'Tis the Season to be Entertaining!

It is December – that time of year when all thoughts turn to the holidays, cold weather, and how you can comfortably fit six times the normal capacity of people in your kitchen!  For many of us, the holiday season means entertaining and welcoming family and friends into our homes, and more specifically into our kitchens where guests seem to congregate.  As you prepare for your guests this year, consider the role a well-designed kitchen island could play in creating your perfect kitchen design for entertaining. 

Define Work Zones

In a multi-functional room like the kitchen, the island is the perfect place to clearly delineate work zones, for example an area designated for food preparation and cooking, one for eating, and one for clean-up.  The island draws a line in your kitchen that clearly states this side is for cooking and the other side is for sitting and socializing.  It also more distinctly defines the layout and workflow, which allows you to work comfortably without worrying about tripping over your guests. 

The role of the island in a kitchen renovation is even more important in today’s open plan kitchens, as it facilitates the flow of the open plan while still creating distinct zones.  This allows you to fix food and drinks while some guests sit across from you at island seating and others filter in and out of the adjacent living area.  When positioned correctly, your vantage point at the island can give you a clear view of all your guests throughout this space.

Extra Appliances and Workspace

The island is the perfect location to put specialized workspace, which allows you to more easily go about the food preparation tasks while chatting to guests.  The island not only offers extra countertop space, it can even be a location to include a specialized surface such as a butcher block for chopping or marble to facilitate baking.  The island could also house a second oven to accommodate all those holiday treats, as well as a microwave drawer or extra dishwasher.  Some people even opt to include a cooktop in the island, such as an induction cooktop.  An undercounter refrigerator, like the one pictured here, is the perfect way to have beverages and snacks handy for guests.

Use your island to incorporate another sink in your kitchen remodeling project to allow plenty of space for food preparation and clean up.  Better yet, include a Galley Workstation like this kitchen design in Franklin, MI.  The Galley Workstation is an innovative product that transforms your ordinary kitchen sink into a multi-functional workstation.  It allows you to chop and wash food, clean up, prepare and serve appetizers, and more all in the space that used to contain one or two sink bowls. 

Specialized Storage

Storage is critical in a kitchen to make sure everything is readily accessible and to reduce clutter.  The kitchen island presents a perfect opportunity to include designated storage for all your holiday cooking and entertaining requirements.  Use the island as your go to place to find holiday linens, serving pieces, and cutlery all neatly tucked away in specialized storage accessories like cutlery and crockery drawers.  You can even include storage for holiday baking requirements, like a customized pull out shelf for your stand mixer or a storage rack for baking accessories. Shelves for cookbooks, a wine rack, and spice storage are just a few more examples of specialized storage.  Use your imagination and include the storage that will add the most value to your experience in the kitchen. 

Bring out your Personal Style

The island is a clear focal point in any kitchen design, and is the perfect place to include your own personality and style.  Islands come in all shapes and sizes, and some kitchens even include more than one island where space allows, like the one shown below. 

There are many ways to accomplish this: make your island cabinetry a different color to the kitchen cabinets, use a unique material for the island countertop, add colorful barstools like those pictured here, make a statement with your island lighting, or incorporate a multi-level island.  Make this centerpiece of your kitchen a conversation starter!