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Kitchen Islands

A freestanding kitchen island is a brilliant way to create an extra work surface in your kitchen – not to mention it adds some much-needed extra storage.  Discover your options with our guide below.

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Storage

A kitchen island rolls plenty of storage options into one fantastic piece of furniture, so choose storage that works best for you.

Shallow drawers beneath the worktop provide easy access to utensils while cooking.

Baskets are a quaint and attractive alternative to drawers.  Since you can withdraw them completely from the island, you can place them on the countertop or carry them elsewhere.

Shelf compartments allow you to see and access items easily, great for keeping cooking essentials or displaying those spices and sauces you keep forgetting to use.  Alternatively, use them for ornaments or decorations to brighten up the room.

Cupboards are useful for keeping larger items, like pots, pans, chopping boards and crockery.

Extra functions

Don’t forget that a kitchen island is a multi-functional piece of kit – be sure to look for extra functions that will make all the difference to you.

The Winchester oak kitchen island includes an integrated wine rack: store beverages safely and stylishly and keep cooking wines in reach.  In addition, its incorporated knife block keeps kitchen knives close at hand.

Want a large kitchen island but don’t reckon you have the room?  The Vintage oak extending kitchen island might be for you.  This island has an extending work surface that you can pull out as and when you need it.  Alternatively, a small kitchen island might be the best solution.

Stone versus wood tops

A wooden kitchen island can include a stone inlay, so you can reap the benefits of stone without sacrificing your wood kitchen.  But which work surface is best for you – stone or wood? 

Wood tops are not heat resistant and generally aren’t water resistant either, though an oiled or wax finish will repel water better than a lacquer.  They also require a little bit of maintenance to keep the wood looking its best.  That said, they are a cheaper option and look great with only a quick wipe over with a cloth.

Stone tops are generally heat and water resistant and don’t require maintenance.  Stone will show marks, though, and it will take a bit more elbow grease to get rid of them.

Style

Kitchen island designs vary, but here’s a rule of thumb for choosing between rustic and contemporary styles.

Contemporary style

Contemporary style kitchen islands  like the Suffolk often have a painted carcass, making them perfectly suited to a farmhouse style kitchen.  A cream, grey or white kitchen island of this type blends with lots of different colour schemes.

Cup handles are a common sight on contemporary designs, though more intricate handles can also be found, and tend to be silver or black in colour.  Contemporary pieces may include more decoration, too, adding to their elegance.  Panelling may be shallower and less defined than on rustic designs.

Rustic style

A rustic style kitchen island will favour hardwoods like oak in a waxed, lacquered or oiled finish.  Oak has a naturally beautiful woodgrain, and an oiled or lacquered finish will enhance this.

Rustic style kitchen islands are also likely to have leg and edge profiles that make them look chunkier.  For example, the Vintage kitchen island has a square leg and roundover edge profile.  Panelled sides, doors and drawers may also be present, particularly in a square flat panel style, giving the pieces dimension and additional depth.

Though breadboard ends can be found on contemporary kitchen islands, too, they are more common on rustic furniture.  Ornate handles like drop pulls or bail pulls are common on this style, too, especially with an antique metal finish.

Shop kitchen islands

Now you’ve read our helpful tips, see what’s cooking in our kitchen island collection.