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Small Kitchen Islands: How to Get Maximum Function Out of Minimum Space

by Susanne Clemenz

Small kitchen islands are available in every style, size, and configuration imaginable. Many have a choice of legs or rollers. Some are circular or custom shaped. Here are some popular options:

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  • If you like country-style kitchen islands, look for a butcher-block top and turned legs--with food prep being the sole purpose. Others have a thinner butcher block or granite top and maple cabinets with curved or fluted woodwork, drawers, a trash bin, or open shelves below.
  • Love the Craftsman, Shaker, or Oriental look? Many small kitchen islands have the simple lines and hardware that blend well with any of these styles, and feature a nice selection of top surfaces.
  • Prefer a modern kitchen island? Look for a stainless steel top, streamlined cabinetry, and your choice of drawers, cabinets, and shelves. Or choose from all-stainless styles.
  • Want a granite top kitchen island? They're available for any style, from country to contemporary.

How Do You Choose Among So Many Small Kitchen Islands?

  • Measure the space you have available for a kitchen center island. Determine precisely how much space is needed to open existing cabinet and appliance doors and any doors on the island. Allow room for standing or crouching for low shelves.
  • Decide how you plan to use the top and any shelves. Large pot storage? Trash bin? Drawers for linens, snacks, utensils?
  • Decide between a stationary island, a rolling island, or one of many kitchen island carts available.
  • Want to build a kitchen island? Look for plans online or in woodworking magazines and books.

Think of small kitchen islands as a mini-remodel--and a very affordable one.

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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