Space and Design are Important : You need around 3 feet of walking space around the island unit, and you must be sure that the drawers and doors in the cabinets have room to open. If you keep to the 36 inches then you should be OK. The only dimension that must be stated is that of the counter height. Ideally it should be the same as the rest of your kitchen units. If not, then it is not a disaster, but can be disconcerting when you are working on the various surfaces at varying heights.
If you have doubts, you could always ask a professional designer to go over your kitchen space and make a recommendation or, if you want to save money, you could visit friends who have a kitchen islands and make the necessary comparison. Moreover, you can choose for your kitchen island to be in an L, U, or a G shape.
Safety First! You are better off without it if you are using up all the free space in the room. Your kitchen should be spacious and you should never feel restricted in your movement - in fact it can be dangerous if you are. Yes, a kitchen island is good to have, but not if your safety and freedom of movement are compromised to accommodate it.
With all of the new trends in home design, kitchens have become an important part of the family's living and entertaining space. If you don't have the time or money to design your own island, there are many terrific ready-made islands you can order also. Take your time and choose the island that best suits your needs and taste so you are sure to enjoy it for many years to come.
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