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Kitchen island: forms, functions and conditions

A kitchen island is high on the wish list when it comes to planning a new kitchen. Cooking has long since become a communicative event. More and more people do not want to be alone in the kitchen, but in an open space that is part of the living concept. Therefore, almost all new buildings in Germany are now equipped with an open kitchen , the perfect combination of living and kitchen area .

No wonder, because with more space through efficient use of space, the preparations are also much more fun. The fact that you have to turn your back on your guests while cooking is a thing of the past thanks to the kitchen island. Which conditions it takes and what you should pay attention to when planning your island kitchen, you will learn in this post.

How much space do you need for a kitchen with a kitchen island?

As nice as freedom is: without the required space, the dream of a kitchen island with more working space or storage space for kitchen utensils is difficult to realize. Therefore, for a kitchen with island at least 15 square meters must be scheduled.

This makes it possible to move freely during kitchen work within a radius of at least 80 centimeters and to maintain the minimum distance of 1.20 meters between opposite cabinets. For all those who can not serve with so much space, there is also a positive message: half cooking islands. More about this under the item Kitchen forms .

Important preliminary considerations for an island kitchen

The question with the place is clear – perfect! However, before you storm the next kitchen studio and plan your dream kitchen with kitchen island, there are a number of considerations that you will unfortunately not get around.

A kitchen island often acts as a link between living and cooking area. In concrete terms, this means that the odors of your food are distributed more quickly in the room. For this reason, a very good extractor hood with recirculation or exhaust air function is indispensable. If your cooking zone is on the cooking island , retractable table fans are suitable because they simply disappear after cooking in the device. It must be remembered that storage space is lost and that the engine of such a table hood can be quite loud. However, there is the possibility of installing the motor externally in the basement. Also trough or downdraft fans are well suited for cooking islands.

Another option is island hoods suspended above the island with the hob. They efficiently absorb steam, grease and odors. Make sure you pay close attention to how powerful and – very important in the open kitchen – how loud the devices are. Incidentally, the same applies to dishwashers. After all, you want to be able to talk while cooking and after that without having to shout. In the kitchen studio you will be presented with the appropriate equipment.

The position of the hob should also be well thought out, as being too close to the side edge, fat splashes could end up on surfaces where they are undesirable: the floor, wall or cabinet fronts. If the kitchen island is also to serve as a dining area, for example in combination with bar stools, it should rather house the sink instead of the hob. Or you opt for a pure “working island” to prepare, cut vegetables and roll out dough.

Last but not least, you must also know exactly how your power and water connections as well as the extractor hose or duct of the extractor hood are laid or have already been laid. Because it depends on whether a kitchen island is even feasible. In retrospect, such installations are cumbersome, costly or even impossible. Therefore: plan early!

In what form are there kitchen islands?

Anyone who says goodbye to the closed kitchen opens up to new forms at the same time. Free-standing kitchen islands are integrated into the kitchen as a square or rectangular block. There are several possibilities:

1.One or two-line kitchens with kitchen island

A common combination is the one or two-line kitchen with cooking island. Again, the island is placed in the middle of the room. Depending on the space available, one or two lines can be attached to the corresponding walls.

2.Kitchen in L-shape with kitchen island

Especially for households with little space offers a kitchen island in combination with an L-shaped kitchen. This kitchenette is around a corner. The advantage: The work surfaces are optimally utilized, in particular by the deep corner cabinets. If a cooking island is additionally installed, it is possible to place either the cooking area or the sink area with the appropriate appliances in the kitchen L line or on the cooking island in the middle of the kitchen.

3.U-shaped kitchen with kitchen island

If you want to use a U-shaped kitchen, you need extra space. In this kitchen form, the work surface is also optimally utilized. Also this kitchen form can be equipped by an offshore cooking island. This makes it possible in this kitchen form to cook other family members, acquaintances or friends.

Important preliminary considerations for an island kitchen
Important preliminary considerations for an island kitchen

4.Kitchen in G-shape with kitchen island or peninsula

The G-shaped kitchen is an extension of the U-shape. It also has an element that is attached to the existing kitchen – a so-called peninsula. Classically, this can be an extended work surface, storage or a bar table with seating. This option is ideal as a perfect room divider. The same applies to the kitchen in G-form: Without sufficient space, this form is difficult to achieve. For large and open spaces, however, it represents an ideal solution. If only one peninsula is to be integrated into the kitchen, even 10 square meters are sufficient. In this case, it depends heavily on how the kitchen is cut.

Functions of kitchen islands

If the decision has been made to find the right kitchen form with island, the next issue must be clarified: Is the kitchen island a cooking island, a rinsing island, an extra dining area or perhaps much-needed additional storage space? You should think about how to use your kitchen exactly and where you are most likely to be. The kitchen island is usually located between the kitchen unit on the wall and the living or dining area. When working on the kitchen island – be it preparing, roasting or rinsing – you look into the room . When working on the kitchenette, turn your back on your family or your guests. Everything that happens at the kitchen island is more in the focus of interest and can be easily viewed – including dirty dishes.

No matter which option you choose, keep in mind that you are organizing the areas in a solution-oriented manner. This is best achieved by keeping an eye on the so-called working triangle with regard to storage, cooking and rinsing. This ensures that the various functional units are sufficiently close together and you can work comfortably. For example, if you find it convenient to have the hob right next to the sink, you should take this into account when planning.

If you choose a dining island or a serving area, this part can easily be extended to a kind of “bar” with bar stools. If you prefer to stow crockery or cookbooks, then these can also be staged with open shelves or glazed fronts.

Does the kitchen island have to be fixed?

Whether or not a freestanding kitchen island needs to be fixed to the ground depends, among other things, on its size and weight . Here is the rule: The smaller and lighter the island is, the more likely a fortification is needed. After all, you do not want a drawer laden with pots, dishes or small appliances tipping the whole island when you pull it out. There are several ways to anchor the kitchen island, for example, with special square wood, which are attached to the floor. The walls of the kitchen island are attached to it with angles. Although the island is tip-over, there are two problems: In a rented apartment, you must not simply drill the ground, but in any case, you need the permission of your landlord, If a floor heating installed in the kitchen , this method is also out of the question.

If the floor can not be drilled, you can at least place the kitchen island on a non-slip mat or stick it to the floor with silicone. Kitchen islands with a sink or hob require fixed connections anyway and are thus firmly anchored to the floor.

Lighting ideas for the kitchen island
To be able to work pleasantly on the kitchen island, it must be well lit. If you have chosen a hanging island hood, this can also serve as a lamp. Here, however, usually only the hob is illuminated directly. For the areas left and right of it are suitable pendant lights. To prevent them from banging their heads, a minimum distance of 50 centimeters should be maintained between the luminaire and the worktop. Since the light should come from above when cooking, also recommended in the ceiling spots. In the work area, you should set to neutral white light at an illuminance of 500 lux. The same applies if you also want to read newspapers at the kitchen island or your children do their homework there from time to time.

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