Kitchen islands work best in larger L, U or G-shape kitchens. If the kitchen is too small, the kitchen island will become an obstruction and hinder easy movement. The best custom kitchen islands for small to midsize kitchens are a portable butcher block or kitchen cart for food prep or extra storage.
A kitchen island can be a useful item of kitchen furniture, but it must serve a purpose and must not be restrictive. Given these provisos, then it can convert an ordinary kitchen into a room you will love to be in and show off to your friends and neighbors.
If you are looking to do a complete kitchen remodeling for yourself, or for maximum resale value, don't neglect the kitchen island. Once just a place to pull up some stools so the kids could eat before running to the bus, the island and it's function in the kitchen has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years.
Plan the height of your cabinet appropriately. Since most islands will have at least two stools or chairs pulled up to the surface, you may want to think about the seating or stools first. There are two kinds of bar stools with one being much higher than the other. Unless the island will be used primarily for family eating, there really are no hard and fast rules on height. It does not have to match the height of the kitchen cabinet, but often does. If it is not going to match it should be taller in most cases.
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