Another alternative is to have a custom island designed just for your needs. Kitchen design experts can help you come up with an island that will fit perfectly into your space and also have all of the components you really want to have. You can add a cooktop, a sink, or even a built-in microwave oven which can free up a lot of your counter space. Both a cooktop and a sink built into an island can help the cook become more a part of the festivities when you're entertaining if the island is used as a room divider between the kitchen and other living spaces.
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.
Countertop material for the island doesn't have to match the rest of your kitchen countertops as long as it is harmonious with the room's overall design. You may want to splurge on solid surfacing here, for example, and use laminate on the other countertops. A butcher-block countertop is ideal for chopping, while granite or marble works well for baking purposes and for rolling pastry dough.
If you have a big island that can accommodate many people, consider using full benches. The benches can be with or without backing to allow for more comfortable seating.
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