A kitchen island can provide extra preparation and storage space, with integrated sinks or even cookers. Be sure to have electrical sockets installed on the sides from the beginning as this extra prep area is also perfect for prepping desserts alongside main meals and can easily hold your mixers, processors and other gadgets. Most kitchen islands also incorporate seating – with worktop overhangs being the most popular, underneath which you can fit at least a couple of bar stools. Aptly called a ‘breakfast bar’, this is perfect for serving the kids’ breakfast quickly and easily in the mornings.
Below are three examples we love...although they all have matching colour schemes and worktops for a harmonious feel, it is now the trend to have an opposite colour or worktop to the rest of the kitchen. For example light grey on the main units and dark grey (or even a funky colour like raspberry red) on the island; oak worktop on the main units and marble on the island.
Image Tom Howley
Image Higham Furniture
In essence, not necessarily in or from a farmhouse, but a large table in the centre of your kitchen can really add the wow factor and a lot of originality and is not as heavy looking as an island. However, it's not as practical as an island (no sockets, sinks or cookers), but it can be a real talking piece - your grandmother's treasured table, a beautiful antique table carefully sourced, or even a interesting modern piece from a great designer. It's an addition that will attract a lot of attention and can be a real statement in your kitchen. You can still use it for prep and in fact it's a great height if you want to get children involved in chopping vegetables or helping mix cake batter.
We've chosen a variety below - from antique to modern to rustic - to show how many interesting and different looks can be achieved.
Image Homes and Antiques
Image Milieu Magazine
Something in between
There's a new style of kitchen island, the 'prep table', that's fast gaining in popularity - somewhere between an island and table, based on kitchen islands that were prominent in Georgian times. They can be as interesting as tables, with turned legs, elegant profiles, and not heavy looking, but still as practical as islands. They are the same height as islands for more comfortable prepping and can have storage drawers and even sinks and sockets as shown below.
Plain English was the first kitchen showroom in which we saw this type of island and it was love at first sight. We also love the style and antique feel that Artichoke have given their prep table and the Humphrey Munson version is perfectly proportioned in this Georgian rectory.
Image Plain English
Image Humphrey Munson