The Kitchen Island

Over the last 50 years we have seen massive changes with regards to the kitchen and what it means to the family home. In the 40’s & 50’s the kitchen was a room solely for preparing food. That concept started to change with the introduction of the breakfast bar until today where the kitchen has become the heart of the home. With this change we have seen the raise in popularity of the kitchen island bench. If designed well the island bench can transform your space.

To begin with you need to ask yourself what is the main purpose of your island?

Such as will it be dining area, if yes for how many? Will you need to use it for food prep? Will you require a sink or cook top to occupy the space? Do you require addition storage space? Are just some of the questions you need to take into consideration.

Once you clearly know what the island main purpose is this will impact layout and design of the island.

Seating v’s storage

If you would like to add seating to your island you will need to allow an overhang of around 300mm to allow room for the chairs. Allow for this overhang will impact the amount of space you have for storage.

Cooktop & Sink

If you island is going to be your main food preparation space you may wish to incorporate either your sink or cooktop. You need to keep in mind that you will want your dishwasher close to the sink so this will take up additional space on the island. A cook top will require ventilation either above or on your bench top, plus additional storage for items such as spices and cooking utensils. Additional plumbing and power will be required so you will need to make allowance for this at the early design stages.

Island Bench Tops

Copyright Eliot Cohen – Zeitgeist Photography

The type of material best suited to you island bench top will be influenced by what the main propose of the island is, for example if the space is being used to wash dishes you will want to consider a hard-wearing material, then if its sole purpose is for dining.
It will also be influenced by your budget and the overall atheistic of the room and home.
There are many types of materials available, such as concrete, natural stone, engineered stone, marble, acrylic, timber and laminate. Each have their own pros and cons.

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Natural stones has a wonderful, luxury appearance. While durable it is quite porous and can stain. It can be quite pricey, and you will be limited by the size of stone available
If you love the look of natural stone but are after a more durable and affordable bench top engineered stone is a great alternative. There is a wide range of brands, colours, textures and at varying price points to suit most budgets. Keeping in mind if you have a long bench top you may need to consider a join as most engineered stone comes in under 3 meters in length.


Laminate is a great affordable product. Coming in a range of different looks, textures and finishes its easy to install and care for. It’s not as durable as the stones and may damage more easily.

Stainless Steel

This product has been used in commercial kitchens for years. Highly durable and low maintance we have seen this finish become more popular in recent years with the industrial inspired domestic kitchens. Keep in mind it can be prone to small scratches and stick fingers!


Beautiful and organic timber is a popular choice for bench tops. Ensure you select a hardwood for durability. The grains, colours and textures add some real depth to any kitchen.


Wonderful thing about acrylic bench tops is that they are custom made. No joins! They come in a variety of colours and patterns. Its easy to clean, also very durable plus acrylic is not porous, making it stain resistant. Keep in mind its not as heat resistance as other finishes and may chip more easily.

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