What’s the one thing most homeowners want in their kitchen but don’t always have?
While a personal chef tops the list (obviously), an island is highly coveted in the culinary corner of the home. In fact, a whopping 57% of homeowners currently remodelling their kitchens are either adding or upgrading an existing island, according to a recent trends report by the leading home renovation and design platform, Houzz. And that number doesn’t include the non-renovating homeowners who want to add an island but can’t afford it or the cost of altering their existing layout to accommodate one.
Although there’s no disputing an island is prized, what people want in terms of style and function is up for debate. That is, until now. Here’s what is trending for this in-demand kitchen feature.
Neutral-toned cabinets pared with an intense hue on the island like emerald green, peacock blue, a rich red, or even black is a go-to colour scheme for many. This allows homeowners to keep most of their space serene and relaxed while simultaneously adding interest to make a statement in the heart of the home.
Where space is no object, two islands are considered better than one. The double island maximizes usable countertop area and allows functions to be neatly divided. The first can serve as a food prep station and even cooking – adding the cooktop to an island helps to make it the central focus of the kitchen and allows the cook to face the rest of the room, creating a social design feature. The second can then be designated for seating, whether eating, surfing the web, or taking part in a virtual meeting.
Every large kitchen can benefit from a super-sized island that stretches more than seven feet since it provides ample room to accommodate a host of activities, from dining to a dedicated office area where one doesn’t already exist in the home. Instead of a single-level island, a two-tiered island with a step-down can help demarcate various functions. It’s also a great way to add in different surface materials. Think quartz or porcelain on one and solid walnut on the other. Porcelain countertops are growing in popularity as homeowners get the look of marble or natural stone without the maintenance. Regardless, a ‘plentiful’ kitchen calls for an island with generous proportions to ensure it doesn’t feel lost in the space.
The island’s classic straight lines and sharp angles are giving way to softer shapes, satisfying homeowners’ cravings for a comfier feel in their humble abodes. For those who want to tread lightly with this trend, island countertops with curved edges achieve a cozy look and add fluidity to the space. Going a step further are fully rounded islands, countertop, and base, which do so much for the room. They’re visually calming – hard edges can disrupt flow – are better for traffic circulation and a safer choice for parents with small children.
Add design details
Panelling is having something of a moment. The natural design choice creates a tactile and warm feel when used on an island and makes it stand out when paired with slab or shaker-style cabinets in the rest of the kitchen. Those who want added texture and a more modern twist are turning to fluting. Taking an angular, geometric direction, this ribbed design can be customized to create deeper battens for a more dramatic aesthetic and 3-D effect. Battens can even be rounded at their edges to soften their shape, a subtle play on the curved kitchen island trend.
Clare Tattersall is an interior designer and decorator in Toronto, and the editor of Canada’s floor covering magazine, Coverings.