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There's a Workhorse in the Kitchen

 

Kitchen islands have been around forever, but now they're being designed with even the smallest spaces in mind

Kitchen islands are the versatile workhorse of the kitchen. They're a magnet for attracting people but their other jobs include buffet, prep space, and full-scale dining.

The most elaborate islands will be equipped with sinks, stovetops, warming drawers, and other essential (or not) appliances. In larger kitchens, they are behemoths scaled to fill the space in the middle. They're the stopgap between a refrigerator and sink or a stove and dining room table.

Today's kitchen islands are becoming complementary showpieces more than utilitarian matchups with the cabinetry. They're coming out of the woodwork to meet a range of styles and needs. Even better, some are downsized for placement in a small space.

For the most compact areas, too, they are mobile and/or foldable. That means when extra kitchen work and entertaining are anticipated, out comes the island for dicing, slicing, chopping, and presentation. The extra counter space is welcome and because it is mobile, it can function as a caddy/valet/bar/buffet just as easily. When you're done, just roll it out of the way or collapse it and stash.

Most of the mobiles/foldaways are also affordable with a range of options. Some are suited to outdoor entertaining as well.

Styles range from eclectic to country to contemporary to elegant with prices to match. It's even possible to refinish a favorite antique or family table and incorporate it into the kitchen area.

When shopping for a kitchen island, keep in mind the size. You'll need plenty of through space with room to easily access ovens and dishwashers from any angle. Be sure you'll have plenty of entertaining real estate as well. If you decide to create your own island, height is a critical issue. Is it usable when cutting boards are placed on top or will it be too high for good leverage. You can add your own top (see our mosaic mobile island here) along with a good set of durable casters for a personalized look.

Also, the extra storage space is always welcome. This can be as simple as a drawers and cupboard styling or open on one or more sides for display items. Even the foldaways make great storage - you'll be tempted to tuck them into a corner.

If you have been longing for a new look and extra workspace - no matter what the budget - it is time to revisit kitchen island designs.

 

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