To Island or Not to Island - That is the question!

Mugsy42August 10, 2012

I've been a long time lurker. Now I'm finally working on remodeling my kitchen. Although this is not our forever home, we are going to be here at least another 10 years. We like our schools and our neighborhood, and work is nearby. Our home is a open floor plan but pretty traditional. Our style is more transitional.

We are an active family of four with a bunny and the world's cutest lab mix. My husband works from home so we are fortunate to eat together every day for breakfast and dinner. We don't entertain except for the small family dinner a few times a year. (All 9 of us!). (Really that's it.) We use the formal dining room for that.

Here are the two proposed layouts. The only difference is the island. I have nor problems with the cabinetry in the U. That all works for me. My concerns are with the island vs. table.

Our kitchen used to have an island in the middle of the U. It was really in the way, and we removed the cabinet. It was a 30 x 24 cabinet. Now I don't know what to do.

Here is the 1st draft. With the rounded corners of the island and two sets of drawers in the middle.

Here's the 2nd draft with the table and chairs.

We've never had island seating before and we are used to the table. I'd like the island to see into the family room from the kitchen. It opens right into the family room. The opening on the bottom right goes to the dining room, front hall and living room.

What are your thoughts? This island will be more permanent that our last island, and I don't want to make a bad decision. We do not have it in our budget to move doors, walls or windows.

Thanks for looking.

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Well, that is a matter of taste and necessity. In your case, you get to choose. In my case, I have to have an island because the stove top is there (unless I wanted to do a very expensive remodel).

I would prefer a table myself because it can be moved.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 12:55PM
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You yourself said you like a table, and a table is more comfortable to sit at for longer periods of time. Nix the island and go with a round table. It will work better for traffic flow out the doors.

Look for opportunities to add back storage that the former island held by maybe looking in the breakfast area or dining room for room for a couple of shallow pantry cabinets flanking a "hutch" type arrangement for more decorative items that need storing for those occasional larger family dinners. You can probably pick up a cheap china cabinet for the hutch and just add on a couple of inexpensive pantry cabinets and then paint everything to match.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 12:55PM
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I like islands in general. But personally, with how you've described your kitchen usage and past experience with an island, it sounds like a kitchen table is a good option for you. In your layout #1, it seems like the island is far enough from the cooking area to not provide much additional functional space beyond being an eating area. Despite what TV is trying to convince us, not all kitchens need or improve with an island. One concern I have with layout #2 (with the table) is the possible interference between the table and the refrigerator. Make certain whatever shape/style/location of table does not interfere with the refrigerator or cooking area.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 1:20PM
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I vote for a table instead of an island. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 10:29PM
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My favorite layout (that we also put in our kitchen) is to have the island (with cooking in it) and a dining table.
So you can cook while other sit at the table. No seating at the island.

I find this to be the ideal set up for a kitchen that encourages gathering, sharing, watching. Cooking while facing a wall is not pleasurable.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 11:26PM
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My vote for a table as well,plus I would suggest to move dishwasher 1 cabinet away from sink this way you can use dishwasher while standing at the sink.Good luck

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 7:43AM
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I have an island without seating and really like having one as a work space and as a serving area for parties and get togethers. Your plan doesn't strike me as an island so much as a fixed table with storage. It would be a stretch to say it does anything for your kitchen, both stuck so far out and with those seats in the way. It strikes me as a place to eat stuck in the middle of your breakfast room, blocking the path to the patio or deck beyond the sliding door and preventing you from moving it if you want to change the placement, orientation, size or shape. I don't see an upside to it. If you need some storage, get a table that has a couple of drawers or put a small buffet, server or such over against the wall. I vote table. In case that wasn't obvious. ;)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 5:54PM
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Thanks for all the advice. And I agree. Going with table for flexibility.

Changing out one door cabinet for a bank of drawers should help with storage.

Misha16 - I would love to move dishwasher, but I can't. Our plumbing is strange.

Pharaoh - I would love to face out when cooking, but my kitchen isn't big enough for that.

GreenDesign - I will probably do a buffet behind my sofa in the family room that is in the large opening at the south side of the kitchen. Except for drawer space I really have plenty of storage in my kitchen. I don't keep a lot of stuff around.

Thanks community! You all are great.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 10:22AM
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