, plumbers and electricians. A number of mid-price kitchen companies provide fitting services but often you'll have to get them to liaise with other trades for work outside their fitting remit. Always check with your kitchen company at the start about which services they can and can't provide. Even many bespoke companies will not undertake first-fit electrics or plumbing so you will have to co-ordinate these elements yourself. Some of the high-end bespoke companies do offer ‘turn key' services, where they will co-ordinate all building plumbing and electrical work but be prepared to pay a premium for this service.
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.
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