Bold, beautiful and practical, a well-curated island is a shore thing.
If you’re planning a kitchen renovation or are in the process of designing a new home, you’ll probably be thinking about a kitchen island. The ultimate multi-tasking space, a kitchen island provides additional surfaces for prepping, working and eating. While it’s not strictly necessary to incorporate one into your design, an island offers opportunities such as especially long surfaces for entertaining, wheels and additional storage.
Kitchen islands come in a practically limitless variety of styles, shapes and configurations. But while a well- planned layout can provide much satisfication, a poorly planned island can be frustrating. We have some key life considerations to help you design the perfect one to suit you and your family.
This bold kitchen island in Resene Daredevil really makes a splash against the Resene Black White walls and ceiling. The door is also in Resene Daredevil and the joinery on the back wall is painted Resene Colour Me Pink. Design by Neil Fenwick.
A small kitchen doesn’t mean an island won’t be possible, or that you won’t be able to include the options you want. There are plenty of possibilities for making an island work, even where space is limited. Most kitchen designers offer options for reduced depth, customised height or extra-large cabinets tailored to suit your specific spatial and design needs. Other smaller-scale options include butcher blocks, moving islands and trolleys. Eye-catching in their own right, these small islands can be extremely functional, offer extra storage space and work surfaces, and are often much less costly than a fixed kitchen island.
If you have space to spare, you’ll have different options available to you such as extending the surface area of your island counter top so that there is enough space to tuck bar stools completely underneath, keeping them safely out of the path of travel.
An island can also be a great place to add a shelf or cubby for cookbooks or wine storage. And now that extractors can be integrated into ceilings, the option to incorporate your cooktop into your island can be another smart move, depending on you and your family’s needs.
This homeowner knew she wanted her kitchen island to be painted almost black, but not too black, with a touch of inkiness while not being too blue. She found what she was looking for in Resene Cinder. Cabinetry, walls and ceiling in Resene Half Bianca. Design by Michael Cooper.
Bring a coastal vibe to your kitchen with tone-on-tone blues.
The design of a kitchen island can be extremely efficient if it is planned from the outset as the multi-purpose workstation it is meant to be. A well-planned layout will ideally allow for a smooth workflow while also providing a comfortable space for preparing and cooking food, dining, working and storage.
The ideal distance for the clearance zone – which is the space between your island and your back-run of cabinetry – is approximately one metre, to enable free and safe movement around your kitchen. But where you place your island can also affect movement through your home. You can use an island to help delineate the kitchen zone without cutting it off – a bonus if you like to socialise with guests while cooking.
It’s simple to do a DIY update on your kitchen island if it needs a quick refresh. If the surface is very smooth, use Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer and Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel. The semi-gloss finish will be easier to keep clean than a lower sheen finish.
The colour of your island will play a major role in the overall look of your kitchen and there are a few different ways you can approach it. You can paint it to match the rest of your cabinets; paint it to match your splashback; or paint it a completely different colour altogether.
To make it easier for you to get just the right colour, Resene recently launched Resene AquaLAQ, which is especially designed for kitchen cabinetry, furniture and joinery. It includes a complete waterborne system of sealer, colour coat and Environmental Choice-approved clear coat. With a full range of authentic Resene colours available, you can get exactly the colour you want.
Depending on your design preferences, some looks call for mismatching. For a country look, try tongue-and- groove panelling on the outside of your island painted in a Resene colour to complement your cabinetry. For a rustic look, cover the sides with slats of reclaimed wood, stained in one or more Resene Colorwood timber stains that contrast with the colour of the floor. Go for a charcoal like Resene Colorwood Tiri, Resene Colorwood Cedar for a rich brown, or Resene Colorwood Whitewash for a warm and light look.
Reclaimed timber in a variety of Resene Colorwood stains turns this kitchen island into a statement. For added interest, the walls around the pantry have been painted Resene Woodstock. Design by John Mills, image by Nicola Edmonds.
Or, try painting your island in an electric hue like Resene Havoc, Resene I Dare You or Resene Kryptonite to make it the standout focal point of your space.
Bring pattern into your scheme with a wallpaper on your island from the Resene Wallpaper Collection instead of a paint colour.
Why not get even more creative and paint a design on the visitor facing side of your island using Resene testpots? A multi-coloured surface will help to hide any marks and scuffs in the future.
To help keep your island in good shape, leave shoes at the door. Wipe off any marks on paintwork using Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner.
A good rule to remember is the rule of three – if you use colour on your island try and incorporate that same colour in two other items across your space to help the island connect into your kitchen. For example, a kitchen island and splashback in matching Resene colours and perhaps a kitchen appliance, flowers or fruit bowl with the same colour. Or look to a tone-on-tone palette with variations of the same colour to help build a look.
If you frequently entertain guests, steal an idea from the restaurant world and add coat pegs or handbag hooks beneath the lip of your counter.
An island is the perfect place to incorporate additional sockets for appliances or for charging phones and laptops, whether on the surface of the counter itself, on its sides, or a retractable version that can be pulled down from the ceiling when an additional power point is needed.
If you own good quality pots and pans, they usually last a lifetime. Design your island with cubbies sized to perfectly fit each piece of cookware so that you don’t need to dig through stacks to grab the one you need.
Kitchen Decorating Ideas
View more kitchen decorating ideas from Food magazine in the Resene kitchen inspiration gallery.