The purpose and design of an island.

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An island can fulfil many kitchen needs, from extra storage to more work space – and it’s easy to incorporate seating into the mix, too. There’s no rule that says kitchen stools have to be plain metal or wood. Like Martha O’Hara Interiors you can bring in pattern using bold patterns. Super-comfy, high-backed, upholstered stools nestled around a slightly curved island, make a great sociable area for cocktails and conversation. Using patterned fabric also works well in an open-plan kitchen-diner as the areas can gently merge into each other.

Not everyone likes the idea of perching up on a stool to eat, so why not add a bench to the back of an island. If you can’t decide between bench-stlye seating or stools, why not have both? You could have an island with a comfy cushioned bench section at the front, facing out into the room, with useful deep storage drawers underneath.

A non-stool option is, of course, to use dining chairs. To get around the height issue, how about adding a lower-level section to the island at standard table height. An extended section of island worktop with tucked under seating would give a neat and simple feel, ideal for the safety of small children running around. Allowing space for the stools to tuck right under maintains the streamlined feel of the design, and is useful where space is limited, as it avoids any potential trips hazards from sticking-out stool legs.

Where kitchen space is more limited, an island provides a good alternative to a separate table. With a small-scale design, recessed shelves in front of the stools to maximise the use of space allowing for the display of choice accent colour items or storage for recipe books.

If you’re lucky enough to have a large kitchen, the island can become the star of the show, incorporating a cooking and prep area, as well as plenty of storage and a long row of matching stools
makes for a highly sociable space, as family and friends can sit and chat face-to-face with the cook.
A design which incorporates a table and chairs into the island itself makes for a multi-functional area, suitable for anything from breakfast to homework.

Using a separate material for the table and chair section helps stop a larger island like this looking like a mortuary slab, and provides a clear distinction between the different areas. Although technically more of a peninsular than an island, this curve-ended worktop extension is a neat solution in a narrow kitchen. This works especially well when there are other curved units in the scheme.

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