Custom Kitchen Islands
Just about every kitchen island is custom (unless you're using a movable island that you can buy off the shelf), in the sense that it is unlike any other, and is made to fit your space and needs. Custom kitchen islands cover a range from the completely custom-made and custom-finished island to match your custom cabinets, to a much more economic island made out of standard size cabinets and countertops assembled in creative ways.
How to Customize Your Island
You can use any arrangement of wall and / or base cabinets which fits your space, to form the base of your kitchen island. Then you can customize it in many ways:
- Change levels on part of the island, up to bar height or down to table height
- Make the island an unusual shape. Who says everything has to be rectangular? Try angles and curves: mock up the shape with cardboard and tape to see how it looks and how it works.
- Combine more than one counter-top material: sometimes a butcher-block prep area with a marble slab for pastry
- Change cabinet finishes on the island: dark vs light cabinets, painted vs stained, antique-look vs modern
- Use two-tone finishes on the island cabinets: light and dark wood panels, distracted or antiqued paint finishes
- Customize the non-door ends and sides of your island: panel with decorative materials like beadboard or tile, panels or doors to match your cabinets, even wallpaper or fabric (varnished for protection). You could also use a translucent material and light it from the inside.
- 'Dock' a movable island or cart in or under a larger fixed island for flexibility
- Add legs to the ends, or to support an eating overhang. Check antique tables for proportions and sizes: some island legs I've seen in magazines are way oversized and clunky-looking to my eye.
- Use small gaps between your base cabinets for cookbook shelves, bottle storage, display niches, cutting board or baking sheet storage, pull-out towel storage, narrow pullout racks for spices, etc.
- Add appliance drawers: fridge, freezer, dishwasher, or warmer.
- Including an interesting sink which would be impractical as your main sink: an odd shape like a trough or unusual material like copper
- An unusual or specialized faucet makes a great island feature too
- Light your island with multiple decorative pendant lights: mini-chandeliers, art glass shades, industrial lighting, whatever fits your style. Dimmable, of course!
Have fun with your island – it does not have to be matchy-matchy with the rest of the kitchen!