With the trend for open-plan kitchens still as strong as ever, islands continue to form an integral part of many new kitchen spaces. Traditionally, kitchens were small rooms reserved for the business of cooking. But times have changed, and now they are more and more likely to be a focal point for the home. And at the very centre of this focal point? It has to be the island!
In a larger kitchen or knocked-through space, an island works brilliantly as a multi-functional countertop. You can choose to have a solid work surface – perfect for food prep – or integrate different elements such as a sink or hob.
You’ll quickly realise that a kitchen island has an almost magical quality. When entertaining, friends and family will gather around it and they won’t want to leave. It’s as if there’s some kind of invisible island magnet, drawing people in!
So, what’s the best way to use an island during the summer months? We’ve come up with five top tips to make the most of this versatile unit.
- Flower power. An island is perfect for a display of summer blooms to add colour and texture to the kitchen and ensure a welcoming vibe. If you can pick from your own garden, even better. These days, naturalistic flower displays work just as well as formal arrangements. Foliage from summer flowering shrubs such as buddleia, hydrangea, hebe and fuchsia can look incredibly effective.
- Divide and rule. Islands are a great way of subtly dividing a room between kitchen and living space. Most hosts prefer their guests to gravitate towards the ‘living’ side of the island, rather than stand in front of a sink or fridge. So place drinks and nibbles towards this section and they should naturally congregate around that area, ensuring you can socialise while keeping on top of your duties as host!
- Chill out. An integrated wine/beer fridge under the island counter really comes into its own during the summer months. You can even have a Champagne ice bucket built in to the countertop, or an under-counter ice maker. True decadence!
- Brilliant buffets. Even if you’re cooking a barbecue outside, the island is a great place to set out all those extras such as salad, new potatoes, cheese or bread. In fact, it’s better to keep this kind of food out of the sun and avoid the unappetising experience of warm, wilted lettuce or sweaty cheese.
- Take a seat. When food is served, there might not be a chair for everyone around a dining table. A seating area and bar stools around your island can create at least two extra spaces – four if you have a larger island. Of course, with luck you’ll be eating outside in glorious sunshine, but we all know that the British weather doesn’t always fit in with our best-laid plans!
If you’re planning a new kitchen and love summer entertaining, don’t hesitate to get in touch for more inspiration. Here at Ruach Kitchens we’ve been designing gorgeous spaces for 25 years, and our expertise is unrivaled. We look forward to hearing from you!