Allow adequate countertop space on both sides (left and right) of the kitchen island if a sink or cooktop will be used. Include at least 15 inches of countertop space on each side, and if your kitchen is large enough, allow even more space. You can never have too much countertop space in a kitchen. Also, rounded countertop corners help protect everyone from bad bruises. This is true about all kitchen countertop corners.
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.
Adding an eating area to your kitchen island is a popular option, if you have the space. A raised counter, creating a two tiered island adds useful space to the kitchen while separating the eating surface from the food preparation surface of the island. This type of arrangement is great for families as the children can do homework on the raised surface, while other family members can be preparing a meal. The family can spend time together, yet keep their things separate from each other. The eating area added to an island can add useful space to the kitchen or help to define the kitchen space from other areas of the house.
If you are really stuck on what to do with your kitchen island, then try a nice vase or basket of flowers. Fresh flowers are more appealing than fake ones, but they will need to be replaced every few days. You could also try a nice house plant on the island as well. This is a very simple and easy way to add some color and style to the otherwise bare countertop.
Once you determine that an island will enhance your kitchen design, you have several additional options to consider. You can create another work space by adding a second sink and dishwasher into your island. This will allow a second cook to work in the kitchen or allow you to prepare two separate dishes without contaminating one with the other. The added counter space provided by your kitchen island will allow you easier food preparation by minimizing clutter and stacks of bowls and utensils.
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