Butcher Block: Wood product, best used for islands away from water sources/sinks. Medium durability – can absorb stains because wood is porous. Color is chosen by different wood stains, moderate to high in price. Tile: Durable if taken care of properly. Porcelain tiles can chip, crack or break if items are dropped on the counter. Grouting can also chip and discolor. Price is based on how expensive the individual tiles are. Can get expensive with hand painted and imported tile.
In addition to creating more counter space, an island is also a way to add more storage and avoid kitchen clutter by using drawers, cupboards and shelves. This is beneficial especially if appliances take up a lot of cabinet room, or if you’re looking for a unique way to showcase certain items by using open shelving. Store dishes and pots within reach or keep less frequently used appliances out of the way. Another option is to use open shelving to display cookbooks or other items.
Whether your space lacks a proper dining table or you’re looking to create a more casual bar-seating option, adding low-profile seating to the island is an easy way to increase functionality and make the environment more social for both guests and the cook. Create a breakfast bar or dining table, and leave a counter overhang that offers enough room to tuck the chairs or stools underneath when not in use.
The latest trend in contemporary kitchens is the thick slab countertop effect. While most countertops are normally 2” thick, choosing a 3 – 5” thick countertop creates an anchored, stately look. Remember to adjust cabinet heights accordingly to make up for the height increase from the thicker countertops.
Natural stone backsplashes have a distinctly different texture than tiles, and offer a contrast to smooth counters and cabinets. Stone is porous, however, which makes it harder to clean and more prone to chipping. An alternative to using smaller, stacked stones is to continue the same granite or marble used for the countertops all the way up the wall.
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