If your kitchen is too small to install a large kitchen island, then you can purchase a portable island. Kitchen islands on wheels are great because you can bring them out when you need them and store them in a corner or against a wall when you don't. The other advantage of portable kitchen islands is that you do not have to keep them in the kitchen. You can put a table cloth over the top of one and wheel it out into your living or dining room and use it as a serving table for wine, cheese, or appetizers. The shelves underneath make a convenient place to store extra napkins, cups, or toothpicks. All of your party supplies can be within easy reach but out of site.
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.
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.
Include a ventilation hood overhead to eliminate smoke, steam and cooking odors if your kitchen island is going to have a cooktop. The range hood should extend beyond the cooking area by 3 inches or more on the sides for proper ventilation. Using the correct fan size will ensure that removal happens as intended. Have a fan capacity of about 50 cubic feet per minute (cfm) for each square foot of cooktop area.
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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