Kitchen Island Trends

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Kitchen Island Trends

When performing a kitchen remodel in Mission Viejo, Irvine, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Niguel, Newport Beach, and other South Orange County California communities, clients desire an island in their kitchen!  Kitchens are the hub of activity in the home.  Islands are the focal point in the kitchen.  But what are the kitchen island trends that make this important area of the kitchen so special?

The kitchen island is the heart of where people gather, share stories, eat, and enjoy spending time together.  Islands, whether square, round, or rectangular serve multiple important functional and social elements:

  1. People form closer bonds and relationships because they can see and talk to each other without distractions, all while enjoying a favorite snack or beverage.
  2. More convenient space for appliances. Islands allow space for additional appliances such as an extra dishwasher or cooling refrigerator.  Kitchen Island TrendsMoreover, moving certain appliances to the island frees cabinet space for a larger refrigerator, freezer, double oven, or built in microwave.  This is more convenient, safer, and in better proximity to the family than placing these items in the garage.
  3. Allows convenient space for performing multiple activities – saving precious time. For example, seating at an island for breakfast allows mom or dad (or both) the ability to feed children, monitor their activity, make lunches, empty the dishwasher, wash dishes, enjoy coffee together, and discuss important topics within the same space with everyone at the same time.
  4. Islands add charm, style, and character to any home. They make a statement and set the tone for the overall kitchen design.
  5. Islands make meal preparation and cooking easier and more convenient by having counterspace where you need it most.

How are Islands Used – What are the Kitchen Island Trends?

The trend for kitchen islands continues to be storage.  This is the top use for an island by a wide margin.  Doors are preferred over drawers (on smaller islands, drawers can interfere with the drawers on the kitchens perimeter base cabinet drawers).  Clients use the extra counter space for dining, entertaining, and socializing.

What About the Size and Shape of the Kitchen Island?

Kitchen Island TrendsThe most common size due to space constraints is rectangular.  Islands require a minimum of 42 inches on all sides (48 inches is preferred).  Therefore, for the typical residential home, islands can be longer vs. wider without moving walls.

Islands are increasing in size.  The preferred size is 6 to 8 feet in length and 34 to 42 inches in width.  When designing a kitchen island, do not think in terms of square feet.  Design in terms of length and width.  Why?  (1) That’s the only way you can truly visualize how the island will fit into your kitchen (2) Determine what appliances and space requirements will work.  An island less than 5 feet becomes a distraction and will limit a kitchens functionality.  In these instances, a peninsula is a better option.  Single level islands tend to be more functional and visually appealing.

When designing your kitchen, always use professionally developed “scaled” drawings using a design/build company such as DAD’s Construction.  Hiring someone who only designs will not understand the building parameters.  In similar fashion, hiring someone who only builds will not understand the importance of space, use, and function planning.  Only a design/build company can give you a well thought out, beautifully designed and functional kitchen.  See related DAD’s article Kitchen Island for more on design.

What about the Appearance of my Kitchen Island?

The trend is two-tone.  In other words, the island cabinets are a different or contrasting color from the remaining kitchen cabinets.  Popular is a lighter color on the main kitchen cabinets with a darker color for the island.  The countertop is the same for the cabinets and the island.

Countertops on the Kitchen Island

Kitchen Remodel DAD's ConstructionWhen it comes to countertops, stain resistance, durability, and maintenance of materials rather than aesthetics are by far the most important client requirements.  The clear winner by a wide margin continues to be engineered stone or Quartz.  Granite was popular for many years.  However, many clients who have granite experienced its limitations.  Granite is very weak, stains easily, and requires yearly sealing.  It’s susceptible to mold, mildew, bacteria and E.coli.  Granite is not the most maintenance friendly product.

Quartz on the other hand is impervious to mold, mildew, bacteria and E.coli. It is a completely non-porous surface, so liquids and stains won’t penetrate the surface.  Quartz is nearly as hard as granite. It has another advantage in that it won’t crack.  It’s also very resistant to heat, so a hot pan won’t leave a scorch mark. As for scheduled maintenance, there isn’t any for quartz countertops!  Unlike natural stone, quartz does not need sealing or waxing to protect it from stains and mildew, even on a white quartz countertop. Quartz is an extremely durable material. To clean, simply use a mild soap, such as dishwashing liquid, along with a damp sponge or soft dishcloth. Wipe and rinse.  To learn more about the differences between granite and quartz, see related DAD’s article Granite or Quartz.

Appliances in the Kitchen Island

Space permitting, over 50% of clients prefer new appliances in their island.  More than 30% would like a microwave and dishwasher in the island.  About 25% of clients would like a sink with garbage disposal and another roughly 20% of clients want the cooktop in the island.  A very popular item in the past was a wine cooler or beverage refrigerator.  However, fewer than 10% of clients are now asking for these items in their island. 

Lighting over the Kitchen Island

Kitchen Island TrendsJust over 90% of clients want lighting over their island.  Pendant lighting over the island is requested by roughly 65% of clients with recessed lighting being requested by about 30% of clients.  For pendant lighting, it’s about evenly split between clients who prefer glass pendants vs. metal pendant fixtures.  It’s almost unanimous in the number of pendants over the island.  Clients strongly desire 2 to 3 pendants over their island.  The style of these pendants varies significantly according to the clients taste and environment they are looking to create.

When recess lighting is requested, 4-inch LED recess lights are becoming much more popular.  The 6-inch variety look “busy” and cluttered on most kitchen ceilings.  Also becoming popular are recessed lights with different color temperature settings.  These allow each area of the kitchen to have its own discrete color ranging from warm to daylight. Halo, by a wide margin, makes the best recess lighting for kitchens.

In summary, kitchen island trends are focusing on bigger islands that have different color cabinets from the surrounding cabinets.  Quartz counter tops are preferred and recess lighting that can be adjusted to the different areas of the kitchen is becoming very desirable.  Clients increasingly want pendant lighting over the island.  Kitchen island trends are increasingly integrating more convenient spaces for appliances.

How Can I Receive More Information?

If you would like more information on enjoying the best bathroom, kitchen, and interior remodeling experience in Orange County, call Dan at (949) 380-0177 or at dan@dadsconstruction.com for a free in home consultation.  DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California.  This includes Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo.

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Daniel A. Derkum is the owner of DAD’s Construction, a leading South Orange County, California design-and-build remodeling and renovation contractor, https://www.dadsconstruction.com.  © DAD’s Home Services & Construction, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.