How to integrate a kitchen island
Does the aroma of fresh baking exert a magical pull over you? It’s no coincidence that the kitchen is seen as the heart of family life. A kitchen island is a fantastic gathering place for old and young alike. Not only does it create additional worktop space, but it is also accessible from several sides. It’s the perfect place for everyone who wants to create and enjoy delicious dishes together. Kitchen islands work beautifully in open-plan living concepts, which are becoming increasingly popular. The challenge is combining functionality and feel-good ambience to great effect.
Which kitchen type are you?
What should you be aware of when planning your space?
- How much space do you have available?
- Which windows, doors and supporting beams need to be taken into account when planning?
What type of cook are you?
- Do you tend to cook alone, or together with family and friends?
- Do you like preparing fresh fruit and vegetables?
- Do you like cooking elaborate feasts, or prefer to whip up something fast?
How much storage space do you need?
- How often do you go shopping?
- Do you need extra space for pantry supplies, frozen food and drinks?
- How much storage space do you need for pots, pans and other cooking utensils?
Have you got an answer for all of these questions? Then you can proceed with your planning and decide upon one of the following four classic kitchen shapes.
The top four kitchen shapes
The classic galley kitchen: the I-kitchen
I-kitchens consist of one or two lines of kitchen units, whereby the second row can work well as a room divider or cooking island. This creates more worktop space. When planning, be sure to leave enough space between the two rows of kitchen units, so that two or more people can work comfortably together here. Take a minimum distance of 120 centimetres as your starting point. This kitchen shape is particularly suitable for small rooms and open-plan living.
Key points about I-kitchens
- Ideal for very small spaces
- The second set of kitchen units can be used as a cooking island
- Plan in a minimum distance of 1.2 metres between the lines of kitchen units
- For kitchens eight square metres and over
- Do you have your own apartment, but still like to cook with friends every now and again?
Then this kitchen shape is the right one for you.
An all-rounder with lots of scope: the L-kitchen
L-kitchens are a space-saving solution that allow an open living concept with lots of room for movement, even in small spaces. They consist of two kitchen units arranged at right angles to one another. The two kitchen units can either run along the wall, or one can protrude into the room. If space is at a premium, this configuration may be a good alternative to the somewhat more space-intensive free-standing kitchen island, to create a practical transition from open kitchen to living area. L-kitchens are highly functional due to their compact corner design. Here, the five most important working areas within the kitchen – for preparing food, cooking, serving up, disposing of waste and washing dishes – are simply configured around the corner.
- Ideal for small spaces
- Flexible space planning possible
- Space-saving and ergonomic
- For kitchens eight square metres and over
- Do you need more storage space? Plan in space-saving corner unit features, such as a turntable.
The classic space concept: the U-kitchen
In the classic U-shaped kitchen, the three kitchen units are located on three adjoining walls. You should therefore plan in at least 15 square metres of space, with a minimum recommended distance of 1.20 metres between the opposite kitchen units. U-kitchens work particularly well if several people in your household like to cook on a regular basis. It offers more worktop space than a simply L-kitchen. To make the overall effect a bit more relaxed, you should attach high cabinets to only one or a maximum of two sides, if possible. In general, be careful not to overload the walls, which can make the room look rather oppressive. Of course, even with this type of kitchen, you could choose to have one of the side units protruding into the room. This serves as an appealing room divider – with or without a sink – and makes a great alternative to a free-standing kitchen island. Having a countertop allows you to conjure up an inviting bar.
Key points about U-kitchens
- A practical shape for classic kitchen spaces
- Ideal for multi-person households with several members who like to cook
- Lots of worktop space without the need to walk far
- For kitchens 15 square metres and over
- Do you fancy a full-blown feel-good kitchen?
Then keep your high cabinets light and airy.
Perfect for the hustle and bustle of family life: the G-kitchen
Do you have lots of space and a big family? Then a spacious G-shaped kitchen is just what you need. A G-shaped kitchen is essentially a U-kitchen with an additional, shorter kitchen unit on the open side. This is often referred to as a peninsula, as it is accessible on three sides. You can set up a kitchen island with a sink or a stylish bar counter here. This type of kitchen is particularly suitable for large, open spaces. As you need lots of space, you’ll probably also have a window-facing space. You can use Window-facing kitchen mixer taps to create a wonderful sink station with a view.
Key points about G-kitchens
- Spacious kitchen design for open-plan living
- Particularly suitable for large families
- Lots of room – and not just for cooking
- Only suitable for very large rooms (from 15 square metres)
- Do you cook often? Pay attention to functionality – in other words,
make sure that the distance between the working areas isn’t too large.
The kitchen island as a gathering place
Many modern layouts are no longer based on a closed kitchen, but rather an open-plan concept. In this case, a kitchen island can serve as a visual demarcation of the kitchen and living areas. This can be deployed in addition to the kitchen shape to fit your space, depending on the available space and your taste and needs. Do you see cooking as a collaborative effort? Then a kitchen island is just what you need. The beauty of an open-plan concept with an island unit is that the chefs and kitchen assistant are still actively involved in family life. The kitchen island becomes a social hub – a place for everyone to gather. You can chop ingredients, cook and have a laugh together, all within view of the rest of the family, who may be sitting at the table already or making themselves comfortable on the sofa.
A kitchen island also offers additional storage space
Do you need extra storage space for your provisions? Or maybe your like to use all sorts of kitchen appliances, like blenders, air fryers, food processors and a coffee machine, but don’t want them cluttering up your worktop? In that case, a kitchen island makes the ideal storage space for the kind of appliances that you don’t use every day. But don’t forget to plan in the right number of sockets on your island unit. This means that you won’t have to carry appliances across the kitchen, but can simply lift them out of the cabinet and onto the kitchen island. Perhaps you’d like a wine rack on one side of the kitchen island? Not only does this make an eye-catching feature, but it’s also practical if you want to use the new central focus of your kitchen as a bar counter, too.
The perfect workstation: a cooking island with a sink
Do you like cooking from scratch on a regular basis, and usually as a team? Then an island unit with a sink is just what you need. As a kitchen island is accessible on all four sides, you can prepare wonderful multi-course meals with friends and family here. While one person washes the fresh ingredients, another can get to work peeling, chopping and getting everything ready to go in the cooking pot.
Unobtrusively integrated: an undermount sink
Do you want something practical and unobtrusive? Then you should opt for an undermount sink for your kitchen island. As the name indicates, undermount sinks are mounted beneath the worktop and are thus unobtrusively integrated into the worktop of your kitchen island. You can simply wipe crumbs from the worktop into the sink without them getting left on the edge of the sink, thus leaving your surface ready for the next kitchen task, making cooking together even better.