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Kitchen Islands

Kitchen islands are one of the most searched terms when it comes to kitchens, so the open-plan kitchen is still on most people's wish lists. But if you don't have a big space for an island - there are plenty of ways to include one, here's a few suggestions.

Ben Burbidge, MD of Kitchen Makers says...... “An island or peninsula can be an incredibly versatile space, but consider what you’d most benefit from before you finalise your layout - is it a place to congregate, prepare food, cook or wash up? – or all of those things? Don’t be tempted to make the overall dimensions too big as it could dominate or restrict movement around the kitchen. A monolithic island may look amazing, but be too bulky in kitchens where space is at a premium, consider an open or floating island for a spacious look that will also provide seating opportunities. Think about the area under the island, it can offer extra space for storage and appliances, such as a wine fridge. If you want to include appliances or sinks make sure you can accommodate the required plumbing or electrics before work begins.

Go big or go home, how about this for a showstopper? I appreciate not many people have the space, or money, to have something like this, but it does look fabulous doesn't it? If you want to make a statement, this is the one, and it could be adapted to a smaller scale. The main part of the island and the recess on the back wall is quartzite, with a stunning, solid brushed brass floating section at one end. I feel like a Bond villain should live here.......

Unique island and splashback in Bianco Nuvola Quartzite, island in brushed solid brass, tall units in Core Ash brushed from £40,000 all Eggersmann

Islands can be anything you want them to be, and don't have to just be a solid block, this is a great idea, an open wooden peninsula attached to the island giving the perfect seating area and an extra surface. If you don't have room for a dining table, this would be a good solution. You could store things beneath it too. Nolte Matrix Art cabinets in a combination of grey concrete-effect finishes and white satin glass. Slim pewter ceramic worktop with heat resistant properties, perfect for placing dishes straight from the oven or hob from £400 sq.m. Ceralsio. The wooden peninsula is grey oiled Brasilica Safari from Spekva.

Rohan Blacker, founder of Pooky Lighting says....

"If you are lucky enough to have an island in your kitchen, you'll know that it's possibly the most important area of the whole house. And because it's so important, you want the lighting to stand out. Choose from simple glass pendants, bolder brass designs or use the lighting to add colour, there are so many designs to choose from, whether you want an industrial look with metal, factory-style pendants or uber-modern concrete and wood, from individual lights to a lighting bar, it's the perfect finishing touch."

A colourful Linear Edge kitchen from Harvey Jones with another island idea. This large island has storage, shelves for cookbooks, a wine fridge and is wrapped around a beam, therefore disguising the fact that it's there, and making it less obtrusive. Then at one end, a chunky wooden shelf adds contrast and is used as a breakfast bar.

Small kitchen? No problem. It doesn't mean you can't have an island if you live in a small space, this neat little unit has seating and offers extra preparation space, with storage on the other side. This Finnish birch plywood is created from sustainably forested birch trees and Koivu's kitchens produce the lowest VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions on the market today. Bespoke kitchens start from £14,000.

To make a kitchen island look more like a piece of furniture in an open plan space, choose a design raised off the floor on slim legs. This elegant unit uses a new material inspired by volcanic stones, and is created with up to 80% recycled material. The same material is used on the wall units, so it blends perfectly. On a practical level, it has exceptional resistance to scratches and heat, although it's not suitable for worktops. Dekton 4mm slim in Trilium, from £75 sq.m. Cosentino.

This island design has small wooden boxes for storage on the front, perfect for spices, herbs and cutlery. It also has a bar with hooks above the surface for mugs etc. Floating units on the back wall and the two large picture windows, one in the middle of the kitchen units give this kitchen a unique look. ProLine kitchen in dark green matt lacquer from £18,000 Pronorm

If you are looking for a rustic look, this is definitely for you. More of a table than an island but it serves the same purpose. The dark green, solid wood frame is the same colour as the kitchen base units and has a square wooden top with shelving beneath, also in wood. There is closed storage on the other side, and the great thing is, as its moveable, you could always take it with you if you move. It works perfectly with the classic Shaker units, marble tops and butler sink. Westonbirt bespoke farmhouse table island, £2350. Hush kitchens from £12,000

Helen Shaw, UK Director of Benjamin Moore Paints says.... "We are seeing a lot more colour in kitchens now, which is so nice to see. Whether it's colour on the kitchen units, strong colour on the walls or using paint as an accent colour on an island, as it is above. And of course, if you have inherited a kitchen and want to give it a quick re-vamp, what better way than to re-paint it? We have found blues and greens are a popular choice for kitchens, now moving towards more vibrant shades of teal and verdigris."

I have long been a fan of Gerald Culliford, they source the most beautiful natural stones to create stunning statement walls and surfaces. This beautiful stone in natural green, turquoise and grey is Amazonite quartzite, as it's name suggests, from Brazil. It turns an ordinary kitchen into something extraordinary. It could be used just to make a wow-factor island, or also on the other work surfaces and on the uprights as it is here. And aren't those stools just perfect with it? They look a bit like champagne corks.

Another way to make an island stand out and add personality, is to have a different shape and a contrasting colour. This rounded end island makes it more like a piece of furniture and somehow more welcoming than hard corners. Paint it a different colour to make a feature of it, choosing a ruby red - Pass The Merlot, as a contrast against the French grey - Truffle Oil. You could also choose different handles. Dunham kitchen from Magnet, £4,647 for 8 units.


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