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.
Regarding colors and designs, kitchen islands can be made from a number of different materials. The framework is usually wood, but the main visible surfaces could be metal or even stone - granite is a popular substance used for counter tops. Stainless steel is also good, but try to avoid aluminum if possible, because that is very soft and easily cut and scratched, and the metal oxidizes to a dull finish.
The dimensions and placement of your kitchen island will depend on the shape and space available in your kitchen. Professionals say that the island should be positioned at least 36" from existing cabinets and 42" from the range, refrigerator or dishwasher to allow plenty of room for opening doors and easy maneuvering around your workspace area. The height of your kitchen island can vary to suit your individual needs. If you can't make up your mind on that one, a multi-level island might be the solution.
Decide how you will use the island. Before getting the seats, it is important to know how you and your family plan to use the island. If you love entertaining guests who come to your home, you may only need stools for a more casual setting. If you have children and they are going to use the island to do their homework, then you need a lower counter and seating area.
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