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.
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.
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.
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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