Where to Put outlets on Kitchen Island

laurarwMay 22, 2012

So the cabinets are almost all installed, and today my project manager asks me where I want my outlets on my kitchen island.

The front will have two drawers, and two cabinets, the sides are where I want the outlets, as the other long side will have an overhang and counter stools.

We will have furniture ends on these, so is there anything attractive I can do, without having an ugly white outlet in my beautiful cinnamon maple cabinets?


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Debbi Branka

Use a brown outlet?? We just put one in our island, on the end, but ours is different. Furniture end on one end. The other end then drops down to table height. The outlet is in the drop. You can clearly see it, but we used black outlet and cover on our navy blue cabinets so it's less noticeable.

Also, my husband put in the outlets that close (on the inside) when you pull the plug out so little fingers cannot be inserted. Love that idea because the lower end of the island was made for little hands to help gramma!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 1:13PM
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We got unstained/unfinished cherry switchplates from Arnev.com (we even got to specify the direction of the graining, or switchplate orientation; horizontal vs. vertical, and to some extent, the grain "pattern" itself). Our cab manufacturer then stained/finished the switchplates to match our cherry cabinets. They look terrific IMHO!

Here's one of the island outlets:

You can see the msg center switchplates in the back of this pic, along with one on the end of the island, under the tabletop (with the advent of Wi-Fi, we never got components/jacks for this one):

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 1:36PM
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We also used switch plates to match our island cabinet wood (natural cherry) and matte black (Lutron) outlets.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 2:03PM
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We did the same as cat_mom, unfinished maple switchplates from Arnev and will stain them to match our island cabinets. Medallion sent us the stain and clear top coat.
We have four outlets on our main island, two on each side. The ends house pot drawers and microwave drawer. Second island has two outlets, one on each end.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Those look great! Nice job!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 2:43PM
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They just installed an outlet on my island. I had to walk out. I told them they might as well be cutting off my arm.

I will be painting a cover in the color of the island and getting a gray outlet from Lowe's.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 2:47PM
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I love the plugmold we installed. It's placed hard up under the counter overhang in three locations around our (huge) island. The overhang hides it completely from sight if you are seated or standing at the counter: you can only see it if you bend down below the level of the countertop. I much prefer the look to a standard outlet mounted mid-panel--to me, no matter what color the outlet cover is, it still looks like an outlet.

I love the flexibility of having 4 to 6 outlets right where I need them. I can keep my mixer, an immersion blender, and an iPad charger all plugged in right where I'm working. I think it's the ideal solution.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 3:33PM
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I have two outlets in my island. One is hidden behind a panel that drops down and another is hidden inside a shallow cabinet. The only things I plug in on my island are things that I'm actively using and once done are unplugged immediately. Always thought dangling cords on an island were dangerous so having a door open while using the outlet doesn't bother me. Anything else (frying pan, rice cooker, etc) is used on the perimeter where those dangling cords aren't an issue.

Sorry for the quality of the pictures. At least you get the idea.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Underside of the granite overhang in a shallow box. We did double thickness granite so we literally recessed the outlets into the granite under the island but you could just mount a 1" box under the granite next to the cabinets...

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I sacrificed and put in a smaller oven to sneak in an outlet in the front of my island...I use it all the time as so many appliances have such short power cords. The outlet and cover are wood toned to blend with the cabinetry.

I also put one inside the bookcase on the end of the island...I use it as a charging station for the phones, PCs and such.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 5:22PM
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I've been looking for the black plug in strips that are about 18" long or so. Electrician says they cannot find. They are all 3' or longer. Anyone have those?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 5:35PM
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Thanks for all these great ideas!!!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 9:51PM
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abctate, our electrician cut down the longer strips to the sizes we needed. We have one on the side of the island that was cut down to around 12" and another on the underside of the seating area that was cut to 6". We are very happy with the strips which are hidden by the overhang of the counters.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 11:24PM
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I showed the outlet on the front of our island above, but we also put two on the back just under the overhang. They are close enough to the side of the island to satisfy code (less than 12" for a cord to get to the counter top) but the overhang makes them less obvious. The back there has a panel (shaker) so we put them inside the frame of the panel.

Because of the thickness of the panel plus the thickness of the cabinet side, the shallow box doesn't intrude much into the cabinet (a pull out cabinet facing the side of the island but this would also work in a cabinet facing the front):

I wonder if the baby proofing outlet caps can be found in black - noticed for the first time in this picture that the white ones kind of defeat having black outlets to make the outlet blend better. Today the solution would be to put in the outlets that deb mentioned which plug the holes when the plug is pulled out. Code where we are requires those for now but our remodel was 6 years ago.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 1:36AM
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You might look into a "mockett". I did that on my island. However, my granite is a very busy granite, so it really isn't noticeable.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 2:05AM
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Hi Laura:

My island is dark cherry, and also has furniture ends that I did not want to damage with unsightly outlets. I have seating on one side, and put an outlet on each side of the seating "kneehole" space, up as high as possible. We used brown outlets and covers, and you do not see the outlets unless you bend down to look. I have not found this to be a problem with access, and prefer the small extra effort needed to access the outlet (occurs once in awhile) over the look of seeing the outlet on the cabinetry (would see it all the time). The location actually works quite well in terms of not having appliance cords trailing across the island top--especially if someone wants to sit at the island and use a laptop--which seems to be the primary use of island outlets at our house. I generally do food prep on the perimeter where I have immediately accessable outlets, so the island ones are not as key for usual kitchen chores, which might be a consideration--if you use your island more for food prep.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Vicky, thanks!

I had actually totally discounted the idea of under the overhang, but everything you say makes such a lot of sense. I do a lot of prep at the island, but it rarely involves plug-ins. My husband does enjoy sitting at the island with his laptop.

I will take a few appliances out (immersion blender, mixer, etc) and see how this could work.

Thanks to one and all--the ideas were fascinating!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 10:06PM
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i used a self contained recept that i got from sillites. Got the idea from here.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 1:07AM
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If you go with under overhang outlets, you might check that your local inspectors will pass that. The first response we got from our electrician was that they couldn't be under the overhang because of code, but we said asked him to check with the inspector on whether it would be okay because they are near the edge of the overhang and less than 12" to get the cord from the outlet to the top of the island. Code says that outlets under an overhang don't count for mandatory outlets, but that's because if they were on the side in the middle of the overhang it would be too far for the short cords of appliances to reach.

Our county inspectors were reasonable and accepted that our under overhang were as good as ones on the island side, but it is possible that some places they wouldn't.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 4:43AM
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