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.
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.
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.
A second kitchen sink can be included on the kitchen island. Use a sink that is deep enough for washing large pots and pans, and consider equipping the kitchen island with a trash compactor, garbage disposal, recycle bin and even a dishwasher. Cleanup will be much easier when these appliances are close by the sink.
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