Adding Kitchen Island Cabinets
One of the most popular ways to improve your kitchen’s functionality is to add an island. The increased counter space and additional cabinets can make a kitchen workable for two cooks, create a dedicated area for tasks like baking, or simply free up space on crowded countertops. Plus, the kitchen island's countertop can function as an overflow surface for serving buffet-style meals or eating breakfast and snacks.
The design of a kitchen's island should reflect its intended use. If heavy cooking is planned, it may include a chopping block and a second sink. If adding storage space is the primary goal, it may be a simple countertop with cabinets and storage space below. Regardless of its intended use, it is a good idea to define the purpose of the new kitchen island before building it. There are a few key factors to consider:
Do you have space for a Kitchen Island?
The answer to this question may seem obvious, but many kitchens are smaller than they appear. The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommend a minimum of 42 inches clearance between the surrounding countertops and the island’s countertop. If a second cook will use the kitchen, the recommended space increases to 48 inches.
A walkway between the island and a back wall should have a minimum 36 inches of clearance, expanding to 44 inches if the island has seating.
For more information about space requirements check out the National Kitchen and Bath Association's website.
Will you be adding a sink to the new Kitchen Island?
If you’re planning a kitchen island with a sink, it is important to consider your house’s foundation. With a slab foundation, options for moving the plumbing can be limited and/or cost prohibitive. Adding plumbing with an existing slab foundation requires digging a trench into the slab, laying the pipes, and then pouring new concrete into the trench. This process is costly and, depending on the slab’s structural make-up and location, the engineering involved may make it impossible. However, if the house is built on a raised foundation and has a crawl space or basement, moving your pipes may not pose a problem. Keep in mind, though, that adding new plumbing can present any number of practical and building code-related issues. A qualified plumber will be able to determine your options and work out the details.
Note: A common misconception is that if a house has new copper plumbing, it means all the plumbing has been replaced. Many homeowners replace the feed lines with copper pipes, but leave the waste (exit) lines untouched.
And what about style?
A kitchen island can both redefine an open space and add a new stylistic element to your kitchen. Why not take the opportunity to establish a whole new tone in your kitchen décor? The additional cabinets do not need to match existing counters and cabinets. Consider using accenting colors, different door styles, or maybe an entirely different countertop material such as wooden butcher block. And since your island will probably require its own lighting, this is another opportunity to be creative by adding decorative pendant lamps or a chandelier.