Shopping Guide: Kitchen Island

island

If you don’t have a built-in island in your kitchen, don’t despair — you can buy a free-standing one or a worktable that serves the same function. A few things to consider:

• How much space do you have? “The rule of thumb is to have three feet on all sides of the island,” Mr. Berkus said. “But I’ve squeezed that down to 30 inches in certain locations.”

• How tall should it be? Islands are typically 36 inches high, standard countertop height. But depending on your personal preference, “anywhere from 30 to 38 inches is fair game,” said Mr. Berkus, who sometimes raises antique tables by adding casters.

 • Do you want it to match or contrast with the rest of the kitchen? “If you’ve got painted cabinetry but have always wanted wood,” Mr. Berkus said, “this is your moment to bring in something different.”
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