We are often asked if the countertop of the island needs to match the existing kitchen countertop in style, or what will be installed as the main kitchen countertop. In most homes I would say it does match, but it really does not have to at all, nor does the material need to be the same. In fact, if you are not going to match them up exactly it's better if it looks like you are not even trying to match them, so using a completely different color and surface is perfectly acceptable.
Home improvement stores offer lines of cabinets that include kitchen islands, so you can design your entire kitchen to match. Stock cabinets contain drawers, cabinets, and bookshelves that are easy to reach, unlike some of your high cabinets. You can store a host of materials in a small area that used to be nothing but wasted floor space. Of course, you don't want to add such a large kitchen island that you make your kitchen impossible to move around in. After all, the idea of adding a kitchen island cabinet is to make your kitchen more efficient, not create traffic jams.
A kitchen island is not a new concept, since they were known back in the medieval days when knights were bold. They are assuming increasing popularity in today's kitchens, particularly in larger homes where the kitchen is more than just a small cooking area compressed into an area somewhere between the dining room and the garden shed!
Maximize natural light by having windows and skylights, and keep kitchen wall surfaces light in color to reflect daylight. Custom kitchen islands work great by using pendant or recessed fixtures to direct light onto the kitchen island and other work areas. Electrical codes will likely require that electrical outlets be located on the sides of fixed kitchen islands, not on the top, to prevent electrical shock.
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