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Types of Kitchen Islands: What’s Right for You?

If you’re sure you want a kitchen island—and that your space will benefit from one—there are still decisions to be made. Let’s talk about two of the most popular types of kitchen islands and which one might be best for you.

A traditional kitchen island looks kind of like a dining room table (it's a crude comparison, but go with us here!), but on steroids in that it has a base for support (think legs like a table or a solid block with a display shelf or bookshelf or other design element) and a solid slab top. This island design has been popular for years and, like any other design feature, has its pros and cons.

One advantage of a traditional kitchen island is that it can add space and work/dining surface to your kitchen without taking up as much visual space as other islands. It can also be a great option if you’re looking for a way to display collections or books, or for drawers for extra storage. Finally, a traditional kitchen island can allow you to easily mix colors and/or textures that might lend visual interest to your overall design. For example, you might opt for a dark grey or black base with drawers and/or shelves, and a white topper. This difference in color breaks up the visual in a way that a waterfall island (see below) does not.

A disadvantage of a traditional kitchen island is that it can look dated. Older island designs with spindles, for example, might look out of place if you remodel your kitchen to make the rest look more modern.

A waterfall kitchen island is one in which the sides of the island are a continuation of the top—meaning it looks like the surface flows over the side and to the floor. Waterfall islands do not have exterior storage or display spaces like a traditional island does and therefore lends a more seamless look.

This is a huge advantage of a waterfall island: it provides the extra surface and amenity space that many people want without the added visual clutter of some traditional islands. The materials used for a waterfall island can vary from quartz to stainless steel to wood—which means that it can become a modern focal point of your space.

One disadvantage of a waterfall island is that if your main reason for wanting an island is to show off a collection or to have open/visual storage, you will lose that ability (check out the photos: the waterfall island is a clean line without distractions). This doesn’t mean that a waterfall island doesn’t have storage or amenities, though—quite the opposite! You can still include a beverage station or a sink or cooktop or storage; it’s just configured differently, so that the overall aesthetic of clean lines remain. In doing so, some unnecessary visual weight is lifted so the focus can be on how beautiful everything is, rather than where everything is placed.

Like always, we’d love to talk to you about what elements you think will make your space perfect and how we can help you achieve those goals. Call or email us today if you’re ready to get started.

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