The kitchen island began its meteoric rise from obscurity to kitchen hero in the 1980s – in part due to the ascendancy of open plan living and the need to create a point of delineation between spaces.
According to Caesarstone, the kitchen island is the focal point of 50% of all kitchens. It often houses everything from the sink and dishwasher to cooktop and oven.
So what makes the perfect island bench? Stylist for Provincial Home Living, Carlie Monasso, says there is no one size fits all approach to selecting your island bench.
“It comes down to how you live and how you cook. This will help you determine the best bench for your space,” she says.
Carlie’s top four factors to consider are:
Usable space in the kitchen is vital as function must always come before the look:
- The island must help to create a good workflow and efficiencies
- Allow at least 900mm between the island and any other bench top
- Ensure the proportion of your island is in relation to the rest of the kitchen
- Consider if fixed or portable will work best
How you intend to use the island bench will help you choose the right one:
- Meal preparation: ensure your bench has a large surface area, at least 1m wide, with a kitchen sink plumbed in for efficiencies.
- Secondary workspace and storage: look for something that has cupboards and shelving. Open shelving is great for displaying decorative baskets, chopping boards, crockery, cookware and cookbooks.
- Casual dining:allocate 60cm wide per person and select the appropriate height stool.
The island often becomes the focal point of the kitchen. Depending on its purpose and the shape and size of kitchen, consider classic rectangular, L shape, T shape, square or oval.
The island should enhance the surrounding architecture and tone of the space:
- A contrasting colour to the rest of the kitchen always looks great.
- The bench top material choice should be led by how you use the bench.
- The best materials include timber, engineered stone bench, marble, granite, polished concrete, laminate and stainless steel.
- Consider your budget and the upkeep of the bench; many surfaces require careful maintenance and regular sealing, especially if used predominantly for food preparation.
Freedom Kitchens has released a trends update on what will be inspiring kitchen design for the rest of 2019. Keep an eye out for: open and industrial shelving; oversized (think marble or engineered stone from bench to ceiling) and unique splashbacks; integrated and minimal handles; and open and connected layouts.