For a show-stopping centrepiece look to luxury materials, from deeply veined marble and mottled granites to exotic timber veneers and gleaming mirrored glass or burnished metal. There's a trend towards more textured materials, think raw or rough-sawn wood, honed or flamed stone tops, as well as a contrast of colour or finish between the island and the rest of the kitchen. And don't forget kitchen island lighting – it can turn a good-looking unit into a showstopper of a kitchen centrepiece. Want more design inspiration? Take a look at these showstopping kitchen ideas and our pick of the best kitchen storage ideas Almost all kitchen islands incorporate seating – even the smallest space can usually accommodate an overhang of worktop and a pair of bar stools, although more of us are opting for long kitchen islands with integrated low-level, table-style seating at one end.
U-shaped kitchen floor plan. It's extremely practical, as you can have the cooker and hob at the centre, with sink and fridge at either end of the U to create the perfect working triangle. This layout also provides plenty of workspace, and you can use clever internal fittings to get the most out of the corner cupboards. Design tips With such a large worktop area, a well-chosen surface can really come into its own, so pick something striking. Consider solid-surface materials such as Corian, which can sweep around corners seamlessly.If the room is particularly compact, try to have at least two metres of space in the centre. Small rooms would also benefit from reduced-depth units and worktops, so ask your supplier if this is an option.
The U-shaped kitchen is probably the most practical of kitchen layouts and can provide an additional run of potential storage or appliance space compared with a galley kitchen or L-shaped kitchen. U-shaped kitchens can work in large spaces, but even small kitchens can benefit from a U-shaped design. Just be sure you have at least two metres of moving-around space between the opposite banks of units. The design concept of the ‘golden triangle' is a natural fit with a U shape: when designing your space, keep your fridge, cooker and/or hob and sink between 120cm and 270cm away from each other. This will make for a practical, time-efficient and safe use of your space, something that is harder to achieve in longer, L-shaped or galley kitchens, for example.
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