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.
Consider lighting options. When planning lighting it's a good idea to make the system quite flexible so you can regulate areas of your kitchen independently. Secondary lighting, such as spots above cooking and preparation areas, is also useful. Consider your kitchen must-haves. Do you long for sleek worktops, a statement island or lots of cupboards for storage? Or are there some specific appliances that you think will make your life in the kitchen much easier? Everybody likes to work in their own particular way and each person has a different list of priorities, so it's important to write yours down right at the beginning to ensure your kitchen is tailored to your family's specific needs. This will also save a lot of time and trouble when it comes to discussing your project with a kitchen specialist.
In a larger room, you might have enough space for an island or a table and chairs at the centre of the U. Or, in a classic kitchen-diner, the third leg of your u-shape could be a peninsula – a long island joined at one end to the wall, between kitchen and dining areas. If your room is open-plan and you spend a lot of time entertaining, you may want to think about having the bulk of your kitchen designed as a u-shaped island, which can then become a real cook's theatre. Or create a G-shape, with a peninsula joined to one of the walls. What is it? A common solution for medium-sized rooms is to run the units round three walls in a U shape. or ultimate efficiency, with everything at your fingertips choose an ultra practical U-shape design.
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