“In addition to extra counter and storage space plus more room for seating and dining, a kitchen island can also serve as a statement piece in your kitchen’s design,” said Danni Maddison, a designer with Callen Construction, Inc. in Muskego.
One highly favored option for enhancing the aesthetics of a kitchen island is to incorporate a waterfall edge, where the material of the island’s countertop seamlessly flows along one or both sides of the island at a 90° angle. “This design style creates a lasting impression on your space and really highlights the aesthetic appeal of your countertop material, especially when there is veining present,” said Danni. Since the waterfall edge reaches all the way to the floor, it’s important to also consider how the countertop material will complement the kitchen’s flooring and vice versa. Natural stone, quartz, and wood are popular countertop materials due to their versatility and natural beauty.
Although rectangular shaped kitchen islands are standard, opting for a more unique shape is a sought-after design choice too. For instance, circular or oval shaped kitchen islands are gaining traction in modern kitchen design. “The curved lines are not only considered an intriguing stylish detail, but also better accommodate smaller kitchens as a round island shape generally takes up less room than a traditional rectangular island,” Danni said.
It’s often said the kitchen is the heart of the home, and if the island is typically located in the middle of the kitchen, it is often appropriate to install a kitchen’s key features, including the cooktop, oven, and sink into the island itself. This placement allows the cook to face and entertain friends and family while preparing meals, fostering a more welcoming and social environment. “Not only will this free up space in the rest of the kitchen and enhance flow and efficiency throughout, but it also reinforces the notion that the kitchen island and the cook are the focal points of the space,” she said.
“If you choose to incorporate a large multifunctional kitchen island into your space, then you may want to consider dividing the island into clearly defined zones for enhanced dimension, depth, and functionality,” said Danni. Zone examples include the seating and casual eating space as well as the meal prep and cooking area. Strategic design elements would ensure each zone would be visibly different. In other words, different colors, textures, and countertop materials would be incorporated in the kitchen island to clearly signify each zone.
Speaking of colors and materials, two-tone kitchens remain on-trend and can be easily applied to kitchen islands to further maximize dimension in the space. “For instance, white granite countertops against navy blue cabinetry, or dark walnut cabinets with chrome hardware and a matching chrome faucet are prime examples of high contrast design that creates pleasing visual aesthetics within the space,” Danni said.
Lighting is also key as it serves as the kitchen island’s literal spotlight. “Pendant lighting is an especially desirable option as it can create a unique modern aesthetic,” she said. “It’s also useful to consider different intensities of light for different purposes. For instance, bright task lighting would be ideal for the meal prep and the cooking area, while soft, warm light is more suitable for the informal dining area.”
To achieve a fully modern kitchen, it’s important to also incorporate smart technology. “Although the specific design style and functions of your kitchen island will highly influence the type of technology that can be incorporated, examples include installing hidden outlets for charging phones and other devices, Bluetooth or smart speakers, a touchless faucet, a flat surface stove, and a smart oven,” said Danni.
The usability of a kitchen island is unmatched. Whether you plan to use your kitchen island for added counter or storage space, cooking, entertaining guests or eating, a kitchen island can be custom built for your personal needs and lifestyle. “However you choose to use and construct your kitchen island, it’s sure to make a powerful and lasting impact on the kitchen’s overall design,” Danni said.
For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation to discuss making a design and functionality statement with your kitchen island, call Callen at 414-529-5509 or complete our online submission form.