Deco&Design - panels

Kitchen island

Those interested in kitchen design know that the kitchen island is useful and versatile. It can act as a kitchen table, a storage space, a dividing boundary between spaces or a favourite spot for breakfast or a glass of wine. For many of us the idea kitchen design other than the classic way is always linked to space, to a large house with a kitchen to match. This is not always the case. Even smaller kitchens can have islands, the important thing is to find the best solution to be useful, not cluttering.

How to make the kitchen island useful and clutter-free

The island is the central place you can easily reach from any part of the kitchen and enhances its functionality. No matter how small it is it can give you several advantages:

  • creates extra space you can use when cooking
  • can be used as a table, bar or place for a quick breakfast
  • create storage spaces extra which, isn't it, are never enough
  • can delimit spaces in a kitchen open to the living room
Some useful tips if you are thinking of making the island as a DIY project

If you decide to set up such a place that is also a storage space, you may find the following information useful. If you want to use it as a table, don't forget that your knees need space when you sit down and drawers and storage spaces can get in the way. That's why the top of the table should have a minimum edge of 15 cm outside the supporting structure. That way you can sit comfortably at the table without having to reach into the cupboard with your feet.

If you choose to have a wooden countertop,Dippanelscan offer you the solution. They have panels in various woods (cherry, fir, ash, beech), as well as the 'Vintage' oak version which highlights the authenticity of the wood (knots, cracks, staining). In addition they have the option of customization which allows you to have your countertop in the shape and size you want.

kitchen island

Here's another piece of information you may find useful. To be comfortable at the table a person needs a 60 cm wide space. Basically, 60 cm of the side parallel to you must be yours. This is ideally the case. When this condition cannot be met, you should be aware that under 40 cm the space becomes uncomfortable, and on a side less than 80 cm it is difficult for two people to sit comfortably at the table.

As well as moving freely around it, if the island is fixed you should not obstruct access to other objects in the room. Cabinets, drawers and appliances around it must have room to open. When designing the island, remember to leave a space of between 80 cm and 100 cm around it. If you don't have it then consider a movable island.

kitchen island
photo source:
Ideas for an island in the kitchen

When the kitchen is small, the spaces to create an island are not exactly handy. That's why you can sometimes resort to subterfuge to create it: a cupboard on wheels that can be hidden under a worktop, a wooden board attached to the wall that only comes down when you need it, an extension in L of the existing countertop, an arrangement that acts as a partition.

1. Partition wall

I think this is the most common way to design an island. The kitchen is no longer separated from the living room by a wall but by an island that can be used as both storage space and a table. To make the separation as clear as possible, it is best to build the island higher, like a bar table, with the chairs also being bar stools. Construct a dark cabinet that blocks light from passing through for a clear dividing wall feel.

Of course, such a space should have a very good hood over the stove to prevent as much as possible the spread of smell everywhere. Don't rely on windows alone, they're not enough to eliminate the smell. It needs to be vacuumed up.

When choosing the countertop to put on top, think of something that can go with your living room furniture. Wood is a great choice for its warmth and beauty, not just visually but also to the touch. A wood countertop makes you want to lay your hands on it and doesn't feel cold like a stone countertop. With the wooden worktops oak, ash, cherry, beech or antiqued oak,which exist and can be purchased very simply, it will not be difficult to find the optimal solution for such an arrangement.

kitchen island
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2. Island on wheels

The easiest way for a small kitchen is to set up a multi-functional unit on wheels so that it can be moved around when the space gets too small and cramped. There are plenty of possibilities for making such an island:

  • a cupboard that can fit under an existing worktop, fitted with castors and replaced with a wooden worktop on top;
  • an old piece of furniture that can be reused in this way. The most suitable are cupboards with lots of drawers, this way you also get lots of storage space. The cabinet is fitted with castors and a sturdy granite, wood or melamine chipboard top.
  • A good solution may also be a table on wheels similar to those used in restaurants to bring different dishes. I don't know what they call it now, but the old waiters used to call it gheridon. Topped with a countertop it can become the perfect island.
kitchen island
photo source:
kitchen island
photo source:
3. Minimalist furnishings

There are situations when a kitchen island just can't be fitted because of lack of space. As much as we would like it, the cramped space won't even accept a cupboard on wheels. And yet there are solutions for such places. A wooden countertop Wall hanging which, when lowered, rests on the cupboard opposite can be the table you need at breakfast.

Another idea might be a footed countertop, similar to an ironing board, attached to the inside of a cabinet door. When you need to improvise a kitchen table you open the cupboard and the inner board will hold the table.

kitchen island
photo source:
kitchen island
photo source:

Sometimes to furnish your kitchen the way you want wood can be the solution. A thick butcher's countertop or a thick modern with built-in sockets and accessories can make the kitchen island a favourite place for family and friends.


About the author

Mihaela Radu

Mihaela Radu is a chemical engineer but has a great passion for wood. She has been working in the field for more than 20 years, wood finishing being what defined her during this period. She gained experience working in a research institute, in her own company, as well as in a multinational. She wants to continuously share her experience with those who have the same passion - and more.

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