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Small Kitchen Islands: Ten Ways to Make Every Square Inch Count

by Susanne Clemenz

Islands can add both style and function to kitchens. In smaller kitchens, analyze what function frustrates you, and shop for small kitchen islands that effectively solve that one problem.

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Prepare for Your New Kitchen Island

  1. Space: Open every appliance and under-counter cabinet door simultaneously. Allow about 18 inches beyond opened doors for room to get around. What remains is the amount of room you have for your small kitchen island.
  2. Lighting: Since the new island is for a designated task, plan light for that purpose. Pendant lights, for example, add wonderful task lighting and create ambiance, as well.
  3. Power: If you need power, ask a licensed electrician about adding floor or built-in outlets.
  4. Plumbing: If your primary use of small kitchen islands involves plumbing, get a rough estimate from a licensed plumber.

Problems Solved by Small Kitchen Islands

  1. Food prep: Need more food prep area? Choose a small, free-standing butcher block kitchen island with racks for knives and towels at opposite ends.
  2. Dishwasher: Can't give up cabinet space for a dishwasher? Design an island with a dishwasher below, extra sink and stainless countertops above.
  3. Bar: Small fridge, bar tools drawer, and stemware cupboard below, and bar sink in a stainless countertop above.
  4. Baking: Granite or solid surface countertop with electricity, plus storage below for mixing bowls, flour, sugar, etc.
  5. Breakfast bar: Long countertop with stools that tuck below each end, storage below for cereal, bowls, etc.
  6. Storage: Maximize cupboard, shelf, and drawer space below a laminate countertop.

Custom kitchen islands or kitchen island carts are other solutions to many of the above needs.



About the Author

Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and interacted with the contractors every day of the 6-month project. She started drawing floor plans and making models in the early '70s after purchasing several building lots. Recently she expanded and

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