Kitchen Island Ideas for Lighting and Layout

Everyone knows the kitchen is the heart of the home. And at the center of a kitchen is the kitchen island. Your hearth's centerpiece should be functional as well as a beautiful addition to your kitchen's aesthetics. Here are some thoughtful tips that will help you make the most of your space.

More is More

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Make a visual statement over your kitchen island by hanging multiple pendants. Bright LED provide generous task lighting, while making a bold design statement. Play with both the shapes of the lights, but also with the colors of the cords to create a striking visual effect that's both practical and beautiful.

Hit the Bench

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An L-shaped island can serve many different dining functions in a busy family kitchen. Along with bar top seating for quick meals or socializing, use the back of the island to build banquette seating. Surrounding a dining table and chairs with the benches creates a tucked in breakfast nook area, allowing for multiple diners in friendly, casual setting.

Go Long

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A long kitchen island not only makes a dramatic statement, it also creates a versatile functional space from a generous workspace to buffet service to an area for guests to mingle. Use hanging pendant lights in the same design family to break up the large expanse and define different areas for work or for play.

Drumroll Please

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provide not only a dramatic visual statement over a kitchen island, but also can help define the various functional areas with direct task lighting. Look for fixtures that play off the overall kitchen design, either matching the primary aesthetic or providing visual and color contrast to a streamlined or neutral background.

Small Footprint, Massive Impact

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In an industrial-modern kitchen, you don't want to overwhelm the room with a large, heavy light over the island. But you can still make a statement with airy, sculptural lighting fixtures. They provide task lighting without bulking up the room, and create a feeling of high architectural design without dragging down the space.

All About Contrast

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A combination of finishes can create an interesting look even in the same color family. Experiment with shiny-finished metal accents on lighting and hardware with a brushed finish on appliances. Cap off the gradient of shine with matte paints and naturally lustrous marble countertops.

Get Your Back Up

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Make your kitchen island a comfortable place for people to sit, relax and eat by choosing low backed, . The back support and padding make it more comfortable over a longer time, and the lower profile won't obscure the views of an open floor plan.

Draw the Line

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The ideal functional kitchen layout will have a working triangle that can be drawn between your primary working areas: the stove, sink and fridge. Taking one of those elements such as the sink and putting it into the island gives a more functional working space, particularly if it can be located directly across from the cooktop.

Double Duty

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Successful open plan designs clearly define segmented areas within the larger space. Including two kitchen islands helps address the needs of each of the adjacent "rooms." For example, you can have one serve as a buffet for dining and another for casual eating and beverage service near the living room. Assess the requirements of each and customize the islands to service those tasks accordingly.

Break It Up

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If your kitchen space doesn't allow for a full island with bar seating, consider adding a peninsula at a right angle to the main workspace. The change in orientation helps define it as a separate casual eating area. You can further delineate it by changing the height and wrapping it in a different countertop style.

Use a Light Hand

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Using the tones of your countertops in your accent pieces, like pendant lights and metal detailing, is a great way to add cohesion to a room without being too obviously matched. You can mix design styles, but stay within the same palette. The room will feel purposeful and coordinated, but not overly designed.

Open the Shades

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Lighting ideas for an open-concept modern kitchen can be tough, but a great option is to choose pendant task lights with geometric framing instead of a closed shade. They give the impression of taking up space but don't detract from the open sensibility. Keep the colors of the seating, pendants and walls uniform to give the room feeling coordinated and intentional.

Don't Forget About the Cook

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A bar seating area allows guests to sit and chat while the meal is being prepared, so nobody's left out. Keep the room feeling balanced by matching the number of pendant task lights with the number of seats.

Blend It In

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In a sleek minimalist modern kitchen design, you can't go wrong with white and chrome. Keep countertops in a similar sheen and tone to the rest of the cabinetry so the island blends seamlessly into the rest of the kitchen. Coordinate bar stools in similar colors and metal finishes to amplify the effect.

Add Color Naturally

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Hanging pendants featuring vintage-style Edison bulbs add a little warmth to your kitchen island area without adding a specific color. Add modern bar stools with wooden seats in a similar tone to the exposed filaments to enhance those natural warm tones.

Think Small...Details, That Is

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Getting a farmhouse design right is all about the little things. When you're brainstorming kitchen island design ideas, mirror elements from the room (like corbels and beadboard) on the island for a coordinated look. Caged pendant lights in natural materials, either in raw finishes or with strikingly painted colors, help break up a stark white palette while staying true to the farmhouse aesthetic.

Be Open to Wood

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In a kitchen with rustic exposed wooden beams, consider using a butcher block or wood slab countertop for the island in a coordinating stain. They're relatively low maintenance and durable, as well as beautiful. Punctuate this look with sleek pendant lights and a shiny apron sink.

Map It Out

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With a large kitchen island, it's important to define the work spaces to make sure it remains functional for the whole family. Whether it's incorporating a prep sink and drawer microwave on an outer section or defining separate eating spaces on the end, delineating different usage areas helps prevent traffic from blocking up the primary work areas.

Definition With Illumination

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Lighting alone can define different sections of the kitchen island. Hanging small, bright pendants over specific areas like counter workspaces or a sink will provide plenty of task lighting while not taking up too much overhead visual space.

Kickoff Time

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Never miss a moment while getting snacks from the fridge by turning your kitchen into your own sports bar. A recessed TV keeps it looking tidy, and clustered seats around one area of the island set a defined viewing area. A long suspension light, hung high and stretching across the length of the island provides bright, wide task light without blocking the view.

The design decisions you make for your kitchen island will help bring your kitchen to life. Implementing them in a way that creates a beautiful, cohesive and interesting space is a matter of understanding how you live in your kitchen and what purposes the island serves. Whether it's spectacular kitchen pendant lighting, thoughtful features or an attention to decor details, the choices you make will help tie the design together and give you a kitchen that is functionally flawless and beautiful.