Everyone has their own opinion, so I was very interested to hear what several designers who were interviewed on this subject had to say. The following comments were in a House Beautiful article dated April 2023.
First, let’s point out the obvious benefits of kitchen islands: “Islands with bar stools allow for additional casual seating options in the kitchen,” explains a Houston-based designer. “Whether it’s breakfast for the kids or girlfriends chatting while you’re cooking, kitchen islands create a defined space in an open concept space. They add plentiful counter space for prepping meals, packing lunches, and decorating cookies.”
She goes on to say that islands are a hallmark in plenty of spacious kitchens where families actually spend most of their time. Is that a good thing, though?
Another designer believes islands will continue to be integrated into kitchens for years to come, but their functionality might change putting the emphasis on being fully functional with no seating. Her thought is that islands are a place for extra storage in large kitchens or a hiding spot for under-counter appliances, including refrigerator drawers and dishwashers.
The third designer talked about the rules for having an island in the kitchen: A minimum of 42- to 45-inch walkways all around the island are the suggested dimensions by the National Kitchen and Bath Association and if there is an overhand include that in the dimensions of the island. She also said that there has never been a downside to having an island, provided it is adequately designed.
She commented that sitting side-by-side with no one across from you might be better reserved for a restaurant bar scene than home life. Before investing in a kitchen island, ask yourself this: She suggested that before including an island in the kitchen design, think about the usefulness or is it being used just to fill up space.
The consensus from the article: Skip the island although they offer a significant amount of space to chop, stir, and dice, and if space is on the smaller side, an island may take up more room than they’re offering. In addition, if the island is going to have seating, climbing in and out of bar stools every day may lose its popularity.
In my opinion, islands come in all shapes, sizes and even different levels. When they are designed by experienced designers, the size, function and aethetics of the island are taken into consideration based primarily on the needs of the homeowner.