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Buying Guide: How to Choose a Kitchen Island

How to Choose the Kitchen Island you need A must-have addition in today's kitchens, an island is the perfect place for preparing food, serving and gathering. Plus, many provide added storage for cookware, tableware, food items or wine. Fixed or on castors, small or large, your island can serve as a subtle accent or bold centerpiece. This detailed outline of the choices available will lead you right to the perfect island for your home.
Fixed Islands
Fixed kitchen islands are usually larger and feature ample room for storage. A better choice for larger kitchens, many feature butcher block tops that make food prep a breeze, or enclosed storage, perfect for stashing cookware or small appliances. These are also great gathering places when paired with seating; just pull up some stylish bar stools.
Small-Space Islands
If you've ruled out the idea of an island due to a cramped kitchen, you may be surprised to learn that there are ample options that will actually increase storage and prep space. A smaller version of an island, kitchen carts offer many of the same amenities as full islands, like enclosed storage with shelving and drawers to stash supplies. Choose a drop leaf cart for extra prep space, or opt for smart extras like a towel bar or knife block.
Butcher Block Tops
For the ultimate food prep surface, nothing beats a butcher block island in beauty and durability. Constructed from thick hardwood strips glued together in an end-grain configuration, butcher blocks resist knife nicks and have a multidimensional look. Coat your block in a non-toxic oil finish for food preparation or with a conventional furniture polish for decorative use. Like full islands, butcher block options feature open or enclosed storage and are available with a drop leaf or breakfast bar.
Movable Island or Cart
Equipped with castors, mobile carts are hardworking for any kitchen, and can easily be used as baking stations, extra prep spaces, serving carts or microwave islands. They do double duty for entertaining, bringing food or wine right to your guests. Consider an option with enclosed storage or opt for a specially-designed serving cart.
Work Tables
The pared down cousin to your kitchen island, work tables are great options for professional kitchens and at-home chefs. Made of wood, stainless steel, or galvanized steel, these styles come in a range of sizes, most with a shelf underneath for extra storage. A stainless steel top is sanitary and easy to clean while a butcher block top adds warmth and makes food prep a cinch.

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