Kitchen Islands

Take a look at the latest interiors magazines and glossy brochures and while the styles and designs are decidedly different, there’s one thing that many of the kitchens featured have in common – kitchen islands. Most aspirational and inspirational room schemes are vast and spacious; which means there’s plenty of room for a large island taking centre stage. Yet even if you face the challenge of a more compact floor plan, there’s still the option of something a little more flexible; more mobile perhaps that can quickly and easily be moved into another position when needed. Kitchen islands are nothing if not versatile.

Caesarstone’s Rugged Concrete offers an industrial effect with the look and feel of raw concrete but with the durability and easy maintenance of quartz

Zone in

Large areas, especially open-plan living, benefit enormously from having distinct zones that determine where the food prep, cooking, washing-up and eating takes place. In today’s hectic households, many kitchens have evolved into a multifunctional space that creates the perfect setting for everything from dining with the family to catching up with friends, helping children with their homework and chilling out on a Friday night.

Kitchen islands are the ultimate zoning tool. Many designers use them to separate cooking and eating/relaxing areas; a building block that sits proudly in the centre of the room to enhance a more ergonomic flow. This central attraction needs to look the part as well as being ultra-practical. Consider the work surface carefully. It’s the first thing that you’ll see as you enter the room so it needs to have aesthetic appeal as well as being durable, hardwearing and tough enough to cope easily with everyday wear and tear.

High quality quartz is the perfect choice, as it comes in a huge range of colours, finishes and styles and is one of nature’s strongest minerals. Highly heat and cold resistant, it’s also impervious to stains, scratches and cracks, so will stand the test of time on any kitchen island surface.

Oven ready

With family and friends sat on one side sipping something chilled after a hard day, a kitchen island provides the perfect platform for you to prepare and cook a casual supper using the latest high-tech appliances, which are seamlessly integrated into your kitchen island. Current trends are for flush-fit induction hobs with built-in extractor fans in the centre or to the side of the hob. Where once it was a separate hob and downdraft configuration, now it’s about all-in-one black glass hobs with integrated extraction. Kitchen islands can also be used to house ovens, dishwashers, wine cabinets, fridge drawers and sinks.

A sleek modernist island complete with flush-fitted hobs is finished with delicately veined marble inspired Statuario Nuvo quartz surfaces.

Store and order

Kitchen islands make great storage centres, too. Some designs will have deep pan drawers on one side and cupboards on the opposite, while others may incorporate corner cabinets, pull-out trays and bottle racks, spice drawers, cubbyholes and open shelving. They work particularly well when you have a dining table on one side of an open-plan scheme, and plenty of concealed storage within a kitchen island close by. It can be used for crockery, cutlery and other table settings as well as condiments and glassware for quick and easy access when needed.

This island, which is topped with Caesarstone Noble Grey quartz from the Supernatural collection, features plenty of cupboard and drawer storage

Dine in style

Popular in large kitchen spaces as well as with families and those who love to entertain, kitchen islands are ideal dining areas. A quality surface such as Caesarstone quartz provides the perfect material for a breakfast bar worktop. Simply add a couple of stools and you have an instant informal eatery for friends and family. Gone are the days of the formal dinner party. Today it’s all about casual suppers, sharing platters and catching up over drinks and nibbles rather than slaving away over a hot stove.

Fresh Concrete quartz has been elongated to create a stylish kitchen island with integrated dining table at one end – perfect for family dining

Double Up

One of the emerging trends is for designers to double up with two kitchen islands facing each other in a large kitchen space. The thinking is that one can be used for food preparation and the other for cooking; keeping fresh and cooked ingredients separate and sticking to zones that help define a space and the activities within. To help keep things compact, choose handless doors and drawers and concealed storage instead of open displays. As with any kitchen island planning, always measure up the space available and make sure there’s ample space around the perimeter to open and close cabinet and appliance doors safely.