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Design ideas
How to Choose the Right Kitchen Island
With the myriad options out there, finding a kitchen island that fits your needs and your kitchen space can be tough. Do you need entertaining space? Dining space? A prep surface? Lack storage? 
Written by Jickie Torres

Michael Cuccaro of coachbarn.com shares handy tips to help make your kitchen a more functional and stylish living space based on your needs.

All white is a popular trend right now and it never goes out of style. If you’re working with a small space, it can be a little bit of a hassle to be running into your island while cooking. If you want to keep your island simple and out of the way, opt for a smaller one and add some barstools for seating. Photo by Bret Gum

Michael says that if you understand what functions kitchen islands can serve, you can better identify the style that will work and look best. “Some kitchens scream out for more of an entertaining area whereas other kitchens leave you needing more storage,” Michael says. “Then, of course, there’s the traditional role of the kitchen island as a butcher block, prep surface and overall countertop space supplement.”

Shape is important when deciding on island. Although a rectangle is very typical, having a curved edge on one side is unique and adds more space for dining. Photo by Bret Gum

Where do you go from there? Here are Michael’s tips:

How to find the right size. While the general rule of thumb is to leave 2 ½ to 3 feet of walkway between your island and your counters, Michael has a simple yet clever way of figuring out what feels right. “Use either cardboard or newspaper to make a mockup of where you would want to put the island and how big it would be,” he says. “That way you can see how you would move around it and what you are most comfortable with.”

Go country cottage, or go home. This weathered island adds the perfect amount of character to this lively kitchen. Also, when picking out your island, pick a different floor to go with it. This will really make your casual eating space stand out. Photo by Bret Gum

Go bigger than you think. Michael says that most people tend to be conservative with their island size, but in the end bigger really is better. “Get the largest size that you can get away with, especially when you do want an island for entertaining or storage,” he says. “You get more uses out of a larger island so it’s a worthy investment.”

If you have a large space to fill, go for a big island that takes up space. This gives you the flexibility to add a hood vent or even a sink on your island. Not to mention, this will give you plenty of eating space for those quick meals throughout the day. Photo by James Cant

Pay attention to details. When you are measuring and planning your island placement, don’t forget daily-details. “Keep in mind oven doors that need to swing open or seating needs,” Michael says. “Islands with overhangs might seem like they’d be overwhelming but that’s not necessarily true. Overhangs don’t take up a lot of visual space and seating might be something you’ll need anyway.”

Matching your island to the rest of your kitchen will create a very cohesive space and will allow you to change up the color scheme in other places. If you’re looking for something with simple upkeep and easy cleaning, you can never go wrong with black countertops. Photo by Bret Gum