While the kitchen is often considered the hub of a home, the island is the focal point of the kitchen. An island is extremely functional. It is used for prepping meals, storage, and as a dining option. It can also be a design element, much like a piece of fine furniture. Many islands serve as room dividers in open-space floor plans. As the island evolves, there are several trends we are noticing.

Waterfall Edges

One of the most popular and cleanest looks in modern islands is what is referred to as the waterfall edge. This is where the horizontal countertop seamlessly cascades down to the floor on the island ends. The appearance is elegant and tidy. This can be achieved with engineered stone, such as quartz, wood butcher block, stainless steel, and solid surface materials.

Two Level Island

Many islands are counter-height with a continuous top surface. However, if you prep meals, cook, or wash dishes on the island, you can raise one half of the island to bar height where people can sit on stools and not interfere with the cook’s operations while still being able to converse. On the flip side of that idea is having a lower section that is table height for casual dining. This concept is gaining in popularity as people are redesigning their interior spaces to age in place. The lower portion is more accessible and considered part of the universal design movement.

Concealed Appliances

Islands are a good place to tuck away certain appliances. For instance, you can place the dishwasher in an island that has a sink. You can also incorporate refrigerated beverage and produce crisper drawers into the island. This is also a great space for a built-in wine cooler.

Soften with Curves

Open floor plans are all the rage these days. Gone are homes that are compartmentalized with many smaller rooms. It is common to find a combination kitchen and dining or family area. This is great for families that enjoy gathering and for entertaining. The island is a perfect space divider that doesn’t block the view. The island has become a statement piece. Consider making it more of a sculpture with curved surfaces rather than simply a large box. It can be as easy as rounding the ends or as creative as a serpentine shape. Pay attention to lighting and include decorative pendants or a chandelier.

Go Big for Multi-Tasking

If you have the space, a large, multi-functional island can be the center of activity. Think of the island as having 4 sections. One area of the island can be for meal prep and might include a cooktop. Another portion can be for storage. Include an area for seating so people can converse, have drinks, or dine. At the very end, have a desk area where you can plug in a laptop or kids can do homework. Don’t forget to provide open shelves for cookbooks.

Kitchen islands are here to stay. In fact, they are more popular than ever. They are highly functional and can be very attractive. With a little imagination, an island can be like a work of art.