Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Everyone dreams of a beautiful, large kitchen - and a kitchen island is often the desired element of any home. If the kitchen is big enough, there's nothing to say against installing one, because a kitchen island offers an enormous amount of extra storage space and looks beautiful to boot.

A kitchen island can either stand freely in the room, be connected to the wall or the rest of the worktop, and there are also various materials to choose from. For our product comparison, we have compared different models and filtered out the most important aspects.




The most important

  • Kitchen islands can either be freestanding in the room or connected to the wall. They can also be retrofitted.
  • High-priced materials include natural materials such as granite and marble or ceramics, while medium- and low-priced materials include stainless steel, wood and plastic.
  • Kitchen islands offer plenty of extra storage space and even room for a sink or cooker. They also function as a dining table or small bar.

The Best Kitchen Island: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for kitchen islands

To help you find the perfect kitchen island for you, we have put together some buying criteria in this section that you should keep in mind when buying. With their help, you can compare the different models and make the right choice.

You should pay attention to the following criteria when buying a kitchen island:

In the following, we will go into more detail on the individual criteria and explain to you what exactly you should consider.

Dimensions

Kitchen islands come in many different sizes and are usually custom-made. Nevertheless, there are a few basic dimensions that you should pay attention to. For example, the optimum height of the kitchen island depends on your height. For people who are between 1.60 and 1.80 metres tall, the worktop should be between 85 and 100 centimetres high.

People who are between 1.80 and 2 metres tall should opt for a worktop between 100 and 115 centimetres high. The length of the kitchen island should not fall below 120 centimetres, otherwise the proportions of the kitchen block may look strange and unharmonious. However, it should not be longer than 5 metres either, so that the cooking workflows function smoothly.

The width of the worktop should be around 80 centimetres. The distance between the kitchen island and the other worktops in the rest of the kitchen should be between 120 and 150 centimetres so that the kitchen does not look too cramped.

Shape

In most cases, the kitchen island is rectangular or square in shape. However, there are also L-shaped, T-shaped or U-shaped kitchen islands. The shape depends on the size of the kitchen and the desired equipment. The kitchen islands can either stand freely in the room or be connected to the wall. In many L-, T- or U-shaped models, the shorter leg is the free-standing island that is attached to the wall.

You should always plan at least 15 square metres of space for a kitchen island so that the island has enough room in your kitchen and really comes into its own. However, a U-shaped kitchen island can be installed in rooms as small as 10 square metres.

Material

Like normal kitchen cabinets, kitchen islands come in many different materials, and here too a distinction is made between worktop and carcase. You can choose between the following materials, among others:

  • Wood: Kitchen islands made of wood look very natural and fit in with almost all interior styles. However, wood is not very robust when it comes to liquids. In addition, you should never cut directly on the worktop or place hot pots on it.
  • Stainless steel: In large kitchens, kitchen islands are usually made of stainless steel because they are heat-resistant and hygienic. They are also easy to clean.
  • Natural stone: Natural stones include marble and granite. Their individual grain and irregularity make them stand out from other materials. They are very robust and insensitive.
  • Ceramic: Kitchen islands made of ceramic are absolutely robust. They are heat-resistant, waterproof, scratch-resistant and insensitive, but relatively expensive.
  • Plastic: Kitchen islands made of plastic are the cheapest, but unfortunately somewhat sensitive to heat and scratches. They are easy to clean and come in a wide range of designs.

As you can see, there is a wide range of materials for your kitchen island. Depending on how big your budget is and how resistant you want your kitchen island to be, you can opt for different designs.

Equipment

A kitchen island offers even more advantages than just a beautiful appearance - you can equip it with various accessories. Usually, a kitchen island has many drawers and base cabinets to create even more storage space in the kitchen. This way, you can easily store all your crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils. You can also place a sink or a cooker in your kitchen island.

There are also kitchen islands on castors that you can move back and forth, depending on where it fits best in your kitchen. However, you won't be able to install a cooker or sink there. Seating for the kitchen island is also popular. If you extend the worktop to a table on one side, you can create a new place to eat and drink with a few chairs or bar stools. A few sockets in the kitchen island round off the whole thing.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about kitchen islands answered in detail

In the following section, we answer the most important questions about the kitchen island. This will give you a deeper insight into the topic.

Who is a kitchen island suitable for?

In principle, a kitchen island is suitable for everyone, as long as the kitchen offers enough space. Installing a kitchen island creates more work surface and storage space. It can also create a new table or a small bar. And those who like to communicate with their guests or family while cooking can do so at the kitchen island while food is being prepared.

Kücheninsel-1

The advantage of an L-shaped kitchen island connected to the wall is the continuous worktop.
(Image source: unsplash.com / Gaurav Dhiman)

Before you buy a kitchen island, however, you should ask yourself whether you are not interested in a kitchen island just for visual reasons. Also, you can install LED kitchen lights above the kitchen island for visual enhancement. The right chairs for the kitchen can also make it look completely different.

What types of kitchen island are there?

If you want to install a kitchen island, you can choose between two variants: Either a free-standing kitchen island or one that is connected to the wall. We have compiled the most important advantages and disadvantages of both types in the following table to give you an overview:

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Free-standing Ideal for large kitchens, can be retrofitted, accessible from all sides Can quickly look lost in the room
On the wall Ideal for smaller kitchens, cohesive design Increased renovation costs if retrofitted

Depending on the size of your kitchen and the features you want your dream kitchen island to have, you can choose the right type. Both variants offer plenty of storage space and open up the kitchen space for improved communication. If you have a kitchen island, you don't necessarily need a dining table. However, a large round dining table would be handy if you are inviting guests.

Can a kitchen island be retrofitted?

Yes, a kitchen island can also be retrofitted. However, you may be somewhat limited in the equipment of the island, because if electricity and water connections have not been laid directly where you plan your kitchen island, it is often a time-consuming and expensive undertaking to change this.

Conclusion

If you have enough space, a kitchen island can brighten up and beautify your kitchen. When buying, be sure to check the dimensions of the kitchen island so that the proportions in the room are right and the worktop is high enough for you. You can even install a sink or a cooker in the kitchen island for convenient use.

No matter which material and which shape you choose - a kitchen island is always a real highlight in the room. It not only offers a lot of additional storage space, but can also be converted into a dining table or bar. You can also talk directly to your guests while cooking, which promotes communication in your kitchen.

Image source: unsplash.com / Sidekix Media

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